Interview with Victoria Vane

When did you first start writing?
I began writing at the age of 44 when a story came into my head that woudn't leave- a dramatic tale of passion, retribution and horseracing- so I began writing it. Fourteen months later I completed THE HIGHEST STAKES (writing under the pseudonym Emery Lee). Six weeks later I scored a contract with Sourcebooks and have been writing ever since!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Sheik Retold is a steamy retelling of E.M. Hull's Classic bodice-ripper The Sheik. When first published in 1919, The Sheik was an overnight bestseller with thirty-one printings within the first two years of release. The book was also made into a silent film that catapulted its leading man, Rudolph Valentino, to superstardom. Given its huge success in its time, I have no doubt many readers will wonder at my motive in re-writing this romance classic.

As a reader, I have always found the "forced seduction"/rape-to-love trope appalling, and have never had such mixed feeling about a book as I did after reading The Sheik. It had so much to offer with its strong characters and beautiful descriptive prose, but it fell sadly short for me in so many other ways. I found the narrative too repetitive and the pace plodding. There was too much navel-gazing on the heroine's part, and far too little actual interaction between the hero and heroine for a romance. In sum, I loved and loathed it in equal measure.

Nevertheless, this story captured my imagination and even though I had a number of other writing projects in progress, The Sheik held me hostage and absolutely refused to let me go. Once I began fantasizing about alternate scenarios, dialogue, and plot twists, I knew it was calling to me. I had no choice but to re-tell this story the way I envisioned it.

While I have taken a number of liberties in my re-telling, the main plot, characters, and descriptive passages are largely unchanged. I kept everything I loved and changed what I loathed. Although my version is not completely devoid of violence (to omit all of it would only have watered down Ahmed's powerful alpha character), I have taken out the rape and animal abuse which I abhorred in the original. I have also thrown the bedroom door wide open.

Most important, however is my portrayal of Diana. Even though she falls deeply in love with her captor, my version of the character stays true to her strong and self-willed nature right to the end.

While I believe The Sheik Retold will compare favorably to E.M. Hull's The Sheik, readers of this book will be the ultimate judge.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The desire to write what I want to write and not just chase the market. I also don't wish to be "type cast" as publishers are so wont to do with authors. Lastly, I am not a fan of formulaic stories. While I am a romance writer at heart, each of my books is distinctly different in theme and tone. I like to surprise readers by delivering the unexpected.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
While I am still working with traditional publishers, I love the freedom I have gained in also pursuing indie projects. It's been very liberating and fulfilling. I'm new to Smashwords and excited about the possibilities.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love breathing life into my fictional characters and delighting readers. I am never happier than when hearing from a reader how much he/she enjoys my stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! And I love connecting one on one. I love getting personal tweets and emails and I respond to all of them as well as readers suggestions. I wrote the novella, A DEVIL'S TOUCH, specifically because a fan asked for more Diana and DeVere.
What are you working on next?
I always have several projects in the works. I am currently contracted with Sourcebooks (my first publisher) for a 4 book contemporary cowboy romance series that is scheduled to release fall of 2014. I am also working on several historical romances, to include additions to my award-winning Devil DeVere series, that I will publish independently.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have so very many! Off the top of my head- Georgette Heyer, Robin Schone, Sylvia Day, Charlotte Featherstone, Diana Gabaldon, Lisa Kleypas, Grace Burrowes, Loretta Chase, Jennifer Ashley, and many others!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My stories! I almost always wake up to a character talking in my head!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend most of my time at home with my family. (My husband of thirty years and 2 sons). I am an avid horse lover and owner of a beautiful gray Arabian that I try to ride regularly. I walk my dog, read whenever I can, and play the Celtic harp.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I almost always select book recommended by friends and book reviewers that I know and respect. I have met many of these through Goodreads where I am very active. I am also the founder of a historical romance review blog.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I never wrote any stories until THE HIGHEST STAKES published by Sourcebooks in 2010. (written as Emery Lee)
What is your writing process?
I fly by the seat of my pants.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No but I read voraciously as a child. I began with fairytales and then progressed to horse books (Black Beauty will always be a favorite). As a teen I got hooked on Agatha Christie mysteries, as well as Regency and gothic romances (Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt). As an adult I most enjoy historical fiction and historical romances, although I do read a few contemporary stories.
How do you approach cover design?
I usually have a vision for my cover and try to find the write images to match that vision. Many of my historicals are set in the Georgian. Since there are few quality stock photos that represent this era, I sought out a digital artist to bring my characters to life. All of my DeVere covers are this extremely talented artist, Polina Ipatova.
Her artwork is extensively featured on my Devil DeVere fan site.
Published 2013-09-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Slowly Unwrapped: A Very Short Christmas Story
Price: Free! Words: 1,650. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
GUARANTEED TO BRING SOME HOLIDAY CHEER! This VERY SHORT but equally sweet Christmas story featuring Wade and Nikki from SLOW HAND is offered as a FREE read by the author Victoria Vane. Spoiler alert: This story takes place the day after SLOW HAND ends so there is a bit of a spoiler. Having said that, everyone should already expect Wade and Nikki to get a happy ending!