Friday, November 4, 2011
NYT and USA Today Best-Selling Author Victoria Alexander
Since leaving television, she has seen sixteen of her more than two dozen books hit the New York Times, USA Today and/or Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. "The Perfect Wife" was a NYT #1 bestseller. In 2009 she was given a Career Achievement Award from RT Bookclub and named Historical Storyteller of the year in 2003.
Victoria's stories of love, romance, and intrigue in bygone eras contain the wit, charm, and sometimes quick tongue the author herself possesses. Her heroines know what they want and aren't afraid to go after it, and the heroes are all man. In "The Perfect Mistress," released earlier this year, Victoria unveiled a proper lady who discovers passion is her legacy. But she also introduced some new characters who now have their own story to tell in "His Mistress by Christmas." Widowed Lady Veronica Simpson seeks the boudoir benefits of marriage without the tedious restrictions. Rogue and explorer Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater needs a wife in order to ingratiate himself to his family. Oh yeah, there's a collision course if ever there was one.
While Victoria has found a successful formula for her writing, it is the characters who make each offering delightfully entertaining and the story unique from all her other works.
Today Victoria resides in Nebraska with her husband and a bearded collie who enjoys kitchen counter surfing.
Victoria's Web Site
A) Overall, I think the 19th century is far enough in the past to provide a lovely veneer of romance without being so far in the past that contemporary readers can't relate to it.
When I first started reading romance, I fell in love with the Regency period in England. For a fiction writer it was a fabulous time. The Napoleonic Wars were raging through much of that period so you have men of great courage and war heroes and all the drama that accompanies countries during wartime. There was a fascinating social system with unmarried women under strict social rules but those who were married (and had provided an heir) were free to behave almost as they wished. Plus the clothes were gorgeous.
From there, I moved into mid and now late Victorian. It was a period full of progress and, while fairly civilized, also had great potential for adventure. I think it was a fascinating time to be alive. And I love true stories of Victorian exploration and invention.
Q) How do you consistently create characters unlike the ones in your previous tales?
A) Good question and I'm not sure I have an answer!
I hate the idea of writing the same story with the same characters over and over so I put a lot of thought into the stories as well as the characters I create. But honestly, there are so many different facets of people to explore. It's fun to create a heroine who is firmly a woman of her time and would never think of doing anything improper in one book and then in the next, a heroine who has the means and determination to do exactly as she pleases. My next book (My Wicked Little Lies) is about two people who are already married to each other so I got to explore how and why they would keep secrets from each other. I'm working on one now where the heroine is from a family of, well, Victorian gold diggers. They were brought up to believe that one married for position and money. At least the first time.
Trying to make my characters and my stories unique from book to book is a challenge. It means each book is harder to write than the last. As much as I wish it would be easier, I think that's a good thing. It means I keep working and stretching to write the best book I can.
Q) What one thing do you believe has kept readers coming back to your books?
A) Honestly, I think it's simple. I write the kind of book I like to read. I read for enjoyment, to be entertained. I want a book that's going to take me away from real life for a bit and, hopefully make me laugh or at least smile.
I don’t like writing a lot of angst. As a reporter, I saw way too much tragedy in real life. I'd much rather make readers smile than cry.
And I think there are a lot of people out there like me. Deep down inside, I'm pretty run-of-the-mill ordinary.
A) Absolutely! I'm already working on one for next year called What Happens at Christmas. I love writing Christmas books and actually I do have a couple of novellas (Promises to Keep and Shakespeare and the Three Kings) and two previous books with Christmas themes—A Visit from Sir Nicholas and the reissue of Believe was rewritten a bit to incorporate a Christmas setting.
I think Christmas is a wonderful time of year to set a story. Aside from the obvious holiday festivities it is an innately magical time when anything can happen, when miracles happen. And what is more miraculous than falling in love?
Q) During my preparation for this interview, I encountered several Internet piracy sites offering your books for free. What is your opinion of book piracy?
A) Well, I think it theft. Writing isn't a hobby for me—it's my job. It's what provides my income. If my books are being pirated, that cuts into my income. If I can't make a living—I can't afford to write. There's a fantasy out there that anyone who is published is fabulously wealthy. Trust me—I'm not.
We're all very used to everything on the internet being free. I think the people who download my books would never dream of walking into a bookstore and taking a book without paying. They would see that as stealing. For some reason, they don’t see piracy as stealing. But piracy is theft, it's just a different format.
Q) Any parting thoughts for your readers?
I'd also like to thank my readers for liking my work. It's really a thrill to know that there are people who like what you pour your heart and soul into who aren't related to you.
And I should tell them I have a lot more stories left to write!