Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meeting Victoria Alexander

One of the highlights of my week at RT was meeting #1 NYTimes Bestseller Victoria Alexander.

I've mentioned on this blog before how my reading habits have changed since I became a writer. Most often, I'm not reading for pleasure. I'm studying how the other writer handles the elements of the craft. However, there are a few authors who suck me into their fictive dream so completely, I forget I'm a writer too and just wallow in the glory of their books.

Victoria Alexander is one of that very small group of authors.

Along with engaging characters and singing prose, Victoria always inserts a sly little private joke into her books. You know how Hitchcock always gave himself a cameo in his films, how there's always a hidden pineapple on Psyche, how Clive Cussler appears by name as a disseminator of essential information in all his Dirk Pitt books . . . well Victoria has a running schtick in her stories as well. There is always a widow in her books whose dead husband was named Charles.

What's Victoria's real husband's name? You guessed it! Charles. (One hopes he takes it in the spirit with which it's meant?!?)

Anyway, you can imagine how excited I was to meet her. I freely confess I had a fangirl melt down-- babbling, gushing, words mangled before they left my mouth. I'm sure she must have thought I had a syndrome of some sort. But she graciously went to lunch (and picked up the tab!) with me and my roommate, the talented and charming Bobbi Smith.

It was fascinating to talk shop with her. Victoria is so personable and down-to-earth. She's recently moved from Avon to Kensington (my new publisher! I was thrilled by that news!) and she's also experiementing with plotting. Like me, she's usually a linear "pantser," but recently she'd attended a weekend workshop and plotted out her next book. She decided she liked knowing what was coming.

And it just goes to show that if a #1 NYTimes Bestseller is still learning, still experimenting with the writer's craft, it's a lifelong process for all of us.

I have Victoria's latest release, DESIRES OF A PERFECT LADY , in my hot little hands, but I'm resisting the temptation to start it yet. I'm saving it for our cruise in a couple weeks so I can savor it as it deserves to be savored. I encourage you to run out and pick it up today. You will thank me later.

If you had to list your top 5 authors, who would make the cut?


Kim in Baltimore said...

Thanks for the tidbit from RT - please share more about the conference!

I met Victoria three years ago at the WRW Retreat. I was star struck at meeting her. We enjoyed a few drinks and talked about the Charles syndrome (he accompanied her to RT last year in Orlando but did not make any public appearances. If he had, I would have asked for his autograph).

To Five Authors because they deliver:
Emily Bryan
Victoria Alexander
Cathy Maxwell
Mary Jo Putney
Cara Elliott/Andrea Pickens

Gillian Layne said...

I don't really have a top 5, because I'm a Libra and constantly adding new authors that I love and learn from, but my all-time favorite historical romance writer? Mary Balogh.

My favorite mystery writer? Laurie R King. Her sherlock and russell books feel like romance to me. :)

I think it's great you got to spend time with her, and you enjoyed yourself so much.

Deb said...

I really enjoy Victoria's books!

I like several authors, but am finding more to add to my TBB/TBR pile. I really like Julia Quinn's older books, but not so much her last 2 or 3. I think our moods and tastes change for what different authors deliver.

I couldn't really name a top 5, but know my faves are JQ, Victoria Alexander, Emily Bryan, and some newer authors (to me) like Kate Noble and Mary Jo Putney.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am SO glad you had the chance to meet Victoria Alexander. She is on the top of my list as well. In fact, I have one special place for all of her books (of which I am pretty close to a complete set). She inspires me all of the time and I love how she brings in some kind of modern situation and takes it back to the era she writes in such as the air balloon and the car.

Even with all of her fame, she still gives her fans and friends time and a great hug. :)

EmilyBryan said...

Hello Kim in Hawaii--(Trying to rub my nose in it, aren't you? I go to Hana in my mind at least once a day!) Thanks for listing me with those super stars. I really wasn't angling for that, but I'll take it! ;-)

EmilyBryan said...

Gillian--It is a delight to learn someone whose writing I've admired is also a genuinely nice person.

EmilyBryan said...

Deb--I've not read Kate Noble. Now I'll have to look for her.

EmilyBryan said...

Paisley--Guess I'll have to reveal my top 5 too. In no particular order, they are:
Victoria Alexander
Sherry Thomas
Shana Abe
Madeline Hunter
Eloisa James

On the outskirts of romance, I'd have to add MM Kaye, Wilbur Smith and Mary Stuart as well.

I enjoy many others, but these are really special to me because I can't help but read them solely for pleasure. Their stories are too compelling for me to keep a clinical, scholarly distance.

Deb said...

Emily, I didn't word it right about Kate Noble. I haven't read her books, but have 1 in my TBR pile. She's a new author to me. Oops, sorry.

Sandy said...

My top five authors are Carla Cassidy, Christie Craig, Diana Groe (I'm so hooked on Eringsong and thought I was going to read it all the way through, but got hit with edits), Lisa Scottline, and Julie Garwood.

Victoria said...

Thank you so much for the kind words but believe me—the pleasure was mutual!!! I'm only sorry I missed Emily's venture out of the hotel for a pedicure. I love pedicures. I can't believe I waited so long to indulge—just discovered them a few years ago.

So glad to be home now and back to work, even though it's going to take me a few days to recover and catch up.

As for Chuck (dead Charles) he has a wonderful sense of humor but does say if anything happens to him, I'm the first suspect. I think it keeps him on his toes!

Chelsea B. said...

Ohh! That is such a hard question! But I guess they would have to be:
Gena Showalter.
Kerrelyn Sparks.
Cindy Miles
Jennifer Ashley.
Kresley Cole.

EmilyBryan said...

Sandy--I'm so glad you're enjoying my Erinsong (under the Diana Groe name). I love that Irish love story and I'm always tickled when someone else does too!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for dropping by, Victoria! Give Charles a hug from all of us and tell him we've got his back.

EmilyBryan said...

Chelsea--I'm seeing a paranormal pattern in your favorites. What about them appeals to you most?

Tessa McDermid said...

Oh, I love Victoria Alexander! We've met a few times at a conference in NYC and being around her is included in the highlights of my trips.

I cannot come up with a top 5! As I read the names others listed, I saw so many authors that I've read and loved over the years. Like you, Emily, I can't just read many books anymore. I always want to dissect, figure out what makes their stories work and keep me moving ahead in the plot.

Thanks for the info about RT!

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Tessa! I think the "studying writer" syndrome is why I cherish my favorites so much. I can simply let their stories wash over me and bask in the joy of a tale well told!

Glynis Peters said...

Thank you for sharing Victoria with me.
I love having a book waiting to read on holiday. It calls from the suitcase, but I zip it up until the moment of ...bliss.

librarypat said...

That is a hard question. I have so many I haven't yet read.
1. Julie Garwood
2. Kat Martin
3. liz Gardner

Will have to think on this one for a while, it is way too late and there are way too many authors that I like. I need to get off the computer and get some sleep.

EmilyBryan said...

Glynis--A vacation book is a guilty pleasure to rival chocolate no one knows you're eating!

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--My daughter just discovered a new favorite. I brought her a couple Kelly Armstrong books home from RT. She's devoured them already and ran out to Borders yesterday to buy the third. It's such a delight when you find a new author and a double delight to learn they're prolific.

Donna Hatch said...

Oh that's funny. I didn't know about the dead husband thing.

EmilyBryan said...

Donna--It's like any other pattern. You have a read a couple of her books before you catch it and then you're in on the joke!