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Friday, June 15, 2012

Guest Blog with Victoria Chatham




When Did You Begin Your Writing Career?

Pretty well from when I could first hold a crayon. However, my work was not appreciated or encouraged, so I told stories to whomever would listen. I tried writing again as a teenager, this time a series about Virginia, Girl of the Golden West. My parents read my stories and nearly choked on their laughter, which was hardly encouraging. I concentrated on being a teenager (long live rock ‘n roll), then became a wife and mother. A divorce and single parenting meant hardly any time for writing which was sidelined until I married my Canadian husband (now deceased) who all but forced me to write. After an article in the local newspaper about a writing competition, he phoned all our friends to tell them I was entering it. How could I not?  Much to my surprise I was selected to be a finalist. We had 24 hours in which to write a short story, maximum 7000 words, and I was thrilled to be in the final line up. The judges all said my short story was a novel, so I joined a writing group and developed it.

Are You An Advocate Of Writing Groups?

Without a doubt.  Family and friends just don’t get it. From the groups I belong to I’ve learnt so much and have a wonderful support system within them. As a member of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America (CaRWA) I continue to learn and appreciate my fellow writers. There is nothing better than getting together after a workshop or monthly meeting to just chat – and nobody rolls their eyes when you say you are having problems with your hero or heroine.

What Advice Would You Give New Writers?

Write, write and write more. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling and all that stuff, you can always go back and edit. Join a good writing group and choose a critique partner or beta reader carefully. Good friends or Aunty Jean who loves to read are not necessarily going to be helpful. They may simply love your writing because it’s you, or take it upon themselves to rip your story to pieces and in so doing crush your confidence. Neither is good. Go to workshops and take classes, read craft books and read as many books as you can.

What Did You Enjoy Most About Writing Always A Lady?

Being part of the Bandit Creek Books collective. We’re a group of 32 Alberta authors who have self published our books and you can check us out at www.banditcreekbooks.com.  The whole idea grew out of an afternoon discussion on self publishing, as a few in the group had already gone that route. It was the most amazing experience as once the initial idea had been thrown out by Tawny Stokes (who writes as Vivi Anna), it expanded exponentially until, by the end of the afternoon, we were so enthused we couldn’t wait to get home and start writing our stories.

With such a diverse group we cover all genres from historical to contemporary, paranormal, horror, thriller, mystery and erotica. We also have one children’s author in the group. We created the town of Bandit Creek, named all the streets, planned what buildings went where and developed characters, some of whom overlap from one story to another. There was only one proviso – the character known as JD had to be in each story. Jack is a real mystery. He may be the town drunk, a ghost, a shaman, a figment of your imagination, but he has to be there and he always has a bottle of Jack Daniels whisky with him.

How Did You Decide In Which Era To Set Your Story?

I enjoy historicals and the story almost set itself in 1907. My first influence was the costumes in the BBC TV series Upstairs, Downstairs.  I always thought they looked so elegant and wanted to dress my heroine accordingly. Plus it has always intrigued me how people travelled and to where they travelled in a time when there was no internet and cheap deals. Just imagine travelling by carriage to a train station, then on to a port and embarking on a voyage that may take weeks. And with all that luggage!

What Was The Hardest Part Of Your Story To Write?

My hero, Randolph’s part, because of the timeline. He’s missing by the time his wife, Serena, arrives in Bandit Creek. If I had started with him to keep the timeline on track it would have made it his story, and it was definitely Serena’s story. So that part was a bit tricky.

Are There Any More Books In The Works?

There is a second Serena and Randolph story in progress which will be released in September 2012. The third and last will be set in 1917 during World War 1 and will be released in March 2013.  I’m also revising my full length Regency romance and have started on a second. Details will be posted on www.facebook.com/Victoria-Chatham and http://victoriachathamauthor.wordpress.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com@VChathamAuthor.  

Would You Recommend Self Publishing For Everyone?

Not necessarily. It was my personal choice to self publish, but I’m still pursuing traditional publishing with my Regency romance. I think right now is an awesome time to be a writer as you have so many options, but it is really up to the individual to choose the right path for them.

Quick Facts About You

Favourite Season? Fall.

Dogs or cats? Dogs.

Red or White Wine? Red.

Movies or Theatre? Both.

Chocolate or Hard Candy? Oh, chocolate every time.

Thailand or Bali? Bali.



ALWAYS A LADY
By Victoria Chatham

Lady Serena Buxton follows her husband from England to Bandit Creek, Montana. Randolph is a partner in the Ellis gold mine, but when she arrives, she is horrified to find that Randolph is missing.

Sheriff Wilson seems to be keeping a watchful eye on her. Why? Douglas King, the mine manager, treats her as if she is already a widow. What does he know? The bank manager refuses her request for access to Randolph’s account. With no husband and no money, what is a girl to do?

Serena has an unsuspected and quite shocking talent. She can belly dance. With the help of two enterprising local ladies, Serena prepares for a public performance. But when the news leaks out, she finds the only venue she can secure is in the Men’s Club owned by King. Like it or not, she has no option but to ask him regardless of what terms he may insist on. Billed as Ayesha, Oriental Dancer Extraordinaire, she prepares for her show which she hopes will make enough money for her to stay in Bandit Creek until Randolph is found.

The whole town, as well as a train full of people from nearby Missoula, turns out for her performance. The Club is packed. But who is in the crowd, watching? Will King insist on exacting his fees? And will Serena be reunited with the husband she loves?

About the Author:

Victoria Chatham is a writer of Regency romance and credits her late husband for giving her a well needed push – make that kick-in-the-pants – to take her writing seriously.

It was his opinion she should write a historical novel but, having disliked history at school because she couldn’t remember dates, was an idea she firmly resisted. Her first completed novel was a contemporary romantic suspense, but she never quite felt comfortable with the book. But then a glimmer of an idea grew into a Regency romance, a genre she always felt comfortable with. Her favourite books are those of that doyen of the Regency era, Georgette Heyer, and more recently Mary Balogh, Sabrina Jeffries, Stephanie Laurens and others.

Victoria was born in Bristol, England and grew up in an area well known for its Regency style architecture. She frequently visited both Cheltenham and Bath, the latter famous for its water. She and her cousins, under the eagle eye of their grandmother, learned what many a young Regency lady may have learned. Manners, deportment, elocution and what knife and fork should be used for which course at dinner and which wine is served in which glass – and why. A writer is encouraged to ‘write what you know’ so many of these early lessons have proved extremely useful in adding small details to her writing.

Already at work on her second Regency novel, Victoria has also written a historical novella for the Bandit Creek book series, and a short story for the April Fool’s Bandit Creek Anthology, Fool’s Gold to be released on – when else – April 1st, 2012.

Apart from her writing, Victoria is an avid reader. Her love of horses gets her away from her computer to volunteer at Spruce Meadows equestrian centre and Dare2Dream, a horse-rescue ranch. Her constant buddy is her dog, Jay, who allows her to take him for a walk every day. As Jay is now 105 years old in people years, she firmly believes she is the only seeing eye person in existence.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Chatham?120985624667624

Twitter: www.twitter.com/VChathamAuthor

12 comments:

Jill Lauren Photography said...

I love your blog. I'm so inspired. Writing has always been something I want to do...but never make the time to do it. I appreciate the inspiration!

Tawny Stokes said...

Great post Vicki. You did marvelously!! :-)

Michelle Beattie said...

A natural blogger, this was a great post, I could hear your lovely British accent as I read!

I've read this story and it's fabulous, I can't recommend it enough.

Kreseda Kaine said...

Oh Vicki, you and I would get along so well - Red Wine; dogs; chocolate!! I enjoyed your guest blog. Good work!

Sheila Seabrook said...

Vicki, thanks for the wonderful interview. I loved Always A Lady and the belly dancing aspect was very intriguing!

DL said...

Great blog post, Victoria - thoughtful and well-written (no surprise! I loved Always a Lady). I'm interested in knowing how you prioritize your time between self-publishing and pursuing a traditional contract?

Suzanne Stengl said...

I am so happy to hear that Randolph and Serena will have two more stories. I loved your first book, Victoria. Thank you for a wonderful post!

Kymber said...

Woot! More coming, I can't wait - great post Victoria and an awesome story. Thanks.

Roxy Boroughs said...

A lovely post. And what a nice photo!

Louise Behiel said...

lovely interview, ladies. vicki, no one would guess this was your first time - well done. It was good to get to know you a little better and I'm happy to know there are more stories coming.

Lawna Mackie said...

You are totally an inspiration to me vicki! And you couldn't have picked a better choice (chocolate, red wine, and of course puppies ~ all my favorites).

Wenona said...

Thank you for being a guest here at TCGWAHM. Thanks for sharing.