Saturday, March 13, 2010
Victoria Bylin Interview & Book Giveaway
Hello everyone! Thanks for having me today!
Have you always wanted to write historical romance?
Oddly enough, historical romance isn’t my first love. The first book I tried to write was a contemporary romance set in California. It was a complex story with several characters and storylines. I realized early on that I didn’t have the skill to successfully tell this story, so I decided to practice on a western. Little did I know I’d eventually sell that manuscript, while the contemporary is now that proverbial book under the bed, never to see the light of day.
The last time you were here you mentioned your first manuscript, The Safest Place. Your website states you received ‘good rejections’ for that first ms and it encouraged you to keep writing. If that ms was good, why did you set it aside and start something new?
Are you happy writing category books or do you see yourself expanding into full length novels in the future? I’m very happy writing for LIH.
Having to meet the 75,000 word count has been great discipline. It forces a writer to be concise. To use one of Simon Cowell’s expressions, there’s no room to be indulgent. With 75,000 words, I need to find the exact right phrasing. A longer story would basically mean adding a POV and another subplot. Maybe someday! I’m open to anything.
Your website describes your earlier Harlequin Historicals as being about ‘saints who’ve stumbled and sinners who’ve made terrible choices.’ Isn’t that true of your Love Inspired Historicals as well?
Fascinating question! What a difference a verb tense can make. I should change the website info on the HHs to say they’re about “saints who are stumbling and sinners who are making terrible choices.” The LIHs address hard issues, but the mistakes are in the past. The HHs show those mistakes in process.
Your characters are real-life people struggling in a harsh world. Do you find it easy to create characters with such depth?
I’ve had a few characters ride into my mind fully formed, but most of the time I do a lot of tweaking and thinking. There’s no telling what’s going to happen, but I work to give my characters honest and believable emotion.
Does the Hero/heroine (H/h) at the end of your book resemble the H/h you started out with?
I’m going to answer this question by referring everyone to Michael Hauge’s website (http://www.screenplaymastery.com). Check out his stuff on character arcs. I was fortunate to attend one of his workshops a few years ago. His description of a character’s progression from identity to essence was riveting. My characters always change. They’re transformed, healed and redeemed by the last chapter.
If you’re asking if my initial conceptions of them change as I write the book, the answer is . . . yes and no. I’ve learned to hold off on the writing until the characters are set. If I start too soon, it’s just a mess. I’m better off getting them firmly in mind before I start. That’s not true of plot. I can’t plot in advance for the life of me. In that area, I’m a total pantser.
Are you still walking 2 miles a day? If you are, do you plot during your walk, listen to music or audiobooks, etc, or listen to the birds sing?
I walk when the weather allows. If it’s icy outside, forget it! I plot by talking to the dog. He’s a good listener and I don’t look too crazy. No music or audiobooks. This is time to think and pray and muddle.
How long does it take you to write a book and has it always taken that long?
It generally takes me six months to do 75,000 words. When I first started, it took a lot longer. I’ve gotten faster because I’ve learned my writing quirks, things like not starting too soon and not pushing when I hit a wall.
Are you easily distracted from your writing?
Only by the internet. I have a love / hate relationship with it.
Due to personal crises and situations, you’ve just survived 9 extremely challenging months. How did you manage to keep to your writing schedule intact? Did you make your deadlines or request an extension?
As the saying goes, you do what you’ve got to do. Between Lyme Disease (I’m fully recovered), my mom’s passing (wow, I miss her) and moving (from Virginia to Kentucky), I made some deadlines and asked for extensions on others. This was the first time in ten manuscripts I needed more time, so it wasn’t a problem. The trick is to always keep your editor informed of what’s going on so she can schedule accordingly.
Your current release is the 3rd book in Love Inspired Historical's “After the Storm: The Founding Years.” How did you like being part of a continuity? Did you have to change your writing style or habits to accommodate the other writers?
I loved working with fellow authors Valerie Hansen and Renee Ryan. They did Books #1 and #2 in the series. My book, Kansas Courtship, was the third. We communicated almost daily by email. I didn’t change my style at all. The three of us worked really well together. It was a blast! I’d love to do another continuity, but it’s hard to fit them in with other writing commitments.
Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t covered?
Many thanks for having me today! It’s always a pleasure to visit the Prairie Chicks. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Kansas Courtship. Anyone who leaves a comment today will be eligible for the drawing.
Here’s the back cover blurb . . .
Rising Storm . . .
Town founder Zeb Garrison is finally getting his wish--a qualified physician is coming to High Plains. Yet when Dr. N. Mitchell turns out to be the very pretty Nora Mitchell, Zeb is furious. The storm-torn town needs a doctor, but Zeb needs someone he can trust--not another woman who's deceived him. If Nora's going to change his mind, she'll have to work fast. All she has is a one-month trial to prove her worth . . . to High Plains and to Zeb.
If you want to know what I think about Kansas Courtship and the rest of the After the Storm: The Founding Years series, head over to my blog.
Thanks for visiting us again, Vicki.
Victoria Bylin writes for Love Inspired Historicals. Her first LIH, The Bounty Hunter’s Bride, was released in May 2008. Prior to joining LIH, Victoria wrote five westerns for Harlequin Historicals. Abbie’s Outlaw was a 2006 Rita Finalist in the Best Short Historical category. Her western romances have also finaled in the Holt Medallion, the National Readers Choice Awards and the Booksellers’ Best Awards.
You can find Victoria online at: