Monday, November 19, 2018

Straight Chatting from the Library: Vivian Kohlman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Vivian Kohlman will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely!! I get writer’s block all the time. When I get a story in my head, I usually write the core of the story with no break—literally, not a minute of my free time is spent doing anything but writing. But during the editing process, when I’m refining the story and adding sub-stories and details, I can get a block where no words seem to fit for me. I may put the work to the side for a week, month, or more—I haven’t quite figured out how to shake myself out of writer’s block.

One of the great things about self-publishing is that you write on your own timeframe. Only once did I try to hit a release date that I planned for months in advance. Then I got writer’s block, and missed that release date by about a month. I decided then to never put that pressure on myself again.

If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?

I think Flawed is the book they should start with because it’s the first in the series and sets the stage for some of the future stories. They’re not all linked together, but each has common elements and the first book defines those best. Plus, it’s my favorite and is based on actual stories and people I know. All of the other books came from the joy and creativity that Flawed gave me.

There are currently five books in the series, all of which can kind-of be read alone (but some complete the story started in a previous book). Here’s the layout:

Book 1 Flawed – Kara’s story part 1
Book 2 Found – Kara’s story part 2
Book 3 Let Go – Billi’s story
Book 4 Girls Like Me – Ava’s story part 1
Book 5 Guys Like You – Ava’s story part 2
What is the first book that made you cry?

Charlotte’s Web. I remember reading it as a kid…maybe five years old (I was a book worm from the time I could differentiate the alphabet). I was an introvert from birth and we had just moved to a city that seemed like a foreign country to me (plus, I had no friends there), so all I did was read.

I was reading Charlotte’s Web one morning and got to the sad scene, and started bawling and didn’t stop for a handful of minutes. I put the book down and stared out of the window as the tears trickled down my face. It was raining that day, ironically. It was an iconic moment for me that I didn’t understand for another decade. How could a fictional book make me cry?

It was a combination of a great story, a reader who identifies with most characters, and my state-of-mind at the time (in a new city, rainy day, etc).

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me, for the most part. When I write, I become super creative and want to have music around me (even at work) and go out to see things more.

The only time writing exhausts me is when I force myself to do it. I’m just not capable of making myself get creative, come up with a new scene, edit/update old scenes, etc. All of this has to be done when the writing bug bites me, which happens a couple of times each year. Otherwise, I get exhausted.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Consider? No consideration needed…I do write under a pseudonym. Unfortunately, I am not a full-time writer; I’m a full-time Information Technology Consultant. It my clients google me, I’d prefer they find my professional experience, not my romance novels. So I write my romance novels under a pseudonym.

How I came up with the pseudonym was a very quick process…I simply spelled my last name differently than normal. For the first name, I asked my husband what he thought my name would be if he saw me without knowing me. The result of the two is my pseudonym.

I also plan to write under a pseudonym for different genres. For business documents/books, if I ever write any, I’ll use my real name. For any self-help (non-romantic) books, I’ll use my maiden name. So at any given time, I could have books published under three names. But all of my romance novels will continue to be published under Vivian Kohlman.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each book to stand on its own, but many of the locations, characters, and even a touch of story line threads through each of the books. It’s not likely a reader would be able to see this, but it’s there.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Make a career out of it! I’ve always loved to write, but never worked in the field, until I started to write books. I wish I had worked in writing all my life; instead, I worked in accounting and then information technology (IT). Sure, IT pays well, and I’m writing in my spare time, but if I were a journalist, or magazine writing I feel it’d have a more fulfilling professional life.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I think the best money I ever spent was on new book covers. Initially, I created the covers myself. They did the job, but didn’t peak the interest of new readers. Once I published the new covers, interest picked up.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

Absolutely nothing. I’ve hidden their identities with different names, and I’ve immortalized them by my books. OK, that sounds like I’m, a jerk and I don’t mean it like that, but it is pretty cool to know that people are reading about both my friends and myself. Yes, a character in Flawed is based on me.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’m currently working on book 6 in the series—it has a long way to go as I’ve seemingly had writer’s block for a few months. And I do plan to write other stories as well. I also have a couple of screenplays that are written, but not finalized, not to mention two more in my head that I haven’t started writing yet.
,BR> What does literary success look like to you?

This is a tough one to define! I think literary success to me is having more than 1,000 reviews that average 4+ stars on any of my books. Currently, the reviews are very few; I just can’t figure out how to get people to write reviews.

I used to think that making enough money consistently that would allow me to quit my day job and focus on writing would mean I was successful at it. But that goal is so far away (so far, I’ve paid more out of pocket than earned) and I highly doubt I’ll ever get there. So I lowered the bar and would feel success with a high number of positive reviews.

How do you select the names of your characters?

This varies. In Flawed, all of the characters are based on real life people. Not wanting use their exact names, I chose names that were close to the original, or names that reminded me of them. In Let Go, the lead is the same name of a girl I met at a bar one night—she, her personality, and a bit of her history created the character Billi.


That guy—the one that most girls would run away from—captured Kara’s attention and wouldn’t let it go. As expected, he turned out to be a player. So she cut him off.

But he wasn’t done with her yet. He waited until the memory of their start would have been forgotten—at least, softened a bit. Then he returned to her life, and captured her heart.
,BR> Finally blissfully happy, they fall in love and decide to make it official…until his past catches up with him and he destroys her again. But this is it…this is the last time she’ll fall for him.

And she keeps telling herself that until she almost believes it.

This book is for mature audiences.


The book, Flawed, is not erotica, but does include some steamy scenes, and contains adult situations (curse words, drinking alcohol, etc).


“Let’s do a round of shots,” I suggest while sitting down. I don’t do shots, like ever, which could explain Anna’s jaw dropping to the floor. The waitress was approaching so I took it upon myself to order us a round of lemon drops and another round of drinks, even though our first was only half empty.

I did my best to have a good time, but I had this underlying feeling of stupidity. My worst fears are actually coming true. How could I have trusted this guy? After we finished the shots and well into the second drink, I checked my phone and have a text from Naheed, along with a picture of Nik and me laughing together (surely sent to him by Lauren).

Who the heck is this guy?

Of course, I couldn't resist responding.

Your replacement. I hope you and your wife find a great condo in Beirut. Say hi to her for me, as soon as she arrives.

My phone started ringing so I turned it off. I apologized to the group about texting, saying I just had to take care of something. Nik, who's sitting in a chair right next to me, touches my arm and asks if everything's OK. I pulled my arm away—pretending to re-adjust in the seat—and say everything's fine. I guess I’m just not comfortable with another guy touching me quite yet.


Vivian Kohlman writes romance novels based on stories of love and loss under the backdrop of Washington, DC. She grew up in Maryland just outside DC, but lived in Los Angeles on and off in her 20's before returning to the Washington, DC area to live out her adult life.

Vivian attended a private university in Washington, DC for undergraduate and graduate school, and lived a very active social life. During her teens and twenties she and her friends lived through a lot of ups and downs—these experiences have fed the stories of this series.

Currently, she loves to travel with her husband and reads or writes romance novels as often as she can. When she’s not writing, she works a fulltime job and enjoys all of the bars, restaurants, and other hot spots of the nation’s capital. Born and raised in the DC metro area, she adores the culture of the city and is passionate about highlighting the city's attributes, lifestyles, and norms—not including politics.

Flawed, Book 1 of the Y&P series (Kara’s story, part 1):
Found, Book 2 of the Y&P series (Kara’s story, part 2):
Let Go, Book 3 of the Y&P series (Billi’s story):
Girls Like Me, Book 4 of the Y&P series (Ava’s story, part 1):
Guys Like You, Book 5 of the Y&P series (Ava’s story, part 2):


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  1. I am enjoying these tours and finding all the terrific books my family is enjoying reading. Thanks for bringing them to us and keep up the good work.

  2. Interesting sounding read and thanks for the interview

  3. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your post ;)