Jen: This week we welcome Vanessa Kelly to Romancing the Book. Vanessa. will you please share a short bio with us?
Vanessa: I was born and raised in New Jersey, but eventually migrated north to Canada. I hold a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University, and I attended the Ph.D. program in English Literature at the University of Toronto. I didn’t finish my degree, but I had a great time studying the works of 18th century British authors and writing about the madness of King George III. When I left grad school I worked for several years as a researcher and writer for a large public sector organization. I now write historical romance as Vanessa Kelly and contemporary romance with my husband under the name of V.K. Sykes.
Jen: Tell us about Sex and the Single Earl and where it’s available.
Vanessa: This is my second Regency-set historical novel, and it’s a follow-up to my first book, Mastering the Marquess. My hero and heroine, Sophie and Simon, were introduced in my first book. It can, however, be read as a stand-alone. It’s a fun, sexy Regency with a dash of danger and suspense to liven things up. It takes place entirely in the resort town of Bath, which made it a very interesting book to write. As for the plot, it’s a marriage of convenience story, with a few little twists thrown in.
You can find my book in all major bookstores and on-line at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc… It’s available in e-book, too.
To read an excerpt from Sex and the Single Earl, visit http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/excerpt_sse2.html.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Vanessa: I’ve been writing my whole life, either as a student or as a researcher in the public sector. But I didn’t start writing fiction until four years ago, when I decided to try my hand at writing historical romance. I’ve loved the genre for years, and I studied the literature and history of the Regency period in grad school. It seemed like the perfect fit.
My call story is not very dramatic, except for the fact that my agent left a message on my voicemail that she had “important news.” And then she went out for several hours! As you can imagine, I was climbing the walls until I got through to her. She then told me the great news that Kensington wanted to buy my book for their debut program. Mastering the Marquess came out last year.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Vanessa: They love it, and keep asking me when I’m going to be on the New York Times bestseller list. I also write with my husband, so that makes it a real family affair.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Vanessa: Sexy, fun, witty? At least I hope so!
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Vanessa: Not really. I do tend to write in the afternoons rather than the morning. I’m not a morning person. Mostly I schedule myself on a week to week basis, depending on what I have to accomplish.
Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Vanessa: I adore the delicious build-up of passion and love between the hero and heroine, and the way they must fight to overcome the challenges that keep them apart. They must usually work together to overcome those challenges which, of course, binds them together. And I love the fact that romance is so positive and life-affirming, even if the couple has to fight really hard to reach their HEA.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Vanessa: Haunting is the right word! I can’t tell you how many times they’ve keep me up at nights, which makes me very unhappy the next morning.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Vanessa: I’d love to try my hand at historical fiction. And I would likely never try to write a paranormal or a sci-fi romance. I love both genres, but my world-building skills seem to tend toward the historical rather than the paranormal.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Vanessa: Writers, mostly. The first inspirations were Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Eloisa James is a real role model for me, too. She’s both an academic and a romance author, and she taught me that we can write genre fiction, non-fiction, academic work, and be proud of all of it.
Jen: If Sex and the Single Earl was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Vanessa: Christian Bale would play Simon, and a young Kate Winslet would play Sophie.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Vanessa: Several readers have told me that my books remind them of Georgette Heyer novels, but with sex. That’s the best thing anyone has ever said to me about my writing.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Vanessa: In historical romance, Anna Campbell, Meredith, Duran, Eloisa James, Loretta Chase, Joanna Bourne, and Lisa Kleypas. In contemporaries, Lori Foster, Jennifer Crusie, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And I adore Karen Rose’s romantic suspense novels. I also love Linnea Sinclair, who writes superb Sci-fi romance. I think my favorite romance of all time is Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, closely followed by Joanna Bourne’s My Lord and Spymaster. My favorite literary fiction book is probably Sense and Sensibility. Right now I’m reading Lori Foster’s Simon Says. It’s a great read – sexy and fun. She really nails her male characters.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Vanessa: I just turned in my manuscript for my third book, which will be out sometime in 2011. It follows up on Sex and the Single Earl, and characters from that book and my previous book, Mastering the Marquess, will be in it. I’m also finishing up a Regency novella for Kensington, and my husband and I have a contemporary romance coming out in June from Carina Press. It’s called CADDYGIRLS.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Vanessa: My website is: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com I’m also on Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter, and you can link to me from my website
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Vanessa: What’s your favorite sub-genre of romance? Do readers still love historical romance, or do you prefer subgenres like paranormal and romantic suspense?
Jen: Readers, Vanessa is giving away a copy of Sex and the Single Earl to one lucky reader. There is no restriction on location, although the book is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 18. To enter the contest, you first need to leave a question or comment for Vanessa. Then to finish your entry, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 23.