AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Victoria Connelly

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Our review of Victoria Connelly's new novel The Runaway Actress is coming soon - we loved this tale of Hollywood star Connie Gordon, who flees her glamorous life and heads to a small Scottish village. We were delighted to put Trashi's weekly questions to Victoria!

Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
It's a romantic comedy about a movie star who swaps Hollywood for the Highlands.

What inspired you to write The Runaway Actress?
I'm a huge movie fan and I've often wondered what it would be like to come face to face with one of your idols a la 'Notting Hill'.  I've also wondered what it would be like to grow up in the Hollywood system.  There's one actress from the 1930/40s called Deanna Durbin who literally grew up on set and then became a recluse in her twenties.  She hated what Hollywood did to her and I wanted to explore what a modern movie star might do if it all became too much for them.

Where do you do most of your writing?
We recently moved from the London suburbs to rural Suffolk and I now have my very own study!  It looks out over fields full of horses and it's lovely and quiet.  I have an old Victorian pine table as a desk and do most of my writing there.

What is your favourite book?
The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates.  It's a lovely, warm, funny tale about the Larkin family who live in rural Kent and how a tax inspector shows up one day, falls in love with one of the daughters as well as the Larkin's way of life and never leaves.  As an escaped civil servant, I can identify with that!

Which part of The Runaway Actress was the most enjoyable to write?
I adored writing the scene where the actress, Connie Gordon, has to dress up as a man in order to escape the attention of a prying journalist.  She's also been dragged into the local am dram production of Twelfth Night playing Viola - a character who also disguises herself as a man.  So there's lots of comedic moments and misunderstandings.  

What are you currently reading?
Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin.  He used to live in Suffolk and writes beautifully about the area.  I'm also rereading Miss Read's Village Diary - a lovely tale of country life with larger than life characters.  Dora Saint (who wrote as 'Miss Read') died in April and I had the very great honour of reading at her memorial service.  She's one of my favourite writers.

Who is your favourite heroine?
It has to be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice because she has so much energy and wit and isn't afraid to speak her opinions in a time when that was often frowned upon.  I also adore her loyalty to her family, and her scenes with Mr Darcy just sparkle - no matter how many time you've read them!

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Read loads and write loads and NEVER give up.  If you really want to become published, you have to be disciplined and learn your craft and keep submitting your work to agents and publishers.  Take criticism on board and keep improving.  But, most of all, love what you do.  Your passion for your work will shine through and find an audience.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
My next romantic comedy is called Wish You Were Here and is out next spring.  It's about Alice Archer who's a bit of a plain Jane until she makes a wish on a statue of Aphrodite whilst on holiday on a Greek island and suddenly becomes irresistible to men.  

I'm also writing a novella sequel to my Austen Addicts Trilogy - Christmas with Mr Darcy.  It'll be out on Kindle in October.

Thanks, Victoria!

You can find out more about Victoria Connelly and her books by visiting her website, or following her on Twitter.

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