Thursday, May 02, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with Margot Berwin

How did you come up with the title for your new book?

That was just about the hardest part of writing Scent of Darkness. The original title
Was AROMATA, but some of the sales people had trouble with it because it’s a made-up word and they thought no one would recognize it. So then we went through about 20 other titles and landed on Scent of Darkness.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I title it first. Only because it’s usually the first thing that comes to me when an idea for a book happens.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Nothing that is interesting or great about you comes from a bottle or a jar or an item of clothing. Even if you’re really fashionable and know how to apply make-up and how to dress—it’s your mind that picks out the make up and clothes and puts them together in a unique way.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true-life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

I had a relationship with a very narcissistic painter/photographer. I based the character of Michael on that person and that time in my life. He was unavailable to anyone but himself, but sexual in every way with me. It was confusing and heartbreaking and it took me a long time to get past. Writing Scent of Darkness helped.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I love the French writer, Marguerite Duras. She wrote a book called The Lover that influenced me a lot when I was starting to write. It’s perfect in every way. Beautiful story and extraordinary writing. It won the Prix Goncourt in France, which is a prize given for the best and most imaginative book of the year.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Well I haven’t started a new book yet, but I have been asked to write a sex and dating column for It’s an online newspaper out of Bushwick Brooklyn and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s called DIRTY TALK with Margot Berwin. It’s not really dirty, but people do ask some questions about sex. Check it out!

Do you have a song or playlist that you think represents this book?

Yes! Music is really important to me when I'm starting a new book. I like to walk around my kitchen, drinking, thinking, listening to music, and talking to myself--hoping my roommate doesn't hear. Once I have the feeling of the piece I'm working on, once I really understand it, I'll gravitate to music with that same mood to keep me locked in. To keep my mind from drifting into a different space.

For Scent of Darkness I listened to:

Mazzy Star--Into Dust
A beautiful song about death. Moody, dreamy, painful, lush and drawn-out. In Scent of Darkness I have a sentence that reads: "Jasmine smells like the body in its final hours, like the sweet, sweet, scent of decay. Get used to it, Evangeline, and death will never surprise you."  For me, Into Dust, feels like the heavy scent of jasmine. It has the density I was looking for in certain chapters.

The National--Wasp Nest and Lucky you
I was really into these two songs when I was writing. Actually I listened to both CDs, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and Cherry Tree, over and over. They're both dark pieces about love and they helped me stay in the mood.

U2--so cruel
Ah, what can I say about this song. As a writer I think the lyrics are Dylan-esque, Young-esque, Springsteen-esque--right up there with the words of the greatest singer/songwriters. I've been listening to it for years. I never tire of it. Actually, I think Achtung Baby is a masterpiece of writing from start to finish. My novel has a lot to do with cruelty in love so this song was a natural fit.

Adele—Rolling in the Deep
I was obsessed with the words of the title—Rolling in the Deep. They describe so much and so few people ever get there in relationships.

Dolly Parton--Jolene
There's a part in my book where one girl tries to get with someone else’s guy. Jolene captures that feeling perfectly. That fear that another girl is simply to beautiful and desirable to compete with.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

A lot of people will tell you to write what you know. I think it’s much more interesting to write what you don’t know. It’s more of an adventure that way and you get to research and learn new stuff. Isn’t life more fun when you’re doing new things? Well the same goes for writing!

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Scent of Darkness
Margot Berwin

Genre: New Adult / Paranormal

Publisher: Pantheon
Date of Publication: January 29th 2013

ISBN-10: 030790752X
ISBN-13: 978-0307907523

Number of pages: 240

Amazon Print   Amazon Kindle    Random House      BN 

Book Description:

When Evangeline's grandmother dies she leaves behind a ruby-red vial of perfume with the instructions: Don't pull out the stopper, Evangeline, unless you want everything in your life to change.

From the moment Eva places a drop on her neck, she becomes the object of intense desire for everyone around her. Soon she's torn between Gabriel, a quiet medical student, and Michael, a beautiful and self-absorbed artist.

Scent of Darkness is about loving someone who is evil, tarot, New Orleans, and of course perfume.

About the Author:

Margot Berwin earned her MFA from the New School in 2005. Her stories have appeared on, in the New York Press, and in the anthology The Future of Misbehavior.

Her first novel Hot House Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire was published in 2009 by Pantheon. Her new novel, SCENT OF DARKNESS, also by Pantheon is coming out on January 29, 2013.

Margot Lives in New York City.

Twitter: @MargotBerwin


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