|Victoria Cornwall - Author|
Hello Victoria – I’m so thrilled to have you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat today. I can recall so clearly the occasion we first met. Having been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association – New Writers’ Scheme – Joan Hessayon Award, we had gathered at The Royal Over-Seas League building in London with fellow NWS members. We were there to celebrate the release of our romance books into the big wide world of publishing. What a fun evening it was, and what wonderful writing adventures we’ve had since then.
But before we learn about your latest release, Daniel’s Daughter, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: How did you manage to get your first historical novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Victoria: My first historical novel was self-published. It was not the route I wanted to take, but at the time I was finding it difficult to secure an agent. I initially self-published two books (one of which was short-listed for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction).
I decided to submit my third novel directly to a traditional independent publisher and was finally successful. They asked to look at my previous self-published novels, loved them and went on to publish those too. This year they are publishing my sixth historical novel so I’m glad I did not give up after those initial rejection letters from agents. Receiving those rejection letters almost crushed my motivation to keep submitting. Since then I have learnt my experience is not uncommon. The path to publication is often littered with rejections and it is the same journey that the majority of writers have had to walk.
Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A stroll in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Victoria: I love a good ramble through the woods, but my favourite walk is along the coast. I have walked a third of the coastal path surrounding Cornwall and intend to complete it over the next few years. The scenery is stunning, the terrain varied and each new phase has a tale to tell, whether it’s Cornwall’s smuggling past, mining, the growth in tourism or the decline of the quaint fishing villages. However my walking shoes will stay firmly on my feet as the sea is a bit too cold for me!
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest historical release, Daniel’s Daughter?
Victoria: Daniel’s Daughter is a stand-alone novel, however the heroine is the daughter of the hero in one of my previous novels, The Captain’s Daughter. Although I have written several books between the two, I always wondered if baby Grace would ever discover the horrifying family secret. In Daniel’s Daughter Grace has become an adult and does exactly that! The revelation shocks her to the core and it is how she reacts to the discovery that initiates the main plot of the story. So in a way, Daniel’s Daughter came about as I wanted to find out what Grace would be like as an adult. However is should point out that you can read Daniel’s Daughter without having read The Captain’s Daughter.
Arabella: Who is your preferred romance author, and what draws you to their books and genre?
Victoria: In the past I have made no secret that I enjoy Winston Graham’s Poldark series, however, I do enjoy a Gloria Cook romance too. I like her style of writing and her books keep me turning the pages.
Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Victoria: I need to be alone, with no interruptions. I usually have a mug of coffee by my side and my notes scattered all around me. I have written many of my books sitting on a bed, with lots of comfy pillows behind me. The most essential thing I need is time, I am not one of those writers who can snatch snippets of time and write. I need several hours, as I need to remind myself where I am in the plot and get my mind tuned into the era in order for my creativity to start flowing. Sometimes I write pages, other times only a paragraph emerges, so I never set myself a word goal. It is quality that counts, not quantity.
Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Victoria: I would contact Morton S.Gray. We met through the Romantic Novelists Association and are in regular contact about all things to do with writing. I find talking things through (or having a rant) can often throw up the solution and it’s great to have someone who replies to my frantic message so quickly. However, as I am a plotter, I don’t envisage ever finding myself about to kill off the hero, but plot holes are a very real possibility that I have to watch for as my stories do have certain twists and revelations.
Arabella: Your next historical WIP (work in progress) is on schedule, and it’s time to take a break and relax. Which film, T.V. drama, book, or theatre performance would you choose to watch or read (again J) ?
1) Persuasion - Austen
2) Macbeth - Shakespeare
3) A Christmas Carol – Dickens
Victoria: Other: I would happily watch the 1995 series of Pride & Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It is one of the best historical adaptations, as large amounts of the dialogue are taken directly from the book, the costumes are accurate and exquisite, and the acting brilliant. I loved it and have watched it many times over the years. I think if a classic novel is adapted to screen, it should stay close to the original book, because it is the book the fans love. I just don’t understand why many modern adaptations have to add things, remove things or add new characters to spice things up. It disappoints loyal book fans as the books have become classics for the simple reason that they are brilliant in their own right. Should my books ever be adapted into film, I would want them close to the original novel.
|Pride and Prejudice|
Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” historical authors starting out on their writing journey?
Victoria: Don’t lose the reader’s interest, because once you have lost them, it is hard to get them back. I try to do this in the following ways:-
Ensure the main characters are worthy of the reader’s time. Is there a reason for the reader to care about them? Like them? Respect them? Empathise with them?
Ensure each chapter has a purpose and end the chapter with a thought, a hook or perhaps even place a question in the reader’s mind so they want to turn the page to find out what happens next.
Ensure there is some sort of closure, so at the end of the book the reader feels a sense of satisfaction. This is why my Cornish Tales series are stand-alone tales with a beginning, middle and an end, despite them all being linked by family. A romance reader deserves a satisfying end as they have spent hours of their precious time reading in order for the heroine and hero to reach their goal.
Don’t reveal everything at once. A reader wants to feel that they are discovering new things along the way, whether it’s about the characters, about the setting, about the ultimate goal or the historical period.
Keep the reader on their toes to keep their interest by adding a plot twist, or a sudden change of direction (which must make sense). A reader wants a satisfying end, but the journey there should be anything but laborious. The journey should evoke a range of emotions and provide varying levels of tension, just like the roller coast ride of falling in love.
Victoria, thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself and your writing experiences with your readers.
I love the point you made about never setting word goals, and that it is quality that counts, and not quantity.
And as for your writing tips…I think I’ll pinch them. J
Best wishes for your latest release - Daniel’s Daughter
About Victoria Cornwall
|Victoria Cornwall - Author|
Victoria Cornwall grew up on a farm in Cornwall. She can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels. Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her the time to write.
Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and twice nominated for the RONÉ “Best Indie or Small Published book” Award. In 2017, her debut novel, The Thief’s Daughter, was published by award winning independent publisher, Choc Lit, and was a finalist for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.
Victoria is married and has two grown up children. She likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.
Website and Social Media Links:
Book Blurb: Daniel’s Daughter
Sometimes the truth is not easy to say and even harder to hear …
Grace Kellow is a young woman with a strong sense of who she is and where she comes from. As the daughter of a well-respected Cornish dairy owner Daniel Kellow, her existence in the village of Trehale is comfortable and peaceful.
But then handsome Talek Danning comes striding over Hel Tor, and soon after his arrival Grace is hit with a revelation that leaves her questioning her identity and her place in the Trehale community.
In her hour of need, Talek and his sister Amelia offer Grace sanctuary – but wherever Grace runs, her secret will follow …
Tuesday, 24th March, 2020