Dear Readers, we have a very special treat for you today! I was fortunate enough to interview #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander! Victoria was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. First published in 1995, she has since penned well over two dozen novels and novellas. Her latest, Desires of a Perfect Lady, is on shelves now and you can check out my review here. Please welcome Victoria to The Romance Dish!
Hi, Victoria! Thank you so much for joining us today at The Romance Dish! As a long time fan, I am especially thrilled for the opportunity to interview you. Please make yourself at home and let our Golden Waiter know if you need anything. *g*
You had a new release, Desires of a Perfect Lady, hit shelves this past Tuesday, March 30. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Desires is about Olivia Rathbourne, who has had an awful marriage she was forced into. When her husband is murdered she thinks she's at last free only to discover he is still trying to control her from the grave. In order to claim her inheritance she has to complete three of his collections. The only way she can do that is to turn to the man who broke her heart a decade ago and failed her when she needed him—Sterling Harrington.
Sterling has always thought he was the injured party but finds out quickly he was wrong. But his biggest mistake was ignoring the three letters she sent him. The moment he sees her again he realizes his feelings have never changed. But he has a lot to make up for and working his way back into her heart is not going to be easy.
Together they travel from London to Cairo to Venice in their quest for her inheritance and her independence. And along the way find each other as well.
Sterling and Olivia were vibrant characters that really leapt off the page for me. Who were your inspirations for them?
Just my slightly warped, thankfully fertile imagination.
LOL! As a fan of adventure romance, I loved the first book in the series, The Virgin’s Secret, as well as this one. Your beautiful descriptions made me want to visit the places Sterling and Olivia journeyed to. Did you do any extensive research, such as traveling, for these books?
I've never been to Egypt, although I have always wanted to go, but I have been to Venice—which I love. I didn’t travel specifically for this book but for both Desires and Virgin's Secret I did a lot of research.
For Virgin's Secret I researched Victorian archeologists and lost cities. For Desires, I found 1880's guidebooks to Egypt and Venice as well as train and ship schedules so that I could set up the characters' travel. It was fun to realize very little has changed in Venice between 1885 and the last time I was there.
Also for Desires, I spent a lot of time researching the type of items Olivia needed to collect so that took me from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance paintings.
How fascinating! Venice sounds perfectly lovely. The prequel to this series, The Perfect Wife, hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment! How did that feel and how did you celebrate?
It was an amazing experience. One of those fantasies you never really think is going to come true. We celebrated with friends and champagne and lots of copies of the New York Times.
*raises glass* Here's to it happening again soon! At The Romance Dish, we love series, so you know I have to ask this question. Since this is your last book with Avon, will readers get to read Quinton’s story one day? And Reggie’s?
I love Quinton and I hope to write his story at some point—especially since I have it pretty much plotted out. The only question is when and I don't have an answer for that. Yet.
And honestly, I've never had anything in mind for Reggie, although I do like her!
And because you know I can’t leave out one of my all-time favorite secondary characters, do you have any plans to someday write a story for Becky Shelton?
I do. I even have something of a story in mind for her, I just have no idea when I'll write it.
I'll keep my fingers crossed! Since we’re on the subject of series, your Effington Family series is one of my favorites and one of the most beloved series for so many romance readers. Any plans to revisit them in the future?
Not at the moment but I did leave a lot of characters without their own stories so I wouldn't rule it out. In fact, I would like to do more Effington stories in the future.
Did you originally plan to write so many books in that series?
I didn't originally plan to write a series at all. One story just grew from the one before it. And then I fell in love with the family and their friends.
We are so glad it turned into a series! Was it difficult for you to leave the Effingtons when you started your Last Man Standing series?
Not at all because the Last Man Standing series grew out of an Effington book—Let It Be Love.
At the end of each of the Last Man Standing books, you added a continuing bonus story, Ladies for Tea. It was a unique and fascinating concept that I loved! What prompted the idea?
We wanted to do something special and a little extra for readers and I came up with Ladies for Tea. Since I used to be a reporter, conducting interviews is fairly natural although I still find it weird to be on the other end. And, oh sure, interviewing people who don’t really exist is a little trickier.
Ladies for Tea was so much fun that I'm going to continue it for each book on my new website (http://www.victoriaalexanderbooks.com/). Ladies for Tea with some of the characters from Desires will be up hopefully in a couple of weeks.
Oh, that's wonderful news! I can't wait to take tea with you and your heroines again soon! *g*
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Tough question. I think the best part is that as a writer I can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything. And I don’t have to leave my house to do it. :)
We know that writing is a huge part of your life, but what are some things you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love to garden in the spring and collect odd things on ebay. Right now I'm collecting napkin rings with names engraved on them. I love to throw parties—especially dinner parties so that I can use my napkin rings. And I love to travel!
Can you share with us a little bit about what you are working on now? Upcoming releases? A new series, perhaps?
I'm very excited about the book I'm working on right now. The Perfect Mistress is about a widow who has inherited the scandalous memoirs of her great-grandmother and needs to sell them because she's nearly broke. Two men want to publish the memoirs and a very proper earl wants to stop that to prevent his family from being involved in scandal. And now it seems great-grandmother's spirit is back!
Sweet! We look forward to The Perfect Mistress!!
Quick Six time!
Plotter or Panster? A bit of both—more pantser really.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Dogs or Cats? Dogs—have 2 bearded collies
Flats or Heels? Love heels—can't stand to wear them.
Summer or Winter? Spring & fall.
Thank you so much, Victoria! Since I’ve plundered you with so many questions, I’m going to let you have a turn. Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Well, Andrea, you said you love adventure stories and this is a reunion story as well as a road story. I was wondering what kind of stories your readers like.
So, Dear Readers, Victoria wants to know: What kind of stories do YOU like to read?
Desires of a Perfect Lady by Victoria Alexander
A secret list of the desires of Lady Olivia Rathbourne:
~Follow my heart
~Bed the Earl of Wyldewood
A decade ago, Olivia had expected to marry the Earl of Wyldewood, only to have happiness stolen from her before his ring could be placed upon her finger. Now he stands before her, as proud and arrogant and handsome as ever, vowing to rescue her. Well, he's got some nerve urning up after all these years. Where was he when she needed him?
As for the earl, scandal has never touched him nor has impropriety ever besmirched his name. But his penchant for doing the expected does have his family calling him, well, dull. Isn't it time to flaunt society's conventions and do what he's always wanted? And first on his list: Olivia in his bed—with or without a wedding.