What made you start writing romance?
My writing career began in 2010 with the publication of a huge novel (548 published pages) called THE HIGHEST STAKES, a story of star-crossed lovers and horse racing set in the 18th century. Although this story was not a “romance” due to many characters and subplots, it was still a very romantic story. My second book, FORTUNE’S SON, was a sequel that focused much more on the romantic elements of the story. I have always loved history and romantic stories, so historical romance was a very natural progression. I have now written twenty- four books to include two historical fiction novels, fourteen historical romances, and eight contemporary romances.
What inspired your current release?
My latest release is a Medieval Scottish story that I was asked to write for a multi-author anthology call FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDS. Coincidentally, I was in the midst of doing some personal genealogy research that took all the way back to 12th century Scotland! So this is where I began my story. Once I began writing, however, I knew this was much more than just a novella. It was the start of an entirely new direction for me! THE SONS OF SCOTLAND is a huge series that will span several centuries. THE MAIDEN OF MORAY, my contribution to the anthology, is the novella that inspired this series. I’m really excited about the series because it brings me full circle. The stories are indeed romances but on an epic scale!
Please share your research process for your books/series.
I’ve always taken research very seriously, but in this case, it is also very personal. Since I traced my ancestry (Clan Ross) all the way back to its 12th century origins, this is where I decided to set the series. Though I do take some creative license, most of the characters, events, and places in this series are real. I am planning a trip to Scotland in the next year specifically to visit these places, to include several castles that once belonged to the Ross clan. Balnagowan is one of these (picture below).
EXCERPT: THE MAIDEN OF MORAY by VICTORIA VANE
Crouching down, Sibylla slowly waded upstream, holding one hand out for balance as she reached under the shelf of rock on the bank. The footing in the stream was slick with algae, and the water soon weighted down her skirts which made the task much more difficult than she’d thought. After several minutes, her fingers came in contact with a soft and slippery form. “I found one!” She stifled a squeal.
“Aye?” Alexander grinned. “Now slowly stoke his body.”
“How do ye know it’s a he? Maybe it’s a she?” she replied.
“I don’t ken what difference it makes,” he mumbled with a shake of his dark shaggy head.
“It’s gone still,” she murmured.
“Then now’s the time. Reach with both hands and grab its head. Hold tight, for it will fight ye the moment it awakens.”
Sibylla put both hands around the fish, the biggest she’d ever caught, and plucked it out of the water. The moment its head broke the surface, it began thrashing fiercely. Maintaining balance and holding the fighting fish proved too great a challenge. With a shriek, Sibylla fell backward into the water, where she sputtered, kicked, and flailed, but still refused to release the fish.
“Let it go, lass!” Alexander cried, his eyes wide with panic as he waded toward her. “I would not have ye drown for a bluidy fish!”
He was there in seconds. His hands came around her waist as he plucked her up and out of the water as easily as he’d landed his catch. For a dazed and breathless moment, Sibylla stood staring up at him with the fish flopping between them.
“I wouldn’t have drowned,” she continued with a grin. “At the worst part, ‘tis only thigh-deep.”
Alexander gazed down with a look of chagrin. “So ‘tis.”
“But it doesn’t lessen the deed,” she said softly. Suddenly solemn, she gazed into his eyes. “Thank ye for your chivalry.”
His body went still. And his breathing quickened. In that instant, she knew something had awakened, something strange and unfamiliar—a sudden awareness of every breath, every heartbeat. Did he feel it, too?
Her desperate grip on the fish went slack. Letting it slip from her fingers, Sibylla rose up on her toes and grasped the woolen fabric of his tunic. Eyeing his mouth, she slowly licked her own lips.
He shut his eyes on a groan. “Please, Sibylla, I—“
“Nae.” She pressed a finger to his mouth. “Don’t say it.”
“Sibylla!” Ailis’s voice called out, startling them apart.
“Over here,” Sibylla called out in reply.
“I thought I’d never find ye,” Ailis grumbled as she dragged the poles. Her eyes widened when she caught sight of her cousin. “Ye’re drookit! Did ye take a swim in the burn?”
“Aye, but ‘twas not my idea,” Sibylla said wryly. “We were catching fish, and I slipped.” She held up the single trout.
“I’ve never seen such fine catch!” Ailis gushed. “How did ye do it without the poles?”
“’Tis our secret.” Sibylla flashed Alexander a conspiratorial wink. To her dismay, he didn’t even break a smile. Instead, he took up his codex and tucked it under his arm.
“I must return now. I’ve much work to do.” He nodded and departed, once more stiff and formal. Sibylla watched him go with a tightness in her chest. What had gone wrong?
“When ye decide ye want to be kissed, Sibylla,” Ailis said. “‘Twould probably be best if it were not a priest.”
NOW FOR THE “FAST FIVE”
As a reader, what was the first romance book to deeply impact you? What about it touched you?
One of my favorite books of all time is THE THORN BIRDS by Colleen McCullough. It touched me most because the hero and heroine truly loved each other but couldn’t be together. It was bittersweet and heart-wrenching and has stayed with me for many years.
What’s your favorite animal? Can you tell us why? Horses! I’ve loved them always!
What’s your favorite color? Can you tell us why? Red. Because it’s bold.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18 year old self? Quit caring about what other people think of you and enjoy life!
Give three words that describe you. Intrepid, tenacious, fun-loving
ABOUT VICTORIA VANE
Victoria Vane is a bestselling, award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Victoria’s books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2015 Red Carpet Award for JEWEL OF THE EAST, 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations, and 2012 Library Journal Best E-Book romance for The Devil DeVere series. Victoria also writes romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee. Victoria also has a passion for historical fashion and lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.
Twitter: @authorvictoriav Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1vONQ
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