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Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview with Author Vanessa Kelly and Giveaway


Today I am happy to welcome to RFTC author Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa is celebrating the recent release of her book His Mistletoe Bride and has stopped by to answer a few questions. Please give Vanessa a warm welcome.

Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband under the name of V.K. Sykes.

Places to find Vanessa:

First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
The author me: I write sexy, Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra, and I also indie publish contemporary romance with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. The personal me: I have an M.A. in English Lit, and spent far too many years in a Ph.D. program studying 18th and 19th century British Literature. I loved my time in academia, but eventually had to earn a living. I found my way into the public sector, getting a job as a researcher for a large union. Trust me, writing sexy historical romances is way more fun than writing reports that very few people probably ever looked at!

Did you always want to be a writer?
I never wanted to be a fiction writer. First I wanted to be a marine biologist, then I wanted to be an English teacher. Most of my jobs involved writing of the non-fiction variety. What I did love was reading, including romance novels. I hadn’t read them for several years while I was in grad school and working. When I drifted back to romance novels, I was bitten hard by the writing bug.

What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
I’m an uber-plotter. Plot board, character biographies, motivation charts, synopsis…I do all of that before I start writing the story.

Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from reading history and biographies, but I also get ideas from TV shows and movies. My husband and critique partners are also idea factories, which is great. And sometimes ideas seem to drift to me from the ether although I’m sure it’s a case of something working through a subconscious level.

A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Regency Romance that sizzles. Emotional, character-driven stories that feature a bit of humor and adventure.

What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I love contemporary romances written by authors like Jill Shalvis and Toni Blake. As for historicals romances, I think I have pretty wide reading tastes. I love Loretta Chase, Eloisa James, and Teresa Medeiros, but I also enjoy darker books by authors like Anna Campbell and Meredith Duran. And I adore Lisa Kleypas and Deanna Raybourn—they’re both awesome.

Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
I have favorite books—I couldn’t name just one. Some of my top Keeper Books: Lord of Scoundrels, Married by Morning, A Discovery of Witches, and To Kill a Mockingbird. The academic in me also loves Moby Dick.

What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
Definitely the sex scenes. I want them to be erotic but also deeply emotional, and show real engagement between the characters. The funny thing is they’re usually the scenes I’m the happiest with when I finish the book.

If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Teresa Medeiros, Loretta Chase, and Deborah Harkness—because Teresa is one of the funniest, nicest people I’ve ever met, Loretta Chase is so damn smart and knowledgeable about the Regency period, and because Deborah Harkness wrote one of the best books I’ve ever read. I would love to discuss A Discovery of Witches and her subsequent books with her.

Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I’m working on a new Regency historical romance series for Kensington Zebra, called The Renegade Royals. The heroes in this series are the illegitimate offspring of the royal sons of George III. There are four books in the series, and two digital novellas. The first novella will be released in December 2013, with books one and two releasing in January and February of 2014. I’m really excited about this series—book one is already in the can, and I think it’s the best book I’ve written to date. And I’m also working on another VK Sykes sports romance with my hubby.


BLAME IT ON THE MISTLETOE…

When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |
1 lucky winner will win a copy of His Mistletoe Bride

To Enter:
  • Leave a meaningful comment/question for Vanessa.
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
  • International Shipping Available

Good Luck =)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

78 comments :

  1. I cna't wait for your new series. wish it would be released early than then end of next year.

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    1. I hear you, Ora! But since the first set is a novella and two books back to back, it takes the publisher some time to get the books produced and into the schedule of publication. The second trilogy of books will come along much sooner - only eight months or so after the first set. But I'm very happy that you're eager to read them!

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  2. The new series sounds great. I love your VK Sykes books, Fastball, Hardball etc. thanks for all the great books. It is so fun to have a new set of books to look forward to

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    1. Ann, I'm so glad you enjoyed the VK Sykes books. I'll pass that along to hubby - he's hard at work on another baseball book for the series.

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  3. I can't wait for your new series. it looks really good!

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    1. Thanks, Laurie! Book One is in the can, and I'm now hard at work on the novella which will kick off the series.

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  4. This book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it. I didn't know you and your husband were VK Sykes. You learn something new everyday. Can't wait for your new series next year.

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    1. Joanne, hubby and I have been writing together for several years now. We really enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I really love this book so much. I like the cover, the title, the excerpt. Actually, everything! Sadly, I haven't found this on our local bookstores. :(

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    1. Oops! See my reply below, Lory. I thought I was answering you directly.

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  6. I can't wait to read your future series "The Renegade Royals", sounds very fantastic!
    What inspired you this write them? how do go about to create your characters, I'm just curious to understand how an author does that.

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! I got this idea straight from the history books. The royal princes - the sons of George III - had a lot of illegitimate offspring, which I had read about in a number of history books. Not all the illegitimate children were ever identified, so I thought it might be fun to write my version of their stories.

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  7. Lory, bookstores have really cut back on how many books they put on the shelves. I was talking to my publisher about it a few weeks ago - Barnes & Noble only puts the entire list of new romances in about 25% of their stores, and Walmart has really cut back too. Probably the easiest way to get the book these days is by ordering it from Amazon or having B & N order the book into your local store. They'll be happy to do that.

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  8. I love historicals. If you didn't write regency period historicals which historical period would you write about.

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    1. Flip, what a great question! I think I'd like to write about the Colonial period in the U.S., or - believe it or not - ancient Rome. That was such a fascinating period of history, with so much drama and action.

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  9. Cannot wait to read "His Mistletoe Bride." It's on my Wish List. The plot sounds fabulous and makes me rubs my hands together in glee anticipating reading it.

    I really enjoy it when an author combines an Englishman and an American woman. I think the reader can always count on a few sparks flying and a lot of humor! :-)

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

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    1. Hi Connie! I think it's neat to do the Yank/Englishman thing, especially since Phoebe is a Quaker and he's a soldier. Plenty of opportunity for conflict and fun!

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  10. Sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing and for such a fun post! Definitely on the top of my want list :) I'm always looking for new twists on my HR and this definitely sounds unique.

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  11. Sounds fun. It's on my wish list. Can't wait to read it!

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  12. Many authors are now using social media. Do you find that posting on FB and Twitter cuts down on your writing time?

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    1. Unfortunately, it does, Kim. On the upside, it's a really great way to interact with my readers, and I do enjoy that.

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  13. I haven't read A Discovery of Witches but I have read School of Night and I loved it! So cool that I've read one of the books that you have :).

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    1. Alex, we've switched reading orders! I definitely have to get to the second book in the series.

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  14. It's wonderful that you get your inspiration from so many places :) A Discovery of Witches is also one of my favorite books.

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  15. I so much love this book...Beautiful cover, interesting description of the story.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  16. Hi, Vanessa! I love historical and contemporary romance stories. I have really enjoyed reading books written by you and the books written by you and your husband under the name of VK Sykes. Am looking forward to reading HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE and your new series, The Renegade Royals, as they come out.

    kscathy AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Cathy, thank you so much! I'll pass this along to hubby - he'll be thrilled!

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  17. Hi, Thanks for sharing the wonderful interview. Vanessa is a new to me author.. The book sounds like a lovely historical romance read..

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  18. I agree, Lisa Kleypas is a fantastic author. I haven't read some of your other favorites. I was wondering who some of you favorites are outside of the historical romance genre.

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    1. Jen, I used to read a lot of mysteries and really enjoyed Elizabeth George and PD James. Both wonderful writers. As for other types of romances, I love contemporaries written by Jill Shalvis and Toni Blake. I'm also reading a fantastic steampunk by Meljean Brook - Heart of Steel.

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  19. I'm currently reading this book, ordered it from TBD, the story so far so good, I like it. Vanessa is a new to me author and I think I will look for her other books.

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  20. I have tried like a thousand times to win a copy of your book Vanessa, i'm keeping my fingers crossed, hopefully this can be my chance :) I always like to ask this to author: the most emotional book you read and loved?

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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    1. Wow, Ileana, that's a tough one! I'd have to think about that one - off the top of my head I'd probably say Jane Eyre.

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  21. Since Ms Kelly writes Regency novels, I was wondering if she will write western romance? Congrats on new book.

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    1. Sue, the first romance I ever started to work on - years ago - was a western. I have to try and dig those pages out, one of these days!

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  22. Love your books Vanessa, still waiting to read His Mistletoe Bride, though, and very muck looking forward to reading the The Renegade Royals.....

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  23. Interesting variation of the forced marriage theme; can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thanks, jmcgaugh! I tried to mix it up a bit, just for fun.

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  24. I always enjoy a nice Christmas story and His Mistletoe Bride sounds like a wonderful one.

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  25. I loved the interview and I can't wait for your new series.

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  26. Thanks for the chance to win! I can't wait to read His Mistletoe Bride!!

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  27. I've been a long time fan of Vanessa Kelly's. I have HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE on my wish list.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I'm so happy you enjoy my books!

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  28. Loved the interview. The title was make me curious, so i will be looking forward to read your new series. Thank you for chance to win this and making INT too :)

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    1. Filia, I'm pretty excited about my new series. I'd better get to it - time to write!

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  29. i never read books by vanessa kelly before,,
    but i will read 'his mistletoe bride' definetely...
    thx u for the chance of win..
    i really hope i win this book...:)

    -nurma-

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  30. Your books sound really interesting and now I want to read them. I'm a new historical romance reader but, being a long-time Jane Austen student, I love the history as well as the romance.

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    1. Maria, I studied 18th and 19th British fiction by women authors in grad school, so I hear you. I love weaving Regency history into my books. And JA, of course, is the queen!

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  31. Love the cover of this book, can't wait to read this book.

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  32. Congrats on the new release! I love Christmas stories. If only I had enough time off of work to read my TBR pile!

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  33. LilMissMolly, it seems I never have enough time to read!

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  34. Congrats on the new release, Vanessa!
    I love historical romance especially the ones with Holiday theme :)

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  35. Hi Vanessa, congrats on your new release. I love the blurb of the book, it sounds a great story. I'd love to read it. And the cover is gorgeous! Love the outfit she wore. Is it you who chose the model and the outfit?

    Thank u for this giveaway :)

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    1. Amel, thank you! I have very little to do with the cover - that comes from my publisher's art department. Fortunately, they have wonderful artists on hand!

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  36. This looks like a wonderful book...a must read! Thanks for sharing...just in time for the holidays!

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  37. Congrats on the book release! I am eager to read your holiday story. Thanks so much for the great post.

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  38. It looks like a fun story. I can't believe it is the holiday season already.

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    1. It does creep up on you, Maureen, doesn't it?

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  39. great interview vanessa,,nice to know you..but poor for me,,i haven't read any your book,,but dont worry,,cant wait to read thsi book..

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  40. Congrats on the new release, Vanessa!
    Love the cover.
    Can't wait to read this one

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    1. Thanks, Lilian! Kensington does give me awesome covers.

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  41. This sounds like the perfect December read, I don't know what it is about December, but I always want to read historical romances during this time of year.

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