Monday, January 3, 2011

Break out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Vicky Dreiling's Debut Novel HOW TO MARRY A DUKE

I'm very happy and excited to open up a bottle of my best champagne for my friend and writer Vicky Dreiling. She is an inspiration to me as a writer, and friend. We're celebrating her debut novel, HOW TO MARRY A DUKE which releases today! 
Pop! Pouring bubbly and breaking out the dark chocolate.

How did you end up becoming a writer?
I’ll skip the girlhood diaries and the journalism major in college. J I actually bought my first romance by accident; in other words, I didn’t know it was a romance until I got it home. The book that hooked me on romance was Judith McNaught’s ALMOST HEAVEN. One day I decided to write one for grins. I might never have gotten serious if not for another chance occurrence. I confessed my secret hobby to a friend who just happened to have seen a notice for a romance writing class. On a whim, I signed up.
I love Judith McNaught. Her stories always made me cry. No wonder you enjoy writing regencies! Are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?
It depends on where I’m at in the process of creating the book. The muse suggests a subconscious process to me. Plot is a conscious process. Premise is essentially a concise description of the overall plot of a novel. I knew the premise for HOW TO MARRY A DUKE before I wrote a single word. The idea came to me as I watched The Bachelor TV show.
Once I know the premise, I focus on character, and this is the stage in which I rely on the subconscious or the muse. I have some top-of-mind ideas, but I do not trust them. Those initial ideas are too surface. They lack the emotional complexity necessary to create flawed, lovable, and unforgettable characters. It’s not a process I can control well, but I can bring it forth by thinking about the characters right before going to bed. Then I’ll wake up the next morning with a key scene playing DVD-style in my head. These key scenes contain revelations about the characters’ pasts. During the actual writing, the emotional complexity continues to develop primarily on a subconscious level for me as well. As a result, I’m often surprised by what I discover about the characters while writing.
However, I am a big fan of Vogler’s THE WRITER’S JOURNEY and keep those stages in the back of my mind while writing the book. I definitely believe learning craft is essential.
            I just bought Vogler’s book and can’t wait to read it. He’s a master. How do you relax after a writing day?
I have two fulltime careers. I don’t relax; I collapse in bed. J  Seriously, I take little breaks and catch up with friends on Twitter, Facebook, and email. One of the hardest things for me is that I’m an extravert and lose energy if I don’t get people contact.
What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
I primarily read historical romances, although I enjoy Young Adult as well.  My favorite authors are Loretta Chase, Sophie Jordan, Sarah MacLean, Mary Balogh, and Janet Mullany – among many, many others. J

What is your current project? And any new releases?

I just sent book two in my three-book contract to my editor. Revisions are next on the agenda. Once those are completed and accepted, I’ll start the partial for book three. HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL will be out in July 2011 and features two characters from HOW TO MARRY A DUKE: Hawk and Julianne.
Where do you get your ideas for your stories?  
The story ideas for all three books in my current contract involve spoofs on modern day dating/reality shows.
Oh, now that sounds interesting. I can’t wait to read your debut novel. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
I wrote my first Regency historical over a decade ago. Surprisingly, that first book did extremely well in major contests and was a Golden Heart finalist. I got a lot of agent and editor requests. I did massive revisions without promise of contract for an editor, but it all happened too fast. I was trying to learn the business and craft at the same time. It was overwhelming. The rejection broke my heart, but things happen for a reason. My personal life underwent big changes, and I ended up returning to university to finish my degree. I spent several years ramping up a marketing career. Once my kids got older, I returned to writing and sold the second book I wrote, HOW TO MARRY A DUKE.
I’m glad you didn’t give up your dream, Vicky. How did you celebrate the new book contract?
I met my friend Karen for lunch and margaritas. That night I attended a friend’s book signing, and afterward, we went back to the same Mexican restaurant (I wasn’t driving I promise!). I’ll always associate Chambord swirl margaritas with my first sale. J
Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail?  

My agent notified me on a Thursday afternoon that two publishers had made offers on my book. I went to bed knowing I would sell a book the next day. Imagine trying to sleep after getting that news. J The next day, my phone rang every thirty minutes or so as my agent reported the latest offer. By noon CDT, I’d sold my first book in a three-book deal to Grand Central.
I know I wouldn't have slept a wink. Wow! What an exciting night. Now that you're published, what advice would you give aspiring writers?
There is a magnet on my refrigerator with a quote from Winston Churchill: Never, Never, Never Give Up.
In the face of rejection, and not giving up, what encouragement can you give writers who must face rejection and keep writing?   
Fear is your worst enemy. Kick it to the curb, and do what you think you cannot do.
Do what you think you cannot do! Wow, I’m going to put that on my inspiration wall. Great advice. You obviously know how to battle back fear so what is the most difficult part about writing for you?
The first sentence. J  
Giggle. What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call?
I was a bit intimidated before getting my revision letter, but I got really excited as I read the changes. Love my editor. She's brilliant! xoxoxo

Vicky, your new book sounds delicious. And check out the gorgeous book cover! Amazing. I know I want to order HOW TO MARRY A DUKE today at Amazon. And one of our lucky commentators will win a free copy of this fabulous book. Yay!! Popping more champagne to celebrate!


Anne Gallagher said...

I found Vicky's blog when I first started blogging. Congratulations Vicky! This is awesome news! Can't wait to read it.

Christine said...

Yay! I'm so glad you know her and her story. She's amazing. I ordered mine and it is waiting for me to read it on my Nook. It's queued up and next in line. Can't wait.

Happy Reading!

Vicky said...

Hi Anne,

Thank you. It's wonderful to hear from you. Today is the official debut day for HOW TO MARRY A DUKE, so I'm really happy that Christine invited me to her blog.

Happy New Year!

Kieran said...

What a fun interview!! Vicky, I'm loving the book and am so happy for your success! Now I can't wait for Hawk and Julianne's story!!

Gail Hart said...

Congrats on your first release day, Vicky! I really love your cover, it's beautiful.

Christine said...

Hi Gail: Isn't the cover amazing? And the trailer. *waving hand in front of flushed cheeks* Woohoo! So exciting to have Vicky here on the Veranda as we celebrate her debut novel.

Christine said...

Hi Kieran: I'm glad you popped by the Veranda to say hello. This is a really exciting day!

Lisa D. said...

Congrats on the new book! It sounds like a great read, and I really love all the advice here. :)

Robin said...

Congratulations, Vicky! Great interview, Christine ~ thanks so much for the introduction! I love historical romances and am adding How To Marry A Duke to the top of my to buy list!

Abbey MacInnis said...

Thank you for all the sage writing advice. :) And congrats on your release! :) I found How To Marry a Duke in my local B&N last Wednesday, and I finished it last night. i can honestly tell you, I was almost in tears at one point. And no, I won't say when. :) I'm so excited for Hawk and Julianne's story. :)
Congrats again. :)

Wendy S Marcus said...

Congratulations on your release, Vicki! Very exciting! I write contemporary but I love a good historical. I'm heading over to Amazon to check out your book right now. Good luck!

And thanks, Christine, for bringing new writers to our attention.

Playground Monitor said...

How interesting that we both know Vicky! I met her through a writing friend from Texas, Kristi Gold. And for those who don't know me, Christine and I are in the same RWA chapter.

I got a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas and stopped by on my way home from church yesterday and bought a copy of How to Marry a Duke. Can't wait to read it!


Christine said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks for popping in to celebrate Vicky's release! Woohoo. We're having a party here!

Christine said...

Hi Abbey: Now I can't wait to read the book. Ooh, I love a good cry with a HEA!

Christine said...

Hi Wendy: I am enjoying sharing the debut novels! It's so much fun to celebrate the successes in this industry. It gives me hope for my own career. And I can't wait to interview you when your Mills & Boon Medical Romance debuts.


Christine said...

Hi Playground Monitor: Vicky and I are in a fabulous writing loop that focuses on support, goal setting, and celebrating our successes. She's a great lady and I'm so pleased that she is celebrating her success on my blog. She deserves this!


Christine said...

Hi Robin: I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. This is so much fun! I wish we could all be in the same room celebrating together ;-)

Vicky said...

Thank you, Kieran. I love your books- so much fun!

Gail, thanks so much for your support. It's always fun Tweeting with you.

Lisa D, one of the best parts about the writing community is all the wonderful sharing and friendship.

Robin, thank you! It's always great to meet a fellow historical romance junkie!

Abbey, thank you. I think I can guess where you were almost in tears, because I was a bit misty-eyed when I wrote it. As for Hawk & Julianne, they are quite a pair. I just love stories where the hero and heroine are forbidden to be together - coz we all know where that leads. :-)

Cheers everyone!

Barbara said...

Great interview, Christine. Vicki, I absolutely can't wait to get your book. I have been anticipating it for some time. This will be the first of a long and successful career for you!

And thanks for the champagne, Christine. Oops, there goes any post-holiday cleaning planned for today. Heck, just pass the chocolates :)

Vicky said...

Hi Wendy. I love contemporary romantic comedies, too.

Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. What a small world this is, indeed. I'd met Lynn Ray Harris through a contest (she judged HTMAD!) & found out you were in her same chapter. Christine & I are in the same writer's online group, but you two are in the same chapter. Isn't that great? I got hooked on Christine's blog and just love it. She's a special lady and loads of fun to tweet with. :-)

Vicky said...

Thanks for you kind words, Barbara. And don't worry about the champagne. It's 5 o'clock somewhere. :-)

Christine said...

Barbara, it is never too early for champagne--mimosas anyone?


Jo Anne said...

Hey, Vicky ~ Great interview! You've had an exciting trip, and I'm happy, happy for you and proud to see you here. Can't wait to read the book!

Laurie London said...

Great interview, Christine!

Vicky, I planned to visit the bookstore to pick up a copy of your book, so imagine how excited I was to see your book at my local grocery store! You know you've arrived when your book is one of just a handful that my store carries.

It's sitting on my kitchen counter and as soon as I finish what I'm reading now, I'll be snuggling up with Tessa and Tristan!


Jeanna Thornton said...

Vicki...we are very proud of you in Houston! Congratulations to you for realizing a dream!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Congratulations, Vicky! You're now on my TBR pile.

Great interview, Christine.

ShanaGalen said...

Congrats, Vicky! I have that Churchill quote on my desk. It's so true!

Amanda Stevens said...

What an exciting day for you, Vicky! Congratulations!

Christine said...

This is a wonderful day! I can't wait to see who wins the book :-)

Gwen Hernandez said...

BTW, I didn't mean congrats that you're on my list now. I meant congratulations on your debut! ;-) Some writer I am, huh?

Vicky said...

LOL, Gwen - I knew what you meant. Hey, we don't have to be perfect - I'd be in big trouble otherwise.:D

Vicky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicky said...

Thank you Christine and everyone who stopped by to share this very special day with me. May the Magic Romance Fairies be with all of you.

Jessica Trapp said...

YAY, Vicky!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hello Vicky and Christine ! Two of my FAVORITE people!

I can't believe the day is FINALLY here, Vicky! Congratulations, my dear!

And I really enjoyed reading about your process and your dedication in spite of rejections. Definitely something I needed to hear!

Christie Craig said...

Congrats, Vicky! I can't wait to pick it up.


Christine said...

Hi Everyone! Just want to let you know that Robin is the winner of Vicky's fantastic debut novel. Contact Vicky at her website:

Congratulations Robin!


Linda Barrett said...

Woo-hoo, Vicky. Congratulations. You novel is my next book buy. In addition to Churchhill's quote, I'll now post yours in my office: Do what you think you cannot do! Great stuff about writing and about life.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

I am so excited! I'm running over to an on-line bookstore to buy this for my kindle!!!!

I've been waiting for this for a looooong time! CONGRATULATIONS, Vicky! I'm celebrating with you.


Robin said...

Thanks so much, Christine! (And Vicky!) I can't wait to read How To Marry A Duke!

Christine said...

Thanks for coming and celebrating the wonderful debut release of Vicky's new book, HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. Here's to a wonderful journey and to ongoing success, Vicky!

Danielle Gorman said...

Congrats on your debut release Vicky. I can't wait to read this book. I have had it on my wishlist for months now and I can't wait to pick up my copy. BTW, I love the cover.