Dig Baton Rouge

Living the Dream

By Ellie Gardner

Season Vining is living the writer’s dream. She’s only been writing seriously for five years, but in that short amount of time, she’s written a novel that has received critical and popular acclaim, she’s scored an awesome publishing contract with St. Martin’s Griffin Publishing Group, and she’s got three more books in the works.

“The writing community [in Baton Rouge] has just been great. We’re a family—we like to see each other succeed. I don’t have that in New York. Being here with such a huge group of people who are supportive, who support my writing—it’s so great.”

“I’m very busy these days. I just write, write, write, write,” said Vining with a smile.

One only needed to see the excited crowd at Season Vining’s book signing at Barnes and Noble last Sunday to understand how popular Vining and her debut novel, Beautiful Addictions, have become within the past year.

In fact, Vining has become a hot commodity following recent success.

“When I sent in Beautiful Addictions, St. Martin’s not only wanted to buy it, but they wanted to make it a three book deal,” Vining said of her new projects—and her new career as a full-time writer.

A Baton Rouge native, Vining has always been interested in writing, having dabbled in poetry since the age of 10—but her leap into prose was more a result of a certain genre and narrative absence in the book world.

“I was always looking for a certain kind of story and couldn’t find it; so I decided to just write it myself,” Vining said.

For those who haven’t heard of Beautiful Addictions, it is a suspenseful romance thriller that takes place in both San Diego and New Orleans. It’s about the twenty-something Josie Banks, who, having endured an especially rough childhood and adolescence, has grown into a stand-offish, drug-dependent recluse—that is, until she meets and falls for Tristan. But Tristan and Josie are both on the run from dangerous criminals, and their relationship, their mere proximity to one another, puts both Josie and Tristan in danger.

Beautiful Addictions is a great read. It’s a shadowy, fast-paced book that pulls you in and won’t let go—full of suspense, mystery, and romance that is both thrilling and un-sappy.

And the mysterious and enigmatic heroine, Josie Banks, is simply fascinating company.

“I knew what kind of character I wanted Josie to be, and I knew that a lot of people wouldn’t like her at first—but I wanted readers to sympathize with her,” Vining said as she reflected upon the protagonist. “In any book the character should go on a journey. Josie’s character started in such a dark place; I knew I could take her somewhere really positive.”

When asked about what first inspired her to write Beautiful Addictions, Vining singled out the power of the subconscious: “The whole idea for the story came from a dream I had; it’s from a scene in the very first chapter—in the alley where Josie and Tristan meet. I dreamt it, jotted it down in a journal, forgot about it, then revisited it again—the scene was as vivid as ever, and I just worked from there.”

But the writing process wasn’t a walk-in-the-park. In fact, Vining spent two years refining and polishing her book before even considering publishers—and it took a lot of self-motivation to even get to that stage, according to Vining.

“It [the first draft of Beautiful Addictions] was pretty good—but I knew I could make it better,” said Vining. “I re-wrote it multiple times and joined a local writers’ group here called the Baton Rouge Writers Workshop. I met people there that really helped me hone my craft. I went to writing conventions—anything I could do to get better. And I realized that the more I wrote, the more I worked, the better I got.”

Although she’s recently moved to NYC, Vining still misses the supportive community of Baton Rouge, emphasizing the fundamental role the Baton Rouge writing community has played in her development as a writer.

“The writing community here has just been great. We’re a family—we like to see each other succeed. I don’t have that in New York,” said Vining. “Being here with such a huge group of people who are supportive, who support my writing—it’s so great.”

Vining lit up with talkative excitement when asked to reveal details about her upcoming book, Held Against You, which comes out January 13th next year. The book will feature a bounty hunter and the girl he is hunting.

“The story actually starts with him catching her. He has to take her from Tacoma to San Antonio, so it’s this epic road trip filled with high jinks and danger. It’s a lot lighter than Beautiful Addictions—there’s more humor.”

In addition to what is sure to be a wild-and-crazy ride of a book, Vining is also excited about the new heroine: “She’s only 22 years-old, but she’s obsessed with the 80s. There’s a lot of pop-culture references to movies and music—and the bounty hunter just thinks she’s crazy,” Vining added, laughing.

Vining is clearly on her way to becoming a rock star in the book world: She’s got fans, her work is in demand, she’s clever and talented, and most importantly, she’s excited about what she does. Keep an eye out for Vining!—and be sure to buy her book Beautiful Addictions, because it is indeed beautifully addictive.

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