June 22, 2015

Val Ruska from The Sanctuary by @arikastone #RLFblog #eroticromance

Interview with Val Ruska

Tell us about yourself, please.
Although I am a musician by trade, I’ve recently become enamored with working with my hands.  I enjoy sculpting three dimensional designs using metal. It is exciting to watch it heat up, burn brightly, and then slowly cool off into a unique, one of a kind creation I molded.  You can see my work displayed in exhibits in Helsinki, London, and more recently in Paris.
I put my music career on hold to focus on my sculptures and paintings. While music will always be in my veins, I’m not sure if I want to continue on the path of constant, non-stop touring.  Being on the road for over 14 years wears out your body, mind, and soul.  I’ve seen it all – and traveled the world, but I never really settled down, even though I’ve always considered Helsinki my home. I took time off to focus on something that could anchor me while still allowing my creative side to flow.
What can I say about myself?  I’m a romantic at heart. I love the rush of being in love. I fall fast and I fall hard. I’ve been hurt so many times in the past, but I can only blame myself – I let my career get in the way of the ones I loved. Instead of putting them first, music was always my priority – performing was all that I knew how to do. A workaholic by nature, I’m often trapped in my own head – which is something not many women understand.  I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to be in a relationship again, until I saw Eve walk into the café that day.  
She was breathtakingly beautiful.  She walked into the café with a confidence I hardly saw, and when her eyes met mine as she passed my table, I knew that I had to have her. I had to make her mine.
What can you not do (but need to do) during this story?
Somehow, I need to make Eve feel secure in the relationship, safe in our play dynamic and have her gain an understanding of who I truly am – without giving away too much.  I fear that if she learns how deep into the lifestyle I am, she will run away.  I can’t let her know my past secrets, all of my desires or why I struggle with power and control.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
I sometimes doubt my ability to keep Eve happy.  Eve is a multi-millionaire, and I struggle knowing that she is the breadwinner of our family.  Sure, I have more money than the average guy, but I just can’t compete with her income.  I should be able to give her everything she’s ever wanted – and that’s why she got the $250,000 engagement ring she was eyeing for weeks.  Yes, it was more than a half of year’s salary for me, but she deserves it.  But what if I can’t provide the lifestyle she is used to in the future?
Emotionally, I struggle with the balance of control between play time and real life.  I fell in love with how independent and confident Eve was, but I sometimes long to seize the reins and play for an extended period of time.  I fell in love with her for who she was, but will she ever come to accept who I truly am?
In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most and why.
While I never actually say it in the story, I fear losing her. The biggest test occurs while I am recording my next album in LA and Jude (Eve’s ex) tries to romance her back into his arms.  It was bad enough that Eve sold him a 51% stake in her company when she sold off the business, but now Jude is in NY learning the ropes and by her side.  I don’t trust him.  He’s a sleazy Hollywood entertainment agent that will try anything, and I mean anything – from lying about me and manipulating the situation - to win her back.  I can’t let that happen.  I won’t let it happen.  But will she?
What is your family like?
My mom and dad own their own custom lingerie and costume shop in the heart of Helsinki. My mother designs her very own creations by hand and my dad runs the day to day business end of it.  I guess I got my creative streak from her.
I have two younger siblings: Jenni and Eero.  Jenni works as a newspaper reporter and moonlights as a dominatrix.  She is like a twin to me, even though she is the youngest of the three of us. Eero is the classic middle child – and we fight most of the time.
My parents are very accepting of the lifestyle I lead and have always been my biggest supporters.  They have known I have been involved in the BDSM scene since I was 18.  Why are they so accepting? Well, mom designs most of the costumes for the underground club The Society (which I am on the board of directors for, more about that in the next book).  My guess is that they may have their fun too… like father like son, perhaps?
Eventually, I long for Eve and me to have a family to call our own.  Maybe we can finally settle down and be a normal couple, with a few kids, two cats in the yard and a white picket fence.  Eh, who am I kidding? I’ll never be “normal”.
What special skills do you rely on?
Does my tongue count?  I can use it in more ways than one…
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
Any of my ex girlfriends, but mainly the last one, Kat. Kat has the potential to destroy my relationship with Eve if she told her about our past, including that we lived in TPE (a total power exchange, which is something I told Eve I did not want for us, and which I don’t want). 
But more than that, the last time I saw Kat, she attempted to murder me.  In a drunken rage, she attacked me in the middle of the night while I was sleeping with a baseball bat to my skull.  She ranted that if I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t sing.  The only thing that remains of that night is a loss of hearing in my ear, panic attacks and insomnia.   I’m afraid though, that she may be coming back for a visit soon. 
Why are you happy (or not happy) with the way your story ended?
Now, I can’t give away the ending, that’s not fair to the readers!  You’ll have to go and buy the book to see if Eve and I lived happily ever after. I hope the novel will satisfy your desires and leave you longing for more – because we aren’t finished with our tale.

About the Writer

What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
The biggest challenge was trying to describe Helsinki without ever visiting it.  I traveled to Finland a few months after writing the first draft so details about the location were added in during editing.  It was much easier for me to capture the spirit of the city after I was there a few times.
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
I received some feedback from readers wanting to know more about Val and what makes him tick.  I heard that he was a mystery and they wanted to hear his point of view.  I hope this will give readers a little bit of insight into his personality.  
Are any sequels planned for this book?
Yes! The second book, The Society is already written and is in the process of being edited.  I hope it will be released later this year.  A third book in the series is currently in progress and is tentatively titled, The Secret.
What genre(s) would you like to write that you haven't tried yet?
I have an idea for a Young Adult love story, but I am still toying with it.  Perhaps one day, I’ll write it.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I have my Master’s degree in Criminal Justice but never really put it to use – I opened my own wedding business in 2003 and I have seen it all:  from rustic backyard BBQ weddings, to lavish affairs.  I’ve been involved with over 80,000 weddings and events – although I’m not a wedding planner like Eve, I only supply items and decor for weddings. 
Why should readers who haven't picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
If you loved 50 Shades of Grey, The Story of O and/or The Sleeping Beauty Series, give my series Eros’ Edge a try.  I’ve received lots of positive feedback that it was an excellent, quick read – even though its 122,000 words in length. 
I describe the story as The Wedding Planner meets Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) combined with The Story of O set to a rock n roll soundtrack. Plus it’s set in an exotic locale. It has sex, love and rock n roll, baby – what’s not to love?
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
If you have any questions about the book or its characters or want to talk about the novel, feel free to connect with me on one of my social media accounts.  I love to talk to readers and would love to hear from you.

About the Book

Title: The Sanctuary (Eros’ Edge Book 1)
Genre: Erotic Romance
Author: Arika Stone
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Eve Lauren has it all — an elite New York City wedding and event planning business and a fabulous jet-setting life. When she discovers her fiancé, Jude Wright, cheated, she loses the joie de vivre for everything wedding related and gives up on ever finding romance. She escapes to Helsinki for vacation — a place she describes as “moody and dark.” It’s exactly how she feels after being burned by Jude.
Val Ruska isn’t looking for love. Infamous for being one of the most elusive rock stars to bed, the musician turned brooding artist can have any woman he wants, but doesn’t. Not any woman will do. But he’s intrigued by Eve, a single American woman dining alone, and invites her to dinner.
Val rocks Eve’s world as hard and fast as the music he plays. Eve explores her deepest erotic fantasies with him and finds a side of herself that she didn’t know existed. Their relationship causes Eve to question everything she believes about sex, love, and starting a family. Val can give her everything she’s ever dreamed of, if she’s willing to submit to his desires. But is she ready to give up her life in exchange for his? Reality sinks in when she returns to New York City and Jude seizes the opportunity to win her back—but Val isn’t so eager to let her go.

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Author Bio

Arika Stone is an erotic romance author born and raised in New York City, but she currently resides in New Jersey. An expert in the wedding industry with over twelve years of experience, Arika has seen it all: from glamorous balls to rustic, intimate affairs. Several years ago, she caught the travel bug and visited Europe but fell in love with Finland--and fell in love there too. Filled with wanderlust, she's always dreaming of her next trip and her next story. Join her on her next adventure and get lost between reality and fiction.

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