Lick optioned by Passionflix

PassionFlix has optioned Kylie Scott’s Lick

Lick, the insatiable first book in the Stage Dive Series by Aussie author Kylie Scott, has been optioned by PassionFlix. Yes, that’s right, Evelyn and David’s wild love story is coming to life and it’s going to be a lot of fun. 

If you’re not familiar with Lick, here’s the synopsis and a link to buy it:

Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.

Lick, by Kylie Scott

Let’s see…Vegas, Vegas wedding, super hot rock star looking for a change of pace, a woman who isn’t afraid of keeping him on his toes… Yes. Please and thank you. 

Kylie Scott is the bestselling author of many popular series, including the Stage Dive Series, the Dive Bar series and several standalone titles. Her work has also appeared in the 1001 Dark Nights anthologies. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and a link to all of her books available to purchase can be found by following this link

Naturally, as soon as I heard the news I bought Lick and I’m so excited to read it. That’s what I do whenever PassionFlix options a new book, and so far I’m in love with every story that has been selected.

As a fan I can’t wait to see all of these wonderful stories come to life, but I also want to highlight how wonderful it is to think that as soon as this announcement comes out there will be so many other people discovering this series for the first time. Being able to support these wonderful authors, while also supporting PassionFlix, is a win-win for lovers of love stories. (It’s yet another reason why I love PassionFlix and the community they have created!)

Now comes the fun part: Dream casts! Who do you see playing the roles of Evelyn and David in Lick, and who will make up the members of the band? Let’s talk dream casts, folks! Be sure to leave your ideas in the comments or send them to me on social media – I want to hear them all!!

NYT article about romance fails to mention Passionflix

By now you’ve probably heard about the newest Netflix must-watch series Bridgerton, a Regency love story by Julia Quinn. I haven’t seen the show yet but knowing that Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes was an executive producer makes me confident that it’s worth the hype. Every time a romance novel is adapted into a television show or movie it’s a win for the genre, but for some reason the media refuses to give the romance genre credit where credit is due.

As with everything that reaches a fever pitch with the media these days, as soon as the media gets wind of something popular all of a sudden there is an endless assortment of content that breaks it down, offers speculation and builds hype. Unfortunately, the media is full of people quick to get a story out without doing the research needed to create a thoughtful article on the subject. 

A recent New York Times article about Bridgerton, titled “For Television and Romance Novels – Love at Last?”, features a thought-provoking dive into the lucrative world of the romance industry and how, despite cornering the market in publishing (both traditional and self-publishing), romance novels have yet to translate to television and theatrical success.

For all of the well-made points in the article, there is one glaring error: The article never once mentions Tosca Musk or Passionflix. 

How on earth can the contributions of Passionflix to the romance industry be overlooked?

Full disclosure for the sake of transparency, I’m a huge Passionflix fan. I’d go back in time and become a founding member if I could. I love their mission and what they’re doing to bring beloved romance novels to life in the most dedicated movies and series on a streaming platform made for fellow romance enthusiasts. 

In 2020, even with the pandemic shutting down Hollywood, Passionflix moved full steam ahead with four movie releases and 5 short films (called Quickies) that were filmed and released in a matter of months, and they also completed production on one feature film and two original series. They also optioned countless books to be featured in future projects. Musk and her team have revolutionized the industry, working directly with authors to develop scripts and create movies that connect with the readers that love the books they’re based on. They were not only able to release new content throughout the pandemic but they have been able to get back to work faster than most studios so that they can release new content in 2021. They never stop, and even with everything going on in the world they continue to deliver top-rate content that is true to the books upon which the content is based.

That, of course, is the reason that Sylvain Reynard opted to work with Passionflix despite numerous options available to bring The Gabriel Series to life. Instead of one movie per book, Musk knew the details had to be perfect to do justice for Reynard’s work, so the first book in the series, Gabriel’s Inferno, was crafted into three feature-length films. And that’s just the beginning, as work on sequels Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Redemption continues. 

Passionflix is a Netflix for romance fans, just as AMC Networks’ Shudder appeals to horror fans. What’s more, though, is that Passionflix works closely with fans to take the pulse of the fandom to ensure that they’re doing right by fans (and authors) every step of the way. They are as inclusive as they come, ensuring that women are involved at every level behind the scenes. 

How, then, could there be nary a mention of Passionflix in the NYT article? 

It’s almost like the article’s author knew about Passionflix and opted to leave it out. Passionflix is at the forefront of the romance industry. It’s a glaring omission in yet another article that attempts to draw focus on romance in a positive light but ultimately disrespects the genre by the end of the article despite data that proves that the romance industry does, in fact, have a lot of power in the ratings. 

Take, for example, this passage from the article:

When romance novels are adapted, they typically arrive on less prestigious channels, like Hallmark, say, or as low-budget made-for-cable-or-network movies. The elevation of romance to platforms like Netflix, which has a burgeoning interest in romance series (“Sweet Magnolias” and “Virgin River”), or Starz, which airs “Outlander,” a time-jumping, country-hopping epic based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon, is rare.

We’ll ignore the problematic “less prestigious” descriptor because these movies wouldn’t be made if not for the large audience and the possibility for profit. Don’t believe me? Hallmark Channel devotes two solid months to Christmas romances on both of its networks (Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and guess what? Instead of rolling eyes they’re rolling in the proverbial dough as those Christmas movies were some of the highest rated programming available. According to Vulture:

A Timeless Christmas drew a same-day audience of 3.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable entertainment broadcast of the night and the entire week. In addition to outdrawing big cable guns such as 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way and Fear the Walking Dead, the film attracted more eyeballs than a number of major broadcast shows last week, including Superstore, Law & Order: SVU, Supermarket Sweep, and Dateline

Passionflix is producing content (albeit much spicier content, in many cases) that rivals and surpasses Hallmark Channel. They’re an entire streaming platform dedicated to the genre. It must also be noted that there needn’t be a comparison between the two because there is room for both. It’s their existence and their success that should be the focus here. 

Whether it was an intentional omission or a glaring oversight by the NYT doesn’t really matter because either way it’s part and parcel of the way the romance industry tends to be overlooked in general. 

Now that Netflix has a romance series that’s gaining attention, it means the show and the platform are getting coverage from big media outlets who want to cover every aspect of the story. However, it’s quite possible that Gabriel’s Inferno pulled the same numbers for Passionflix. The big difference is that you don’t have the same kind of media attention for Passionflix that you do for Netflix because Netflix is so much more mainstream.

I don’t know about you, but I know I’m tired of this whole conversation. Why must romance continually be pushed to the side? Why does almost every article about the genre fall short? Why isn’t the media giving any credit to Tosca Musk and the Passionflix team for their contribution to the romance genre?

The fight continues.

Gabriel’s Inferno: Seeing Gabriel’s Pain In A Whole New Light

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about a passage from Gabriel’s Inferno chapter 2 . It’s a key moment in the book, when Gabriel learns that his adopted mother Grace has passed away, and Julia is in the hallway listening to his emotional conversation.

In case you don’t have the book handy, here are a few excerpts from the scene:

“I’m sorry I didn’t call you back. I was in my seminar!” an angry voice, all too familiar now, spat aloud. There was a brief silence before he continued. “Because it’s the first seminar of the year, asshole, and because the last time I talked to her she said she was fine!”

“Of course I wanted to be there! I loved her. Of course I wanted to be there.”

“Tell them I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…”

Gabriel’s Inferno, Chapter 2

I used to read these words with a much different perspective. Previously, the scene left a very particular impression in my mind. It suggested that Gabriel might not have been checking in with his family as often as he should have, especially given Grace’s illness. That he was caught off guard by her death says a lot, after all. How could he not have known how bad things were?

Now, after losing my mom, I read them differently.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in June 2019 and at the time we were told to say our goodbyes. We did. It was a painful 18 months of being told on occasion that she wasn’t going to make it by various medical professionals who didn’t bother to read her chart to understand that even though she was a Stage IV cancer patient, she was still undergoing treatment. (Long story short,the ER doctors we’d seen over that time quickly wrote her off without seeing in her chart that she was being treated, and yes, it’s as frustrating as it sounds) 

We’d never been given a timeline on how much time she had left. As long as the chemotherapy kept holding the cancer at bay, and so long as there were more treatments to try, we would keep going until we ran out of treatment options and then we’d move to clinical trials. 

With my mom, we’d received the wonderful news on a Friday that her treatments were working, keeping the cancer stable and even shrinking some of the tumors. 

A week later she was gone. 

Now I look at this critical scene from Gabriel’s Inferno through a different lens. The guilt that Gabriel feels is as poignant as ever, but now I can see where Grace could have told Gabriel she was okay because she thought she was, or things took a turn so quickly that there wasn’t time to tell him. 

(Of course, there is still the possibility that Gabriel wasn’t checking in as frequently as his brother would have preferred, but as it was with my mom, he could have talked to her a few days before and still not known she was so close to the end)

The guilt that Gabriel feels tugs at my own heartstrings. Over the course of those 18 months with my mom, I’d been by her side every single day save for 4 nights when I was away on business. I was at every appointment. I fought every battle that needed to be fought on her behalf. I was there for everything…and yet even I didn’t see that I was about to lose her. 

The heated conversation between the brothers underlies their already tenuous relationship, of course, but through this new lens Scott’s anger – which precipitates Gabriel’s frustration during the call – is what seems more unacceptable in that moment. Scott has just lost his mother and he’s understandably upset, but so did Gabriel. If he could have been there, he would have. 

Naturally, there’s a reason this passage was written thusly and it couldn’t have been written any other way without changing everything that happened as a result of it. It’s a key moment for Julia, who’d been outside Gabriel’s office awaiting a stern lecture. She slips him a note of sympathy, mistakenly written on a piece of paper that says “Emerson is an ass.” That sets things into motion in a very particular way. If they hadn’t happened the way they did, then things might not have ended up the same at all. 

It’s one of those butterfly effect moments that could have changed so many things about Gabriel and Julia’s story. It haunts me, though, because I don’t think Gabriel could have done anything differently and the pain that he’s experiencing breaks my heart. 

The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey

Review: The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey throws another touchdown with The Trouble with Quarterbacks

I’ve never met an R.S. Grey story I didn’t like. As with so many books and authors whose work I have thoroughly enjoyed, I discovered her work by accident because some of the lovely book lovers on my Instagram feed were raving about her. 

I wasn’t disappointed. 

And when I saw that her new book The Trouble with Quarterbacks had a sports connection, I was thrilled. 

In fact, I ended up finishing the book in a matter of hours and my only regret is that I now have to wait for her to release another book. 

Sometimes authors who write lots of books tend to become formulaic. Grey mixes so many types of characters who have such varied lives that you don’t see signs of her work being formulaic, and the mix of characters (ranchers, doctors, vets, etc) make the journey to HEA even more enjoyable. 

Such was the case with The Trouble with Quarterbacks, where preschool teacher Candace falls for the uncle of one of her students. She doesn’t realize that he’s a famous quarterback, as in Super Bowl winning quarterback, and this is what really catches Logan’s eye. Candace is unlike any of the women who vie for his attention these days, and he’s intrigued. 

Candace is British, and as she is the narrator of the story her thoughts and phrases are as British as she is. It’s cute. As a main character, Candace’s only flaw in my mind is that she’s a little over the top. I love that she’s perky and quirky, but she tends to let that get in the way of seeing how much Logan likes her when it’s as clear as day….but in a way, that’s less a flaw and more of the way she sees herself. She doesn’t think she’s worthy of a man like Logan, and that means he has to prove it to her.

For his part, Logan is a very well-rounded character and instantly likable. He’s definitely got the All-American thing going for him, but he remembers where he came from and he knows how to take care of the people he loves.

Rather than showing Logan’s life during the season, readers are treated to a glimpse of his life as a sports icon out of season and it’s an interesting decision. Obviously with a professional athlete lives change when their sport is in season, and I think it would have been a completely different book if Grey had placed their budding relationship in-season. That said, there were plenty of sports references to make me happy.

The Trouble with Quarterbacks is a fun read, perfect for the weekend at home or an afternoon on the beach and you’ll finish the story with a smile on your face.

Unexpected Cover and Summary

Review: Unexpected, by Liza Gaines

Politics and romance cross paths in Unexpected by Liza Gaines

Unexpected, the second book in Liza Gaines’ Public Relations series, is every bit as fast-paced and witty as its predecessor Undisclosed but the stakes are even higher this time around. 

Mac and Gwen have just discovered that Gwen is pregnant. She’s worried about the future and Mac is worried about being a father – again – given the nonexistent relationship with his own father. Not only that, but the campaign they’re working on is getting heated and everyone is under a microscope. They’re both committed to making this pregnancy work, but life has a way of making things oh so challenging. It’s complicated because Mac loves being Tristan’s father but Gwen refuses to allow him to take care of them. She wants things to be equal, and that’s not working for him. 

Coming in at just under 250 pages, Unexpected is a quick read in the literal and figurative sense. It speeds through the days and months with ease as Gwen and Mac struggle to figure out their dynamic. Gaines guides readers effortlessly through the story, which is tightly written and isn’t full of unnecessary information.

The story is relatively streamlined, and there’s no question that Unexpected is the setup for the conclusion to Mac and Gwen’s story, Undeterred, which is coming in October. 

Every now and then you come across a fantastic new series and I was lucky enough to encounter the Public Relations series in its infancy. I love politics and the PR world, so there’s plenty of industry talk to make it feel realistic. Gaines doesn’t let a pregnancy deter Mac and Gwen from keeping things hot in the bedroom, either. 

I really, truly loved this book and I think you’ll enjoy it, too!

The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci

Review: The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci

The Ingredients of You and Me was my pandemic book. Before the pandemic officially began, I’d placed my pre-order and looked forward to receiving my copy the day it was released. Fast forward to April 28 and shipping was delayed and the world was a very different place. 

By the time the book finally arrived, I’d already re-read Nina Bocci’s other entries in the Hopeless Romantics series, On the Corner of Love and Hate and Meet Me on Love Lane, and I was so ready for Parker and Nick’s story. 

From the very first pages I knew I loved the story. Bocci has a knack for coming off the starting line strong, and for Parker Adams that meant selling her successful business and discovering that change meant a creativity block for the ages. Her decision to visit her friends in the idyllic town of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, is more of a desperate attempt to reclaim her passion and figure out what Parker Phase Two looks like. 

It also means going back to the small town where Nick Arthur lives, and that means walking headfirst into some uncomfortable truths as she learns that he has a girlfriend.

Needless to say, Parker’s story isn’t all sprinkles and spritz cookies but thankfully she has lots of friends around to help her rediscover her mojo and whip up some new recipes…but will Nick be in the mix?

Under normal circumstances (as in, not during a worldwide pandemic) I read books really fast. Too fast, really. I can devour a good book in a matter of hours, and while the pandemic provided me with more hours than I was used to, I decided to take my time with The Ingredients of You and Me

The decision to read it slowly came on page 22, when Charlotte tells Parker she can take the 3pm bus from New York and make it to Hope Lake by dinner. 

Hope Lake, you see, is a work of fiction. Nina Bocci dreamed up Hope Lake and I can imagine that she pulled in all of the small town elements she loves to create the picture perfect, Hallmark-Channel-movie-ready setting to deposit her characters and let them play. 

The only way to get to Hope Lake is by car, and like a soap opera set in the 1950s, by bus. 

There is something incredibly special about that. 

Hope Lake is a place where time seems to stand still, so I wanted to read the book like a soap opera, with a little bit each day. (Sometimes I cheated and read a couple of chapters because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next) 

I love the way Bocci allowed the story to unfold so organically. Both Parker and Nick had things that they needed to work out, and these things take time. You can’t rediscover yourself on a deadline. That never works. 

Bocci’s world is one you want to jump into with both feet. The Golden Girls are delightful and I want my own group of Golden Girls to hang out with. I want to bake with Parker and have a reason to visit Charlotte’s flower shop every day. And don’t get me started on Henry’s bookstore….

The Ingredients of You and Me is a romance story for any time of the year. It will be a great beach read just as it’s the perfect book to read when you’re spending the weekend baking. It’s the kind of book you want to get lost in, and once you’re in it you won’t want to leave. 

Click here to buy The Ingredients of You and Me

Undisclosed by Liza Gaines

Undisclosed Proves that Romance and Politics Do Mix

Undisclosed is the kind of summer romance you want to be reading right now. It has all of the thrills of a long ago summer fling, a secret child and two former lovers brought back together to help their candidate run for office. 

Gwen and Mac knew each other in college. In fact, you can say they were close one summer, but after the dog days ended Gwen disappeared leaving a very confused Mac behind. 

Almost 12 years later Gwen shows up for a job interview at a PR firm that is helping to promote the presidential candidate hoping to unseat the incumbent, only to Gwen’s shock she finds that Mac is the one she’d be working with. 

To their mutual shock, they are the best team possible to help their candidate win her way into the White House, but in the process of working together Mac discovers Gwen’s secret: A son, whose eyes are identical to his own. 

Thrilling, isn’t it? And the perfect thing to curl up with on the beach or on the couch this weekend.

Undisclosed comes courtesy of author Liza Gaines, and it’s the first installment of her Public Relations series. I love how Gaines is setting up the series. All of her characters have great depth and are interesting and witty, and it will be fun to learn more about them in future books. Not only that, but this is the first chapter in a larger story featuring Gwen and Mac, and honestly the more the merrier. Undisclosed is just the start of what will no doubt be a very successful series.

While there are any number of stories out there about secret kids from long ago flings, what I love about Undisclosed is that Gwen and Mac were as good for each other over that summer long ago as they are now, working together as a team. Mac has to decide the kind of man he wants to be, for himself, for Gwen and for his son, and it takes him a while to get there. Gwen is steadfast, confident and just as surprised to see Mac has he was to see her. (They’d been close that summer, but evidently not close enough for her to know his full name…which makes for a very tantalizing story)

Clocking in at roughly 75,000 words, Undisclosed is a fast read. Once you get going, it’s hard to stop. Those are the kinds of books I love, and I think you’ll love Undisclosed, too.

Undisclosed is available now from the following retailers:

Order Links: 


Barnes & Noble



About Liza Gaines 

Liza Gaines grew up in Michigan before moving to Virginia in 2007.  She misses her family and the Great Lakes but has otherwise fallen in love with her adopted home state.

A dedicated reader, Liza often has her nose in a book.  She also enjoys cooking, baking, knitting, and watching terrible science fiction movies with her husband.  Their small farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia is home to an ever-expanding menagerie that currently includes three dogs, five cats, two horses, and three goats. 

Connect with Liza: 




There’s Nothing Wrong With Liking Romance Novels

I remember the first “romance” novel I ever read. It was my junior year and I was working at my university bookstore. I’d quickly established myself as a book “expert” so I was taken away from the cash register and given a spot in the book department, where I ordered bestsellers and law outlines. 

I loved that job. 

A little known secret about the paperback book industry is that when books don’t sell and they pass their return date, they must be “destroyed”. To a book lover, this was a nearly impossible task. Their destruction meant tearing off the covers and mailing them back to the distributor as proof that they were no longer saleable, and then the books themselves were thrown away. 

(Psst, dear reader: I never threw them away. I took them home.)

It was in one of these “destroyed” books that I discovered a novella by Nora Roberts called “This Magic Moment.” Published years before, the story appeared in one of Roberts’ re-released anthologies. 

I knew who Nora Roberts was, of course. I ordered the bestsellers and Roberts was always at the top of the list. My boss used to roll her eyes and shake her head at the number of “T&A” books on the shelf (“As if these will ever sell around here”), despite the fact that her college roommate put herself through grad school writing romance novels, which were always in demand. 

What captured my attention about “This Magic Moment” was not that it was a romance, rather it was a book about a magician. And I’d seen enough David Copperfield television specials to know that I loved magic. So I read it, and I loved it. 

Soon I realized that I could look up any kind of subgenre and there would always be a romance category for it. From broad to obscure, they were all there. 

Love Grey’s Anatomy? Try medical romance.

Love Highlander? Try – you guessed it – Scottish Highlander romance novels.

Does BDSM make you blush? There’s a whole category full of very specific subcategories featuring all the spankings you can handle.

The point is that you can find anything you want to read about in the romance genre, and for many readers it’s less about the romance-y parts and more about the story. 

(Yes, it’s exactly like the expression “I read Playboy for the articles” and I know someone who writes for Playboy so I can say without hesitation that this is possible)

This concept translates to any number of fandoms. Even sports.

Like readers, fanboys and fangirls and fans of any genre, sports fans are the same way. I know, because I spent a decade working in college athletics and sports were (and are) my life. 

What I noticed while sitting in the stands during games is that there are any number of reasons why people like sports. For some, it’s a pure love of the game. For others, it’s the statistics and being the one to beat on trivia night at the pub. Some people like the atmosphere of a game. (I dated a guy who hated sports – I know, I know, it was a huge mistake – but he loved to tailgate at USC football games) There are the groupies who want to hook up with athletes, and then there are autograph seekers. The list goes on. 

For romance readers, it’s the same thing. There are any number of reasons why romance readers love the genre. It can be an escape from reality, the promise of the Happily Ever After, the slow burn relationship that melts your heart or the blush-worthy toss in the sheets. (Or in the barn, in the car, in the kitchen, in the Red Room, on the desk, in the museum…yeah, you get the picture)

The point here is that people enjoy things, from romance novels to sports to painting to any number of hobbies, for their own reasons. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter why you like what you like. What matters is that you like it. That’s your personal choice and you don’t have to explain it or apologize for it. 

For me, it’s all about the story itself, and the promise that I can finish the book and not be completely upset that things didn’t work out. These days I need the HEA, but the romance takes a back seat to the story. I think that’s what I love about Gabriel’s Inferno. Sylvain Reynard could have written that book and called it “fiction” and no one would think twice. Sure, it has the elements of a love story, but it could pass as fiction just as easily. 

I love vampires, and it just so happens that some of the best vampire stories on the market today can be found in the Young Adult and Paranormal Romance sections. (Bonus for the YA Paranormal Romance books out there, like Crave by Tracy Wolff)

Fun fact: I rarely read actual love scenes in romance books. (Yes, even in Reynard’s books, too!) I’m much more invested in the story and I’ve been known to skip over the love scenes to get to the rest of the story. That said, those love scenes are very well written and make me blush like crazy. Same with every movie with a 3+ BON on Passionflix…

Conversely, I know people who actively read love scenes over and over, like the man who returns to his village in Cinema Paradiso to discover that his mentor had stitched together all of the banned love scenes from the town’s movie theater. The point is that we read romance for many reasons. 

The advent of e-readers made reading romance easier for those of us who couldn’t read romance novels in the open. (Have you ever seen the gorgeous covers for Sylvain Reynard’s books? Try reading one on the team bus with a group of 17-23 year old guys. Yeah. Not happening) My e-reader allowed me to read whatever I liked without the need to hide the cover. 

These days I’m a lot less apologetic about reading romance novels because it’s way more normalized than it was even ten years ago, just as being able to say that I’ve been to San Diego Comic-Con every year is now a badge of honor rather than a reason to be teased for being a nerd. 

Though the media will poke fun at the romance industry from time to time, just remember that the romance genre makes up the lion’s share of the publishing industry. Laugh all you want, but the romance industry is growing stronger each and every day and I’m proud to read romance and support some of the best writers in the business. 

Gabriel's Inferno (Part I). Image courtesy Passionflix

Interview: Sylvain Reynard talks the Gabriel’s Inferno movie

I had the good fortune to chat with bestselling author Sylvain Reynard ahead of the highly anticipated release of Gabriel’s Inferno on Passionflix. As a longtime fan, dating back almost a decade, it has been a joy to see one of my favorite books come to life as a film. I was fortunate enough to watch a screener of the movie ahead of its release and it was nothing short of breathtaking. 

Reynard was gracious enough to chat with me for an article I was working on for FanSided Entertainment, but I thought that SR’s fans might enjoy reading the entire interview. 

(Sarabeth Pollock): I don’t think I should tell you how many times I’ve watched it, purely for research purposes, of course.

(Sylvain Reynard): I’m really glad to hear that.  I’ve seen it more than once too and each time I noticed something new – a detail, something from the set, etc. Passionflix did an incredible job bringing the pages of the story to life. Readers will love it.

I watched the movie about 3 hours before my call with the cast, so I had to process it quickly for the call (ironically, neither Melanie nor Giulio have seen it yet) so when I watched the second time I could really focus on the details.

Exactly. The way they set up Julia’s apartment, for example, and what they put on her bookshelves … the set decorators did a great job.

The second time I was able to actually pause, look at the book, and then resume. (And you need that with this movie because there is so much to see!)

One thing I wanted to mention is how well Melanie and Giulio bring the characters to life.

I was involved in the casting process and saw audition reels, etc. And I am so pleased with our choice of leads. Both of them do an incredible job inhabiting the roles. And again, they perfectly translate the characters from the book to the screen.

I don’t think their casting could have been more perfect. One thing that really came through in my call with Tosca, Melanie and Giulio was their deep appreciation for each other, too. They couldn’t stop praising each other, and I think that chemistry really translated on screen, too.

Yes, very much so. One of the things I mentioned to Tosca before we started casting was that the two leads have to be intelligent. They’re playing a professor and a graduate student and so that intelligence and passion for the subject matter of Dante studies has to come through. Also, particularly for Gabriel, he has to make the audience believe that he is completely devoted to Julia. The story is about longing as well as fulfillment and both Giulio and Melanie present that, not only with dialogue but with their facial expressions and body language.

The fact that these two actors are able to play the present-day versions of themselves as well as their younger counterparts really helps with that.

Absolutely. Melanie, for instance, can appear very young. I was struck by how she looked and moved differently in the orchard scene, versus the later scenes at the university.

She has the most soulful eyes, too.

She’s beautiful. She’s the perfect Julia. And as you saw in the film, she can be very fierce.

Her “mic drop” moment at the end will have your readers cheering, albeit wistfully.

I hope so … As readers know, my novels are all about redemption.

Absolutely. You know, when it comes to acting, Melanie and Giulio had a tall task in that your book is 500 pages (the script for part 1 was 200 pages). In a book, you are telling the story. Readers know what the characters are thinking, which is incredibly important for your story. In the movie, though, the characters must “show to tell”. Their actions must convey their thoughts. That they were able to do this speaks volumes.

Yes. This is a challenge in films. One of my favourite films is “Blade Runner,” but I prefer the Director’s Cut. The version that was released widely had a voice over that detracted from the story. But I think the Director was talked into including it so readers wouldn’t be confused. However, the voice over ruined it.  So in “Gabriel’s Inferno,” we didn’t include voice overs that one might derive from a narrator or internal monologue. We relied on the actors to show their thoughts and feelings rather than telling the audience what they were thinking. And it worked. It really worked.

There is that one line, though, that conveys Julia’s thoughts and I thought it was rather brilliant….

We agreed that line was funny and wanted to include it. Also the Professor’s favourite internal epithet for Paul was included … Mary, the screenwriter, had an challenging task adapting the novel to screen. But she did a fantastic job.

Yes! I mentioned to Tosca that I laughed in places I didn’t remember laughing in the book because it was so brilliant and unexpected. And I think those moments of levity are important because the first half of the book is much heavier than the second half.

Exactly.  I began writing the story back in the fall of 2009, and at the time, I recall wanting to inject some humour into the tale. In the novel, the snarky narrator pokes fun at the characters from time time.

The story is also about forgiveness – and that forgiveness goes both ways as Julia and Gabriel have to confront how they’ve treated one another in the past.  But it’s only through their forgiveness that the relationship begins to flourish.

It’s too bad SN isn’t able to get in the story, but perhaps there’s a Quickie in Snarky Narrator’s future…

The Snarky Narrator is always up for a quickie 😉

Get ready…because if you put that into the Universe you know your fans will wish it into existence…


You really see the concept of forgiveness play through as Gabriel comes to terms with how he treats Julia, which in the movie is a credit to Giulio being able to go from menacing to repentant. The scene where he picks her up in the rain is a striking example, as is when he’s standing in the kitchen telling Julia about Rachel’s engagement.

Yes. Giulio demonstrates quite a range as the Professor. We see him dealing with the aftermath of losing Grace. We see him angry, remorseful, etc.  Both Giulio and Melanie present the characters as layered and multi-dimensional, which is exactly what I wanted to see and what readers deserve.

The casting couldn’t be more perfect, that’s for sure. As for what readers deserve, since I was a fan long before I came into this role as an entertainment writer, I have to say I’ve never seen a movie so faithful to a book. Ever. And that’s saying something because these days there’s more than a discernible amount of toxicity in fandoms. In your case, though, every decision was embraced (and turned out to be perfect), the movie is utterly true to the story in every way and my goodness the level of detail is astonishing.

Thank you. That means a lot. You’ve put into words what I wanted for readers and what was important to me as the author. Over the years, I had more than one producer or company come to me interested in the film rights. But several of them hadn’t even read the books …

Going with Passionflix was a conscious decision to work with a team that valued the books and the readers. Tosca wanted to stay true to the books. She wanted to create an experience readers would love, and she wanted to incorporate the elements of Dante and Beatrice into the story. So this was a perfect match. And as you saw in the film, the set, the actors, and the costumes all reflected that vision. We wanted to translate the book to the screen as faithfully as possible so readers would have the ultimate film experience. And I’m happy to say that we have achieved our goal.

You told me before about how many details they seemed to pluck from your imagination, so I watched through that lens and it’s so true. Every detail is spot on. 

The opening credits, by the way. Tosca mentioned that this film had the biggest budget of all her films, and it really comes across as this massive cinematic experience from the start yet somehow manages to keep the focus on its dedication to the story and what fans want/deserve. That’s a tall order for any production, but having the flexibility that Passionflix offers allows for that.

Thank you. Tosca was incredibly focused on both the big picture and the details. Throughout production, I was included and invited to give feedback at all levels. And on some occasions, asked about specific things while they were shooting. Again, this is one of things that makes Passionflix so great to work with – they operate as a team and they invite both author and reader to participate. Several Founding Members even had the opportunity to visit the set and meet the cast.

I know the soundtrack will be made available. What did you think of the music in the movie? The music that played when Julia was running in the rain was perfect.

I thought it was really well done. For me, it was important that some of the key songs from the novel were used for the film. And I was really glad they were able to do that.

In my notes I scribbled that the movie feels like a whole new story even though it’s the same story. The food, the music, the clothes, the sets, the lines…but it feels so completely different.

There’s a line somewhere about old things becoming new … It’s about rediscovery, I think, and maybe also about spending time with old friends. Several readers have mentioned that they re-read the novels to cheer them up because it feels like spending time with old friends.

We’re living in really tough times right now. Many have lost friends and family to COVID. Many are feeling lonely and isolated because of social distancing.  Being part of a fan community can help us stay positive, interact with friends, and have something positive to celebrate and look forward to.

The movie really couldn’t arrive at a better time.

I feel that way, as well. Especially interacting with readers from around the world. It’s been a difficult few months and even though in some parts of the world things are opening up, we still face challenges. So for many of us, it’s important that we think positively, take time for beauty, and focus on things that makes us hopeful.

That’s the beauty of your community. You’ve created a sanctuary for people all over the world.

Thank you. I give all the credit to the readers. This particular fan community contains some of the kindest, best, most generous human beings on the planet. I’m just grateful I get to be a part of it.

It’s hard to believe that your community is going on a decade, and now the movie is going to take it into a whole new level, with more fans and new readers. I’ve seen so many people telling you that they’ve just discovered your books. It’s quite a sight to behold. (And it makes me even more sentimental) I told Melanie and Giulio that this is a big moment. A big one.

Thank you. I could never have predicted that the novel I began partially as an experiment to see if I could write would have ever turned into something like this. It’s all been surprising.

But I give credit to the readers, who made the books a success. And to the themes of the novels: love, sex, forgiveness, family, redemption. These are the subjects human beings care about and especially when we need a diversion or when we need hope, we turn to those subjects.Melanie and Giulio are destined for great things. They will have long and successful careers. They’re very talented and they’re very hard workers.

I love thinking about this journey you’ve been on, as someone on the outside looking in. It’s so inspiring. And as much as I’m a live in the moment kind of person, knowing that the movie is coming in less than 10 days, and knowing that work continues on the other films, I have to wonder what you’re thinking. There have been casual remarks about a Paul story. Do you have any thoughts about what you’d like to do next, even if it’s pie in the sky? (Pie is always good)

I’m excited for filming of “Gabriel’s Rapture” to resume, when it’s safe to do so. And also for the filming of “Gabriel’s Redemption.” I’d like to see my other novels adapted to screen. And yes, I’ve put together ideas for a novel about Paul. And one about Rachel and Aaron. But at the moment, I’m writing something else. Something new. It’s beginning stages at the moment and so I can’t say much, but as always, I write with readers in mind …

Ooh, that’s tantalizing.

I long to return to Italy, however. When it’s safe. When it’s appropriate. Florence is my favourite city and I miss it …

My endless gratitude goes out to Sylvain Reynard for taking the time to chat with me about the movie, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Gabriel Series and the other stories in the Sylvain Reynard Universe.

To subscribe to Passionflix, visit their website. Sylvain Reynard’s website is a treasure trove of outtakes, blog posts and useful information for fans, and to purchase Reynard’s books you can click here.

Into the Light

Review: Into the Light by Katherine Hastings

Into the Light by Katherine Hastings is the story of a wealthy, centuries-old vampire named Aiden who needs someone to volunteer as his blood donor. In exchange for her blood, he’s offering a life beyond her wildest dreams and a hefty payoff at the end. Emilia is fresh out of a horrible marriage that left her in financial ruin, and she can’t resist Aiden’s offer. What neither of them counted on was the attraction between them.

The story hits on a few common romance tropes: Aiden is a billionaire, which allows him the lavish lifestyle that makes the story possible. Then there is the paranormal aspect of the story: Aiden is a vampire. He’s a billionaire vampire so he checks a few boxes in all of the right ways. 

Into the Light was a wholly unexpected but absolutely delightful discovery. I came upon the story because I’d been reading paranormal YA books and the helpful algorithm on Kindle suggested I give it a try. 

Boy was it worth it. 

I read the book over two days, purposefully taking as much time as I could because I didn’t want the story to end. Aiden was charming, Emilia was strong and smart and sassy, and Aiden’s best friend and personal assistant Mark deserves his own story because he’s a spitfire of energy and enthusiasm. 

I didn’t know what to expect from the story, and I was very happy to see that when the story started taking what I thought to be a turn toward Cliche Ville, it veered sharply and surprised me with a very fresh and very satisfying twist. Hastings wastes no time setting up her characters in a way that draws readers in from the start, and once you’re hooked, you’re hooked. 

I’m a huge fan of vampire stories. I’ll take them all, from YA to gritty vampire thrillers and even dark horror. Aiden is the kind of vampire that knows how powerful he is and he doesn’t apologize for it, and that’s how vampires should be. (At least, that’s what I think) And Into the Light offers a fun and unexpected twist in a genre that tends to get bogged down by the same stories told a million times with little variation. 

For anyone looking for a feel-good escape from the daily grind, Into the Light is your ticket and it’s the kind of story that you will return to every time you need to spend an afternoon with the perfect book boyfriend. 

Into the Light (October 2019)

By Katherine Hastings

384 pages

Flyte Publishing