Today we welcome author Victoria Dahl to the Risky Regencies. Victoria’s new book, One Week As Lovers, is out this Tuesday. In addition to writing historicals, Victoria writes contemporaries; her newest, Start Me Up, has been out a month. You can find Victoria at VictoriaDahl.com or on Twitter, where is absolutely charming and hysterical. A random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of Victoria’s One Week As Lovers, which she talks about with us here.
Q. Tell us about the book:
Viscount Lancaster is a charming young gentleman who’s inherited a crumbling estate and must marry for money. When he finds his betrothed in the arms of another man, he’s faced with an ugly truth: he can’t back out of the marriage. Desperate for some breathing room, he escapes to a remote estate, only to discover that the childhood friend he’d thought dead is actually hiding out in his attic.
Cynthia Merrithorpe is trying to escape her own ugly future and doesn’t appreciate it when Lancaster returns to ruin all her plans. But she’s loved Lancaster her whole life, and it doesn’t take long for her hostility to turn to yearning. Without a cent between them, and with Lancaster’s dark secrets casting a shadow over his life, there’s no hope for a future together. But the lovers are determined to have just one week…
Also, there’s treasure-hunting! *G*
Q. How long did it take? Was this an easy or difficult book to write?
I was under a pretty strict deadline with this book, so it only took a few months to write. A few difficult, disheveled months. The story itself was an easy haul though. This is actually a complete re-writing of the first romance manuscript I ever completed. Of course, that story lacked three-dimensional characters and a plot, so I had to add those in. I literally read the first few chapters of that original manuscript, and then tossed it aside and started with page one again in the writing.
Q. Talk about your characters. What or who inspired them?
As I said, the original manuscript was strictly cardboard characters with no internal conflict. The only thing I wanted to keep of that story was the framework. When I wrote Viscount Lancaster into A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE, I knew he was going to be the hero of ONE WEEK. He was handsome and charming and a very sweet fortune hunter… and I was starting to worry that I’d gone with a two-dimensional character again. He was… nice. Pleasant. I couldn’t figure out what made him tick. (Or twitch, as it were.)
Then toward the end of RAKE’S GUIDE, Lancaster is roused from his bed and walks onto the scene only half dressed. First of all, he was sexy as hell. Secondly, he had a huge scar around his neck. I gasped. I had no idea where that had come from. And at the end of RAKE’S GUIDE, I still had no idea. I thought maybe he was a spy. But he wouldn’t admit to anything.
In the months between writing these books, his story came to me, and it was heart-breaking.
Q. Did you run across anything new and unusual while researching this book?
I don’t think so. Hmm. I tend to use research and then purge it from my brain, so I’m hopeless with these kinds of questions. The external plot of ONE WEEK centers around a search for treasure, so I did have fun researching the smugglers’ caves common along the coastline of England.
Q. You write in two different genres; how does that make it harder or easier for you to write?
It actually makes it easier! I have a short attention span, so I enjoy jumping from one thing to another. I don’t think I’d be able to write so many books a year if they were all in one sub-genre. I find when I go from a contemporary to a historical, it’s a bit like cleansing the palate. Though I do find I have to scour my contemporaries for overly-formal speech.
Q. What is it about the period that interests you as a writer?
I write in the very early Victorian period, and I love the transitional feel of it. The strictest of the Victorian mores hasn’t become social law yet. There are still quite a few attitudes left over from the Regency period. Victoria is a young queen, and the feel of the country is very hopeful.
Q. What do you think is the greatest creative risk you’ve taken in this book? How do you feel about it?
Honestly, I was scared to death when I turned this book in. It’s like nothing I’ve written before. The characters are in love, really in love, which was a departure for me. Most of my stories are sexually-driven power struggles. Also, the book is very hero-centric. Cynthia is strong and stubborn, but she has never left her little shire. Lancaster is the one whose past drives the story. Lastly, the hero is damaged, maybe beyond repair. I was really concerned that it would be too much darkness for this otherwise light story, and I had a back-up past ready just in case. *g*
When my editor wrote to tell me how much he loved it, I was in shock. I honestly couldn’t believe it. Really, I thought he was mistaken. I feel like I held my breath until I got some amazing feedback from the ARCs I sent out. Now I’m squealing with excitement over this book!
Q. Is there anything you wanted to include in the book that you (or your CPs or editor) felt was too controversial and left out?
Ha! There are several instances in the book when the hero takes a blow to the head. Some of the injuries are deliberate, some accidental. My CP said her head was starting to hurt from the pounding he was taking, so I edited out a couple of the blows.
Q. What are you working on next?
I’m about to start a new historical series! It’s the same time period, only a different set of family and friends. I don’t have a title for the next book, but it will be out in August 2010. The book opens with the heroine caught in a (truly) compromising position with an unsavory character. She refuses to marry the scoundrel, but there are fears she could be pregnant, so a husband must be found. Enter the hero, a big, strapping man who happens to be the illegitimate son of a duke… and a French whore. He has a deep affection for naughty girls, so he’s instantly smitten. But he has to convince the heroine that her love for pretty, delicate men is misguided and what she really needs is a big brute of a man in her life.
Q. Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you or your books?
It’s been a busy year for me, so I’ll just mention a few of my other projects. In July, my second contemporary, START ME UP, hit the shelves. I also released my first erotic romance this year! THE WICKED WEST is available at all e-book retailers, including Kindle and e-Harlequin. And I’m excited to announce that my first paranormal romance will be out in September. It’s a Highland vampire novella in the anthology collection HIGHLAND BEAST with Hannah Howell! Whew.
Thanks so much for letting me visit!
Thank you, Victoria!