I have a real treat for you today! I’m happy to have Victoria Alexander in the interview seat today. She’s an amazing best-selling author of historical romance and if you haven’t read her books, then you should seriously check out her stories. Let’s find out more about her as an author and a writer, starting with her official bio.
Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out. The #1 New York Times bestselling author has written 37 full length novels, 11 novellas and has been published in more than a dozen different countries.
Victoria grew up traveling the world as an Air Force brat. Today, she lives in Omaha, Nebraska with a long-suffering husband she kills off in every book and two bearded collies in a house under endless renovation and never ending chaos. She laughs a great deal—she has to.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Victoria: 48 published works—37 novels, 11 novellas
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Victoria: I’ve written some paranormals but I mostly write historicals—Regency and Victorian. I love the 19th century! From the beginning years with its rules and traditions to the progress of the last half of the century. We went from horses to trains, candles to gas to electricity. For most of the 19th century progress was in the air. I think it was a really exciting time. And when it comes to fiction—I find it magical.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Victoria: My newest release is The Lady Travelers Guide to Happily Ever After (on sale Aug 27th). I never seem to start out with a theme—they tend to evolve. This book is about second chances. It’s the story of two people who had to marry to avert scandal and then go their separate ways. Six years later they’re forced together again.
The story is actually set before the other three books in the Lady Travelers series. The epilogue takes place after the other books so Happily Ever After kind of wraps around the whole series. It is probably the last book in the series. At least for now.
Before there was a Lady Travelers Society there was just one lady traveler…
Some marry for love. Some marry for money. But Violet Hagan’s quick marriage to irresponsible James Branham, heir to the Earl of Ellsworth, was to avoid scandal.
Though her heart was broken when she learned James never wanted marriage or her, Violet found consolation in traveling the world —at his expense, finding adventure and enjoying an unconventional, independent life. And strenuously avoiding her husband.
But when James inherits the earldom it comes with a catch—Violet. To receive his legacy he and Violet must live together as husband and wife, convincing society that they are reconciled. It’s a preposterous notion, complicated by the fact that Violet is no longer the quiet, meek woman he married. But then he’s not the same man either.
Chasing Violet across Europe to earn her trust and prove his worth, James realizes with each passing day that a marriage begun in haste may be enjoyed at leisure. And that nothing may be as scandalous—or as perfect—as falling hopelessly in love. Especially with your wife.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Victoria: I have an office off my living room—about as far away from the rest of the house as I can get—and I do all my work there. My house is just over 100 years old and even though I have high efficiency windows it’s just not enough. So in the summer I have at least one fan going and in the winter I need 2 space heaters just to keep my fingers warm. But wherever there isn’t a window, there are bookshelves so I’m surrounded by research and inspiration. It’s not especially tidy—okay—it’s never tidy but it is cozy and a great place to write and I love it!
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Victoria: I can’t think of any rituals although I do often set a timer and turn off all distractions—tv, internet, email, on-line games etc. until the timer goes off. Then I can take a break. I do always have something to drink—hot tea in the winter (warms me up) and usually ice tea in the summer. I play music sometimes but it’s always instrumental. Songs with words are too distracting and I tend to sing along which is a bit of a problem. As for time of day—it really varies from book to book. With some books my best time to write has been early morning. With others, I haven’t been able to get into writing until late afternoon.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Victoria: Persistence and support from writer friends. I kept sending out my first book to publishers and getting rejections. But while I was trying to sell that one—I started the next. By the time I sold, the second was almost finished.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Victoria: Dialogue and humor. I’m one of those people who talks to herself in the car. That seems to be a big help in writing dialogue. And while I have written some angsty scenes, I much prefer to make people laugh rather than cry. There’s not nearly enough laughter in the world.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Victoria: It really depends. Sometimes it’s situation and the characters develop for that particular story line. Sometimes it’s character. I have a couple of characters from previous books that I’d like to write stories for but coming up with the right story for an already established character isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Victoria: I do try to keep regular hours so I’m usually at my computer Monday-Friday, from about 8:30 to 5:00. And while I try to focus on writing, I am frequently distracted. Sometimes by legitimate things like research and writing blogs. Sometimes—okay more than I want to admit—by fantasy vacations and ebay.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Victoria: I’ve been having some repairs done around the house. Really hard to write with people you don’t know running around your house!
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Victoria: Nope. I’ve always wanted to but frankly my life is filled with the pressure of deadlines and commitments. Adding one more thing makes me want to run screaming into the night.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Victoria: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Victoria: I don’t have just one favorite. I love contemporaries—preferably funny—as well as women’s fiction, erotica, young adult and paranormal.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Victoria: Honestly, I don’t reread a lot anymore. I have a kindle full of books I haven’t gotten to and a house full of books I still haven’t read. So there’s always something new. But I am planning to reread all of Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s books because I’m not sure which ones I haven’t read yet.
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Victoria: Actually, I rarely read historicals at all. It’s the world I work in and I’m very critical. Which takes all the fun out of it.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Victoria: I write full time. Well, I try to write full time.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Victoria: Authors don’t have nearly as much control as readers think we do.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Victoria: You have to understand writing is hard and there’s nothing that makes it easier. And every book is harder than the last—as it should be. It means you’re challenging yourself. If writing is what you really want to do—learn everything you can about writing and then do what you want. What you feel is right for the story you want to tell.
Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?
Victoria: I’m looking at something different. I’m just not sure what yet.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Victoria: I love writing 1st person. I’d like to do more of that. Honestly, I have a million ideas so I’m exploring at the moment. It’s kind of an adventure and I’m excited about what comes next.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Victoria! We have a few things in common that I didn’t realize until you so graciously answered my questions. We both write full time, drink iced tea, have a ton of research books, and love historicals, for instance.
I hope everyone is enjoying getting to know my fellow authors, some of whom I’ve met in person, and some, like Victoria, who have helped me in my writing career. Writing, like Victoria said, is not easy. It’s wonderful to have a supportive network of other writers to turn to for answers to questions and for a pep talk when needed.
Now, go find a good book to read. Support your favorite authors! Happy reading, everyone!
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