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    Interview with Victoria Dahl
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  • Published: Aug 6th, 2008

Help me welcome today’s guest author Victoria Dahl. Victoria’s new book- A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure has just been released and we’re going to be giving away a copy of the book to a random poster!

dahl_guidereview.jpgRNTV: Hi Victoria and welcome back to RNTV – we’re so glad you could visit with us today. Congratulations on your new book A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure, which released yesterday. I hope you took part of the day to celebrate. We know you’ve just gotten back from San Francisco and the RWA Conference. Did you have a good time?

Victoria: The RWA conference was spectacular as usual! And exhausting. My voice isn’t quite back to normal. I met sooo many new people, and the Harlequin party was everything I heard it would be. *g* The food in San Francisco was amazing… even the hotel buffet food was great!

RNTV: Your first two books, To Tempt a Scotsman and A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure are historicals. Your next book, due to release in January, Talk me Down, is a contemporary. From historicals to contemporaries; you know I have a few questions about that.
a. Was it hard for you to switch between the two?

Victoria: I actually really enjoy switching back and forth. It’s kind of a relief to start on a new historical when I finish up months of working on a contemporary! This is probably because I have a bit of an attention problem.

RNTV: Can you tap into your own life when you write in a contemporary voice?

Victoria: Absolutely! The humor in my contemporaries is exactly the kind of interaction I have with my friends in real life. I had some stickers printed up for conference that said things like “If you think my heroine uses bad language, you should meet me!” It’s so true. The people I write about in the contemporaries are all men and women I’d love to hang out with, and these are exactly the conversations I’d like to have with them.

RNTV: How different is the research for the two sub-genres?

Victoria: You know, there is more research for the historicals, but I find myself being much more specific in the contemporaries. For example, most readers wouldn’t know what a certain style of 1840’s carriage was, even if I named it. But in the contemporaries, I can’t mention the hero getting into his car without at least giving a hint of what kind it is, if that makes sense.

This was fine until I wrote the second contemporary. The hero is an architect and the heroine is a mechanic. I know nothing about either of these things. My first draft looked a lot like this. “Lori leaned into the wrench, putting all her weight into tightening the ?ENGINE BOLT?.”

For my historicals, you’ll see the same types of notes in my manuscript, but it seems like less work. Maybe because I usually know where to find the good information.

RNTV: Ok, I need to ask you about your latest heroine. In A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure, Emma Jensen is smart and a perfect foil for your amazing hero Somerhart – or as those of us in the know like to call him Hart. Emma devises a way to overcome her dire circumstances by using the gambling lessons her father taught her. I know Emma lives in the mid 1800’s in England, but, If Emma found herself in Las Vegas, circa 2008, what would be her favorite game of chance and why?

Victoria: Definitely poker! She likes to rely less on luck and more on her own skill and intelligence. I really wished I could have let her play poker in 1845, but it just wasn’t possible. Instead, I gave Emma a game called “brag.” It was the grandfather of poker and had been around for quite a while, though it was no longer the most popular game in the nineteenth century. But with Emma’s skill with cards and her amazing ability to lie and bluff, this was the game for her.

RNTV: Let’s switch places. Not you and me – but you and Emma. If you woke up one morning in say, 1849 in England, would you find yourself ‘above the stairs’ or ‘below the stairs’ and why? Who would you most like to meet? And… what would you most want to see?

Victoria: Well, this question ruins all my fantasies, because I’m sure I’d be below stairs. I don’t have an aristocratic bone in my body. Lots of Norwegian fisherman bones though. As far as who I’d like to meet and what I’d like to see… I find myself most fascinated by the idea of people’s everyday lives in the past. So I’d like to meet as many people as possible, in all different classes and just watch them each go through their lives for a day or two. We already know about historical figures. I want to know about the unknown lives.

RNTV: Writer question coming next… What is the first thing you do when you sit down to a blank page? Second? Does a blank page scare the bejessus out of you; OR are you exhilarated by it?

Victoria: Hmm. I’m not sure I’m scared OR exhilarated! I kind of just let it percolate until I’m in the mood and then I get down to business. *g* I start at page one and write straight through to the end of the book. In the past, I’ve tried skipping over parts that trip me up, then going back to fill them in later. But I found that once I went back, the problem section just wasn’t important and I would normally just transition to the next scene. I learned my lesson. If I’m so stuck that I need to skip it, it probably shouldn’t be in the book.

RNTV: For you, as both an author and a reader – what are the essential elements a good book has to have?

Victoria: It has to be FUN! I don’t mean light-hearted. I mean entertaining, whether that manifests as humor or wit or melodrama or terror. I need it to move me. I want to be grinning while I read or holding my hand over my open mouth. I find the books I put down these days aren’t necessarily bad, they just don’t engage me. All I ask is that an author make me feel something. And I hope I’m returning the favor for my readers!

RNTV: Thanks so much for visiting with us today- it’s always a pleasure to have you here. Now, I’m going to open the floor up to questions from our readers.

25 Responses to “Interview with Victoria Dahl”

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  1. PJ
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 5:42 am

    Hi Victoria! (waving)

    Great to have you with us again. Congrats on the release of A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE! It hasn’t shown up in my store yet (typical) but I hope to find it soon. Are you doing anything special to celebrate this release?

    ~PJ


  2. Buffie
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:21 am

    Hey Victoria! It is great to have you here again!

    You know how much I really enjoyed TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN :) , so I can’t wait to get my hands on this new one. Hopefully my store will have it tomorrow when I do my normal shopping.

    Since you attended the RWA conference, I have a couple questions for you about it. What was the best part of the conference for you? And, did you have a fan girl moment when meeting a particular author?


  3. Buffie
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:21 am

    Oops, I totally forgot to say that I really like that cover. It’s gorgeous!


  4. AndreaW
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:26 am

    Hi, Victoria, and welcome back to RNTV!! I bought, read and loved TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN after you were a Guest Author here last year and I will be going out today to look for A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE. Soooo looking forward to Hart’s story. Congrats on your new release!!

    So, I read in your newsletter that you will have FIVE releases next year. Mega congrats! Can you tell us a bit about what they are? And when we might see them all on the shelves?


  5. MaryKate
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:43 am

    Good morning, Victoria! What a great interview! Congrats on the new release. As Buffie said, I love the cover of the book! Did you get to have any say-so in its design?


  6. Gannon
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 7:26 am

    Good morning, Victoria! Loved the interview, and I’m so looking forward to reading A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE. I’m hoping to find it this week. Living in a small town, I can never predict which books will hit the stores first. I agree with everyone else, I love that cover!


  7. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 9:05 am

    Hey Victoria – now that I’ve read your interview – I’m really looking forward to your contemporary release – you’ve got a wonderful sense of humor.

    Hmmm…. downstairs you say. Well, I don’t know where I’d end up, but I most definitely would want to be upstairs. I mean, cleaning up after the snobs in the upper floors with no vacuum cleaner, windex, flushable toilets…nahhh, I don’t think so.

    The other day I was in a store trying on a pair of pants. The store was a mad house because they were having a 75% off SALE. You know, all you have to do is put the letters S-A-L-E in a window and people will flock. There’s a point here, bear with me. So, there was a line for the dressing room, and because it was such a deep discount, there really wasn’t any one to help, there were just store employees making sure no one ‘lifted anything’ off the rack. A young woman who was working in the store, making sure everything stayed in it’s place was outside one of the curtained dressing rooms, and a woman pokes her head out and says, “Do you have this in a size 6″. Well it was obvious that there WAS NO STORE HELP. It was a first come, first grab situation. The store employee told the woman she’d have to check it out for herself. A minute passes, and the woman sticks her hand out of the current with a garment attached… saying to the store employee…”Here, I’m done with that”. She did this several times… Now this is a woman who would live upstairs… and that’s exactly why downstairs wouldn’t work for me. I would have to bitch slap people.


  8. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 9:06 am

    Wow, you ladies are early risers!!! I roll out of bed at crack of eight! *g*

    PJ, I hope you find it! My local BNs seems to all have it in stock, but I think things might have been a little crazy this week with both Breaking Dawn and Acheron coming out. Let me know!

    Hi Buffie! My best part of conference is always just sitting in the bar, laughing with friends. I had less of those moments this year, because my best friend/critique partner, Jennifer Echols, didn’t come. *sigh* I did have a very wonderful moment when I realized I was on the concierge floor and there was free food in the lounge. LOL But serioiusly, I had an amazing time meeting all the Harlequin editors this year. My first contemporary will come out with HQN in January, and this was my first chance to meet the people I’d been working with. (More on HQN later…)

    I always have a serious fangirl moment when I see Connie Brockway. I’ve met her four times now, and each time I’m always amazed that she remembers me. Hopefully it’s not something like, ‘Oh, great. Here’s that scary girl who always mentions me in her acknowledgments.”


  9. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 9:18 am

    Andrea, thank you! I hope you like this one too!

    Yep, I’ve got a BUSY year in 2009. I try not to think to much about it. *g* I’ll run through the releases:

    JANUARY – My first contemporary, TALK ME DOWN! I love the tagline. “What happens when the girl next door isn’t so innocent?”

    FEBRUARY – “Lessons in Pleasure,” a Victorian novella in the LORDS OF DESIRE anthology

    JULY – My second contemporary, START ME UP

    AUGUST – The historical excerpted at the back of A Rake’s Guide. No title yet. Right now it’s known as “Lancaster’s Story.”

    SEPTEMBER – A novella in a vampire Highlander anthology. Again, no name yet!


  10. Buffie
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 9:43 am

    Wow, Victoria, your lineup for next year sounds fabulous!!! Especially the anthologies. I just love those!


  11. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 9:49 am

    Hi MaryKate! Thanks for the compliment! No, I have no say in the cover or title, but luckily my publisher seems to know what they’re doing. Let me tell you, I was pretty shocked the first time I saw the red cover. It just shows up at your door one day, you know. I opened it up (very scared) and said, “Omg, there are two naked people on the cover!” I still can’t believe Wal-Mart carried it.

    Hey, Gannon!!! I hope you’re doing well. And I hope you find the book! *g*

    Maria, I didn’t say I’d ENJOY being belowstairs!!! Heck, I can’t even manage to clean my house with modern appliances and cleaners! But the truth is the truth. I’m not classy. And I’d never behave like that woman in the fitting room! So maybe unclassy is the way to be. ;-)


  12. PJ
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 10:17 am

    Victoria, not only did my Walmart carry TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN, they had to re-stock it three times! Romance readers in my corner of South Carolina lurve our red covers and naked people. :)

    Btw, Walmart is the only book source in my small town and they only stock the books once a week. That’s why I’m still waiting for Hart’s book to show up. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll be on the shelves by tomorrow.

    ~PJ


  13. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 10:27 am

    PJ, you need to join Amazon Prime!!! I broke down and paid the $79 a couple of years ago and now I couldn’t live without it. (I live in a small town too.) I get two-day delivery for free, $3.99 for overnight. I’d rather spend money at my local bookstore if I could, but they are not romance-friendly. PLUS, you can deliver to other people at no charge (not just to your address), which is great around Christmas time!!!

    Okay, sorry. Commercial over. *g*


  14. AndreaW
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 11:02 am

    w00t!!!!! :D I found A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE at my local B&N today!! I’m gonna dive into it as soon as I’m done with Teresa Medeiros’s latest.

    Thanks so much for the run-down on your 2009 releases, Victoria. I am definitely looking forward to TALK ME DOWN! Now I’m off to add to and update my 2009 TBB list.


  15. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 11:18 am

    Btw, if you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll send out an update with each release. And I won’t send out anything else, so don’t worry about too many things in your inbox! I’m too lazy. ;-D (Just go to my website and click on Newsletter.)


  16. cyclops8
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 12:52 pm

    Hi Victoria,

    Congrats on the release of “A Rake’s Guide To Pleasure.” Is that novella in the vampire Highlander anthology your first paranormal story? Do you have plans to write a full length paranormal?


  17. Fedora
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 1:42 pm

    Hi, Victoria!! Boy, you’re not kidding about a busy 2009! But how exciting for us!! And really? Norwegian fishermen? I’ve a dear friend with some of that in her history, too! Lefsa? (sp?)

    Are you doing anything special to celebrate today?


  18. Gannon
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 4:41 pm

    Wow! Victoria you have a super busy 2009 coming up! Which means I’ll have that many more books to buy.

    Thanks for spending some time with us today. :)


  19. jo robertson
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:47 pm

    Hi, Victoria, waving madly to you from Romance Bandits. I’m so excited that your second historical is out and, as we speak, is wending its way from Amazon to MOI!!! Whoooottt!!! As you know from your previous visit to the Lair, I love your writing, especially your historicals. We Banditas would love to have you return for a visit.

    I’d loved to have bumped into you at Nationals last week, but alas, so much to do and see in SF . . . and the parties . . . Yay!!! But wasn’t it a terrific conference?

    If you were a below stairs character, I’d bet money there’d be lots of shenanigans going on down there. Maybe you’d have to have a Scotsman or two take you in hand.


  20. katiebabs
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 6:52 pm

    It was great to see you in RWA! And the food, especially during the luncheons were excellent. Congrats on everything!
    And I truly do love your covers. They are so sexy. :D


  21. orannia
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 7:27 pm

    HI Victoria *waves*

    I’m not sure when A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure will reach NZ but I’ll definitely keeping an eye out for it (not a problem with such a lovely cover :) And what an amazing line-up for 2009 – WOW!

    orannia


  22. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 8:07 pm

    Mmm, Fedora. Delicious, delicious lefse! :-D

    Hi Cyclops. (and I feel bad calling you that.) Funny you should ask about the paranormals. I’ve actually written three paranormals, all contemporary, none of which have been picked up for publishing. Hopefully someday. My editor called about the anthology and said, “Have you ever thought about writing a medieval?” Errr…. not… really. “Okay,” he said. “What about a Highlander vampire paranormal?” What? A vampire in a kilt? Oh, all right, twist my arm already.


  23. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 8:12 pm

    Helloooo, Joooo! I’ll be hanging out with the Banditas later this month. Did you think I’d forget about you? Nevah.

    If you were a below stairs character, I’d bet money there’d be lots of shenanigans going on down there. Maybe you’d have to have a Scotsman or two take you in hand.
    Omg, you have no idea what a thrill this sent through me. I’m still laughing. A Scotsman or two. *snort* hehehe I’d imagine I’d find my way down the stables pretty often if there was a bossy Scottish stable master running the place.

    Sorry I missed you too! Maybe next year. The Banditas should have a party.


  24. Victoria Dahl
    on Aug 6th, 2008
    @ 8:13 pm

    Kate, it was so good to see you! More time in Washington though, right?

    Hi Orannia. Let me know when you find it. I love your name, btw!!!


  25. Pam
    on Aug 7th, 2008
    @ 3:34 am

    Hi Victoria, you’ve got a great year coming up, great interview. I’m definitely looki ng forward to this one.