Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview with Victoria Connelly and Book Giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Victoria Connelly lives in London with her husband (a television news cameraman), a springer spaniel, and four hens. She published a few novels in Germany, her first inspired by her husband's work trip to Israel. Her first novel that was published in the UK is "Molly's Millions." She then wrote a trilogy based on Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy character.

Her latest book being released in the UK today is "The Perfect Hero," published by Avon, a division of HarperCollins. Charlotte Allen has two copies to give away to some lucky readers anywhere in the world.

You can find Victoria on Facebook and Twitter.

MP: Which of your books was the most challenging to write?
VC: One of my books published in Germany, ‘Three Graces’, was the hardest to write and it took me ages to work out why. It’s a magical romantic comedy about a young woman who marries a duke and soon realises that his new home is haunted by an eighteenth-century ghost. I got about three-quarters of the way through and just stopped. I actually took a break from it and wrote two children’s books and then went back to it. I think it was hard because I only had one viewpoint character – my heroine, Carys. I usually have three viewpoint characters which really helps the pace of a story. But I’m usually very lucky with my writing and enjoy the process of telling the story.

MP: What is your usual writing routine?
VC: After I’ve taken care of all my animals, I make a start on my novel. I don’t have a set routine of writing hours but I do have a daily word count I try to achieve: 1,000 words. I work well in the mornings and late afternoons but I will occasionally work in the evenings too. One of the things I love about being self-employed is that you can work the hours that suit you.

MP: Do you always know how a story will end before you write it? Or does it change along the way?
VC: Well, I write romantic comedies so I know they’re always going to end happily and I know who will end up with whom but I don’t plan meticulously because I think that spoils the joy of writing the book. I love to be surprised and get excited as I’m writing and have things happen spontaneously but I do have a rough outline and publishers often ask for a synopsis before you write a book but they realise things can change during the writing process.

MP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you remedy it?
VC: I’ve only ever had that difficult time with ‘Three Graces’ and I managed to work my way through it by writing something else. I do think writers’ block exists but I also believe that hard work will get you through it. It’s sometimes just a case of battling through the tough times or taking a good break to recharge the creative batteries. That’s important too.

MA: If "The Perfect Hero" were to be made into a movie, who would you want to star in the lead roles?

VC: Oooh, lovely question! My heroine, Kay, is sweet and romantic and there’s an actress I really adore called Rebecca Night – she played Fanny Hill in the recent Andrew Davies adaptation. And I have a huge crush on Henry Cavill (from ‘The Tudors’) and I think he’d make a wonderful Adam Craig, my hero! There’s also my tall, blond, handsome actor called Oli Wade Owen and there’s no surprise that he bears a certain resemblance to Rupert Penry Jones!

MA: What is your favorite memory from when you were a teacher?
VC: I was teaching drama at a lovely girls’ school in North Yorkshire. They had a fabulous drama studio there – ‘The Judi Dench Studio’ and I’d devised a scheme of work where pupils create scenes for their own soap opera.

We always named the soap opera after the road the school was on (I’d just like to say this was YEARS before the BBC programme ‘Waterloo Road’ and I have my suspicions that somebody pinched my idea!) Anyway, one break time, a group of pupils from another year group rushed up to me in the playground and shouted, ‘Miss, Miss! Are we going to do “Gargrave Road” in drama today?’ It was so funny to think that they’d heard about what I’d been doing with the other year group and had been looking forward to their lesson. It was a real compliment.

MA: Who is your perfect hero?
VC: Can I have three, please? In fiction, it’s Mr Darcy from ‘Pride and Prejudice’, from real life, it’s adventurer, Bear Grylls, and from real, real life, it’s my husband!

MP: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
VC: I would love to visit Egypt and see the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings. I’d love to walk through the streets of Cairo and barter at the shops and visit the fabulous museum there. And I’ve always wanted to cruise down the Nile too. I once wrote a girls’ adventure set in Egypt and did some research at the British Museum in London. I was taken down to the basement and allowed to hold a 3,000-year old shabti and sniff mummy wrappings. It was brilliant! I think Egypt is a magical, mystical place and I hope I get to visit it one day.

MA: What is it like having hens for pets? Does it give a new meaning to the term "hen night?" :)
VC: I love my hens! I recently rescued 4 ex-battery hens who had lived a rather sad life, kept in a tiny cage all day and had never been outside. They were in a sorry state when we got them. But now, despite still being a little bit bald here and there (Alice’s head is like a snooker ball!) they have grown in confidence and are wonderful companions. They are inquisitive and follow me around the garden to see what I’m doing. They’re easy to handle and love eating from your hands. And, of course, you have the bonus of fresh eggs. I’ve turned into a domestic goddess making quiches, cakes and meringues. It’s wonderful. I haven’t thought about a ‘hen night’ but I really should throw a ‘hen party’ so everyone can meet them!

MA: Have you thought about starting another series based on a famous author when you're finished with the Mr. Darcy series?
VC: I did briefly think about writing something about the Brontes because I love their books but I do think there’s something rather special about Jane Austen and her fans and I’m not sure it would be the same with another writer.

I’ve also got a few other standalone romantic comedies planned (watch out for ‘The Runaway Actress’ next!) so that will keep me busy for the next few years. But you never know!

Thanks to Victoria for answering our questions and to Charlotte for arranging the interview and providing the books for the giveaway.

How to win "The Perfect Hero":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Who is your perfect hero?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Giveaway ends May 4th ("Star Wars" Day!) at midnight EST

More by Victoria Connelly:
* A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

* Molly's Millions


Booklady said...

I hadn't heard of this book before your post. Sounds very interesting.

My perfect hero is my Mom by Choice - Sue. She took my husband and I and our children under her wing when both our biological parents passed away.

I posted on Facebook.
I'm a follower
And I follow on Facebook as well.

Looking forward to reading the book.

Beverly aka Booklady bevarcher (at) me (dot) com

Clary said...

Great interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

My perfect hero is my grandfather. He was a very soft spoken and kind man. I miss him everyday.

Old GFC follower

claroxide AT yahoo Dot co DOT in

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via gfc

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via facebook

BRN2SHOP9 said...

My perfect hero is my mom

karenk said...

my perfect hero mom :)

love the cover on this novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

LBK said...

My perfect hero would have to be my OH Mom, Charlotte. She's always come through for me or my husband whenever we've needed help!

Jel said...

ive read a little about the story on victoria's site and im so hooked! i wish i could have a copy too :)

anyways, im gonna enter so ill have a chance to win the book.

my perfect hero would be my family. yes, my father, mother, brother and sister are the persons i considered as heroes of my life because they are the ones who are there for me, and will never hesitate to save me if im troubled.

im a blog follower via GFC

im a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook (Jung Rae Woo)

shared on FB:

punkme15 at gmail dot com

PoCoKat said...

My hero is my husband...he looks out for me.

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

PoCoKat said...

GFC follower

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

PoCoKat said...

Belong to Chick Lit Central on FB

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

PoCoKat said...

Posted to my blog:

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

Jeryl M. said...

Sounds good. I'd like to read this book.

My perfect hero is my husband because he always makes everything better.

I follow this blog.

I'm a facebook follower.

Linda Kish said...

My perfect hero would be my mom. She helped me out of many jams in my life before she passed away last year. And now it has fallen to me to help out the family when needed.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!
1)My perfect hero... oh, come on. It's Acheron, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. :)) He's so perfect. *_*
2)I'm a gfc follower: Karla Vollkopf
3)I tweeted:!/vollkopf/status/63953734023131136
4)I follow on Facebook: Karla Vollkopf

kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

susana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susana said...

The book sounds great.. uhm a hero.
Well as Victoria from fiction Mr Darcy of "Pride and perjuice" I like aswell Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre. In real life I don't Know maybe someone of my family.
Posted on FB
of course member of Chick Lit Central
Put on my wall

susana said...

sorry "Pride and perjudice"

ADR said...

Mr. Knightly is a great hero

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I follow on Twitter

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I follow Facebook.

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I follow the blog

adr52775 at aol dot com

Felicia said...

I read Victoria Connelly's A Weekend with Mr. Darcy and loved it! I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

My hero would be my grandmother. She taught me so much and I wish I could be like her.

felicialso @ gmail dot com

I am a follower through google reader and facebook

Unknown said...

Great giveaway a lovely summer read!
freyamae2000(at)yahoo(dot) co(dot)uk

Shaz Goodwin said...

My hero has to be our pupil/parent support worker at the school where I work. Not only does she do a fab job with the children and parents (and recently won a community award) but she also supports me in my Inclusion role. She really is amazing :)

I already follow your blog.

I RT your tweet on Twitter (@shazjera).

I already joined Chick Lit Central's FB page.

Thanks for the opportunity - sounds a fab read (and will look out for the other books too).

shaz (dot) goodwin (at) sky (dot) com

sheen said...

follow the blog Can't wait to read this one!

RivkaBelle said...

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Who is your perfect hero?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

This sounds so fun! I tend to like Persuasion 'retellings' better than the original (I'm weird, I know, haha), and this one sounds great. Also a very fun interview :o)

+1: My perfect hero ... Han Solo or Superman? :o) In real life, my Hero is my Mum, because she's been through so much and is so amazing.

+1: New follower via GFC (RivkaBelle), and happy to have discovered this blog!

+1: Tweeted:

+1: Joined ChickLitCentral on facebook (RebeccaMFleming)


BrittanyGale said...

My perfect hero is my lovely boyfriend.
I follow your blog and I joined the Facebook group.


StereoQueenBee said...

My perfect hero is my Dad. He faced cancer this past year and beat it. I follow your blog, am on your FB page and posted this on FB and Twitter.

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com.

Laura Kay said...

My hero is my mom, she died almost ten years ago. She was so very brave :)

I am a follower :)and I've joined Chick Lit Central of facebook!!!

Nic said...

1. I don't believe in Heroes... but some people inspire me. If I have to choose someone it would have to be my mum:)
2. I follow this blog :)
4. I am a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

Nancye said...

This book sounds really great! I would love to win a copy! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

My perfect hero is my husband. He has been by my side for 20 years and his love for me has never wavered. He has been with me in sickness and in some really tough times throughout the years, as well as through some incredibly happy times too. I love this man with all of my heart and soul and he is and will always be my perfect hero.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I am a follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I joined you on Facebook

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net