I am delighted to welcome the author
Hi Victoria and a very warm welcome to Jaffareadstoo. Thank you for spending time with us today and for taking the time to answer our questions.
Where did you get your inspiration for The Thief's Daughter – were you inspired by people, landscape or did you draw purely from your imagination?
Thank you for having me on your blog. I think The Thief’s Daughter was the result of several things which came together in a perfect storm. I have always wanted to write an 18th century romance, with a hero who wore a tricorn hat, as I have been a massive Poldark fan ever since the original TV series was aired in the mid ‘70s. I was thrilled when I eventually met the original Ross Poldark, Robin Ellis, and he wished me well for The Thief’s Daughter.
Cornwall’s smuggling history was another source of inspiration for me. My husband and I walked some of the coastal path one summer and came across Pepper Cove, a rocky inlet which was once used for smuggling spices into the county. The cove brought Cornwall’s smuggling past to life for me and motivated me to incorporate the cove and the smuggling trade into the plot.
There is a town in Cornwall called Bodmin. Bodmin used to have a debtor’s prison (it now has a pub on the site) and this historic building was the third element that inspired the plot of The Thief’s Daughter. The heroine’s brother, Silas, has been imprisoned in a debtor’s prison and will only be freed when his debts are paid. Unfortunately, the inmates of a debtor’s prison do not have the opportunity to raise the money themselves and they have to rely on family or friends on the outside to pay their creditors. Jenna, his sister, is his only hope and somehow she must find a way to raise the money.
|Bodmin Debtor's Prison|
Are you a plotter...or ...a start writing and see where it takes you, sort of writer?
I am definitely a plotter. It keeps me on track and helps me to pick up the story-line again if I take a break. Plotting also helps me to ensure that each chapter has a purpose and moves the story on, although I still remain flexible. The details of the plot may change, particularly if I wake up in the night and think of a plot twist, however the bones of the plot remain the same. I think I will get a bit lost if I didn’t plot.
Whilst you are writing you must live with your characters. How did you feel about them when the book was finished? Did they turn out as expected?
I really liked Jenna. She is feisty, loyal and caring. However, despite her best intentions, she struggles to decide where her allegiances lie. Is it with her brother, Silas, who saved her life and has always protected her, or Jack Penhale, a man she barely knows? Many things happen and she begins to wonder just who she can trust.
I came to admire and respect Jack. He is a man on a mission. He is focused and driven, although his plans are turned upside down when Jenna enters his life. I love the way he reacts to the issues that arise. I liked his sense of humour too, which he rarely shows. However, there is one character that brings it out in him and I found the serious minded man very endearing when he showed this side of himself.
I also loved writing the character of Silas, Jenna’s brother. He is desperate to leave the debtor’s prison. He is quite a character and I can imagine book clubs having heated discussions and everyone coming up with a different opinion on him. I enjoyed writing his character the most. He directed my storytelling, rather than I directed him. I knew what I wanted him to do, but he added the colour to each scene he was in.
Which character in the story did you identify with the most?
It would have to be Jenna. She is determined and a strong character, but she has moments of awkwardness, embarrassment and self-doubt. I loved writing the mop fair scenes. At one point, (I won’t say why) she tries to hide behind her mop. I can imagine myself doing the same thing if I was her.
The Thief's Daughter is your debut novel, have there been any challenges in getting the book to publication and if so, how did you overcome them?
The Thief’s Daughter is the third book I have written, but the first that was accepted for publication. I am delighted to say that Choc Lit has now acquired my first two novels, plus one other which I have written since. It means that The Thief’s Daughter is the first in a Cornish based series.
It is very difficult for a debut writer to get an agent and the rejections are crushing. I was very naive in the beginning and didn’t present, or pitch, my previous novels to agents well. I have learnt a lot over the years. There is a saying that a published author is a writer who didn’t give up, and I think that fits me perfectly.
Do you write the type of books you like to read and which authors influence you?
Yes, I do try to write the sort of books I would like to read. I loved Winston Graham’s writing style and books. I also enjoyed reading the books written by E.V.Thompson and Gloria Cook. My writing has been likened to the romantic fiction of the past and I take that as a great compliment. I want the reader to be as much immersed in the plot as they are in the developing love story and I want the love story to have all the highs and lows, the joy and the pain, of falling deeply in love.
I want my stories to be accessible to everyone. You do not need to have a history degree to read or understand them. I do not like reading historical fiction which assumes I know all the ins and outs of that particular era. When I read I do not want a history lesson, however I want to feel that I am in that time period, feeling and seeing what the characters are experiencing. I read for enjoyment, and I want the readers of The Thief’s Daughter to be able to do the same.
Can you tell us if you have another novel planned?
Yes, I am writing another novel. Luckily, I don’t feel too pressured to finish it quickly as I already have three in the pipeline waiting for publication. I can’t wait to share more details about them with you, but for now my lips are sealed. It is a case of watch this space … or rather watch my tweets, Facebook page or pop over to my website. I also have a quarterly newsletter, which readers can sign up to. Upon signing up, readers will receive a short story and find out where Jenna, Jack and Silas’s story really began …
You can find out more about Victoria by using the following links:
Read my review of The Thief's Daughter by clicking here
Thank you for having me on your blog today. I have really enjoyed answering your questions and appreciate your invitation to be on here.
It was a real pleasure, Victoria, to have you as our author in the spotlight today.
Come back and see us again soon.