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Utah Book Month: Interview with Victoria Dahl

It will likely not surprise you that I can exhibit curmudgeonly tendencies from time to time. This probably explains why I did not sign up for any events during Utah Book Month. However, Jessica of The Bluestocking Society tracked me down and proposed an interview with the lovely Victoria Dahl. And I'm so glad she did, because I had just downloaded my first Dahl book that very day. So clearly it was fate. I read Lead Me On and very much enjoyed it. Victoria brings both a wicked sense of humor and layered characterization to her writing. And it was with pleasure I fired off a few questions. So without further ado, please help me offer up a warm welcome to Victoria Dahl!
Confession: I’m a relatively recent newcomer to the romance genre and I’m fascinated by other readers’ entry points. You started reading romance at the age of 12. What was your gateway book and what made you pick it up in the first place?

Oh, I’m not sure I can remember! I started reading romances because my mom read romance. I was
a voracious reader and they were there. And so naughty! When I was young, Julie Garwood was my
absolute favorite. I read her historicals over and over again.

What made you stick around for more?

I loved history, but I was so frustrated by the kind of history they taught in school. Dates and wars and
names of kings. I wanted to know what the people were like. What kinds of lives they lived. What it
would have been like to be them. Romances were the only books that seemed to want to tell me about
the people. Although I also loved books like the Clan of the Cave Bear series!

Tell us about your road to publication. What made you decide to begin writing the genre you love?

I knew I wanted to be a writer very early on, from age thirteen or fourteen. I loved books and probably
read one a day for many, many years. I went to college specifically to get a business degree so I could
have a day job and a fall back, and then the moment I got a chance, I started writing. I finished my first
book after staying home with my first child, then I joined Romance Writers of America and kept writing.
My first book was awful. My second book was better. And my third book won the Golden Heart award
for Best Long Historical Manuscript. That was my first published novel!

You write both contemporaries and historicals. Do you gravitate toward one or the other more frequently or do you enjoy writing both genres equally?

Coming up with story ideas is much easier for historicals. You can write adventures. Girls masquerading
as boys, arranged marriages, mad fathers, scandalous touches. It’s the best. I can let my imagination run
free. But once I start writing a book, contemporaries go much faster. I know these women. This is my
world. Writing the dialogue is like writing a conversation between me and my friends.

Since this is Utah Book Month, have you always lived in Utah or are you a transplant like me? What’s it like being a working author in Utah?

I’m a transplant! I’ve lived in quite a few places, but before moving here, we lived in Colorado for years,
so we knew what to expect. As for living here as an author, it’s perfect! I live in Park City, so I get to
spend quite a few cozy, snowy days writing under a blanket. And since I set a lot of my contemporary
books in the mountains, Utah offers great inspiration.

Do you have favorite romance authors or novels you find yourself frequently recommending to reluctant or newbie romance readers?

For contemporaries, I recommend Susan Elizabeth Phillips. For YA, you should read Jennifer Echols.
She’s my critique partner and her books are an honor for me to read. Although Connie Brockway isn’t
writing historicals anymore, she has an amazing backlist, and she’s one of my favorites.

I understand music plays a large role in your writing process. How do you go about seeking musical inspiration and do you have any go-to bands or musicians?

I get music recommendations from friends, and I also check out a lot of music that iTunes suggests. As
for writing inspiration, I adore Patty Griffin. She’s a spectacular writer. She can capture a whole life in a
few lines. Amazing. I also love Kathleen Edwards. Basically, I’m a sucker for singer-songwriters, because
the words mean so much to me.

You’re celebrating a brand new release today and the start of a new series as well! Tell us about the book. What do we have to look forward to?

Yay! Close Enough to Touch is the start of a new series set in Jackson, Wyoming. When my editor and
I talked about the series, she presented the idea of a fish out of water story, and Grace immediately
popped into my mind.

Grace Barrett is a tough girl from L.A. She’s got purple hair, a bad attitude, and nothing but a few dollars
to her name. Of course, I had to fix her up with a hometown cowboy. Cole Rawlins is fascinated by
Grace, and he’s not the least bit intimidated by her toughness. In fact, it’s what draws him to her. He
want to know the woman beneath the armor she always wears.

Grace is a complicated heroine. In fact, I’d say my favorite thing to write is women who aren’t
necessarily easy to love. But I love her! I love that she’s just as strong as this big, steady cowboy, if she
can only learn how to stop struggling.

And just for fun, what’s the first word that comes to mind when I say:

Kilt: Scotsmen!
Books: Everything
Twitter: Oops
Music: Love
Romance: Respect
Writing: Effort
Hero: Strength
Sexy: Tension
Love: Hope
Home: Peace

Thanks so much, Victoria! 

Thanks for having me, Angie!

Comments

  1. Great interview! I'm so glad that you both agreed to participate in Utah Book Month when I begged. :)

    I'm definitely going to have to check out CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH and Ms. Dahl's other works. (I have BAD BOYS DO on my shelf, but I just realized it's the second in a series!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. No begging required. I was delighted to take part. Just needed a little nudging. :)

      I'm definitely going to read more of Victoria's backlist. LEAD ME ON was fun.

      Delete
  2. Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, www.rainydayreads.com It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
    Christine x
    Rainy Day Reads
    www.rainydayreads.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oooo Close Enough To Touch sounds good.

    Also? I love the idea of huddling under the blanket with a book and the snow coming down outside, at least from the vantage point of summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does, doesn't it? Yeah, that image made me feel all nice and cozy, too. Park City's lovely.

      Delete
  4. I didn't know Victoria Dahl had a new book coming out! I haven't read any of her work yet but I was planning on starting with GOOD GIRLS DON'T. Anyway, thanks to the both of you for a lovely interview :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome, Sandy! I've been eyeing that series next, too.

      Delete
  5. Wait... a cowboy? Oh, man.. I must read it!

    And Angie, you can't hide from us... we'll track you down EVERY TIME! We miss you at our parties. Will you come again some day? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. You're a sucker for cowboys, eh Suey?

      Haha. I'm not trying to hide. Life just got busy with baby #3. That and the last few get togethers have all been scheduled during a work event for me . . .

      Delete
  6. Love this! Victoria Dahl was my gateway romance author -- even though I was blushing like crazy while reading her books at Starbucks. :) I just went through like 10 Susan Elizabeth Phillips books so I definitely recommend those. I also like Julie James and Shannon Stacey (Kowalskis... yum).

    "Twitter: Oops." Hahaha! Great interview, Angie!

    -Maggie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was she really?! Oh, that is awesome. And hilarious.

      Thanks for the seconded SEP rec. I've not tried her yet. I love Julie James and have read one Shannon Stacey. I need to give the Kowalskis another try.

      Delete
  7. I love your interviews, especially the word association part. I've seen CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH mentions appearing around the blogs - will have to look it up, thanks for highlighting!

    The difference between writing historicals and contemporaries - interesting and makes so much sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad someone enjoys those. I always love seeing what they'll say.

      Yeah, that difference rang true for me as well. I can't imagine doing both!

      Delete
  8. Lovely interview. I have several of Dahl's books in my TBR stash. I really need to read one stat--they sound so much FUN!

    Do you know that Utah is the only state in which I've vacationed TWICE? Once in winter for skiing and once in summer for National Park exploring. I've even been right up to that arch in your picture. I love Utah. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yay! I'm glad someone chatted with Victoria Dahl. Knowing she was local, and after following her wickedly hilarious tweets, I had to read one of her books. I read the Donovan series and started off with Bad Boys Do--which starts in the middle of a book club meet-up. They were pretty sexy, sexy, but filled with great tension and real characters. I haven't read anything else, but I was glad to try out her books. :)

    ReplyDelete

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