Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Rapture is a nominee for the GoodReads Choice Awards 2012 for Best Romance, along with this years some hottest bestsellers; Fifty Shades Freed and Bared to You.

Gabriel’s Rapture picks up where the national bestseller, Gabriel’s Inferno, left off.

Professor Emerson and Julianne Mitchell, who have finally put their relationship out in the open, are enjoying their romantic visit in Florence. 

But jealous colleagues, conspiring students, former lovers and academic politics await their return. Is their love strong enough to endure the tests they face?

Mr. Reynard is here with us to talk about Gabriel’s story…

First of all thank you for joining us, Mr. Reynard. It is widely known now, that Gabriel’s Inferno was a fan-fiction, “The University of Edward Masen,”  in the beginning, so how did you decide to publish it as an e-book, and how did the deal with Berkley come about?

Good Morning Tugce and thank you for the invitation to speak with you.  It’s a pleasure to be with you and your readers.

I revised the novel, and it was originally published by a small, independent publisher. The book became popular through the word of mouth of enthusiastic readers from around the world and eventually made the USAToday and New York Times Bestseller lists. Subsequently, “Gabriel’s Inferno” and its sequel, “Gabriel’s Rapture” were reprinted by Penguin. Berkley and I agreed to write the third and final novel in the series with them. At every step of the way, it was my readers who made the books successful.

You have skillfully used the inspiration of Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, as a starting point for your storyline and characterization, how did you come up with this idea? Do you have a literary background?

I thought it would be interesting to write a story that incorporated elements of Dante’s Inferno and also the story of his love for Beatrice, in a contemporary setting. I suppose part of my motivation was a desire to expose Dante’s poetry to a wider audience.  Certainly, his relationship with Beatrice was very beautiful but not necessarily well known.

Renaissance art, literature and music, especially music, is involved in every part of your story, why did you use such elements?

I included some of these elements as a way of illuminating aspects of a character’s personality or to give the reader a hint about what was implicit in a scene.  When I think of the individuals I know, they all like art, literature, and music to various degrees. I thought it was essential to include these interests in order to flesh out the characters.  You can tell a lot about a person by what he or she thinks is attractive or pleasing.

 I have to admit it wasn’t very easy to love Prof. Emerson in the very beginning, but despite his self-destructive and self-punishing mood, I came to like him eventually. Do you have a goal in mind for your characters before you enter into the story, or is it something you discover along the way, and have you changed anything about Gabriel along the way?

Thank you.  He’s a complicated character. Many readers dislike Gabriel in the beginning, but they change their mind and that was exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote the novel.  Sometimes our first impressions are mistaken, and I wanted to explore that.

I haven’t changed anything about Gabriel’s character along the way, but over the course of the novels his character develops.

Your books are widely marketed with a comparison to another widely known fan-fiction turned-into-a-bestseller, the “Fifty Shades Trilogy”. How do you feel about this?

I welcome the comparisons, but the novels are very different. I wouldn’t categorize my books as erotica, for example, and they certainly aren’t an exploration of sadomasochism. The backdrop to my novels is the university and so academic politics and situations are important for the plot. In addition, there are a couple of mysterious connections between the hero and heroine, which are eventually revealed.

I don’t think they are much alike, but anyway… With this marketing policy, there was a huge expectation in readers about seeing another novel with graphic sex scenes, which really doesn’t exist in your book. But it is still very sensual, the story is still very seductive, how do you manage that?

I’ve always thought that seduction begins in the mind. As an author, I wish to leave some things to the imagination of the reader. The novels are sensual without being graphic, and that’s the balance I wanted.

Sylvain Reynard manages to create even more character depth and more romanticism in Gabriel’s Rapture and gives the reader an enjoyable yet provocative read. You might be wanting more in the end, but don’t worry, the third book is on the way.

And here is a teaser from the third book :

“Julia decided that body painting with Gabriel was her new favorite sport.” 

But that’s all you get ?

What do you think of the series? Leave your comments below!