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Victoria, thank you for being here. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Sherri! It’s a pleasure to be on your blog. One of the things that enhances a story is a sense of setting. To put my writing in context, we need to go first to southern California where I was born and raised. That’s also where I met my husband and began a Christian journey that’s taken us from L.A., to Washington DC to Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington is a wonderful city, but a piece of my heart will always be in California. Love the beach!
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you like to read?
Imagine a nine-year-old girl walking home from the library with her nose in a book. Picture her plowing straight into a light post for the tennis courts! That actually happened to me. I still remember the utter shock of that post hitting me square in the forehead. I was so engrossed in the story I forgot to look up. As a child my favorite books were about horses. I loved Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion” series and still do. I read Marguerite Henry’s books over and over. And then there was a weekly dose of Nancy Drew. I also liked the “Clara Barton” nurse books.
Then I think it is safe to say you were an avid reader! What is your favorite genre to read now?
I’m hooked on Christian romance. Historical or contemporary–it doesn’t matter. Every once in a while I’ll read something outside my genre of choice, but I always come back to a good love story.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
I dreamed about writing books when I was small, but I never pictured myself as an author per se. Writing is a source of joy. I love the adventure of a good story, finding the exact right word to convey an emotion. Being an author brings the business side of publishing to my mind–maintaining a website, social networking, meeting deadlines, etc. I had no idea how much fun it would be to interface with readers. It’s all good!
I totally agree! Even though it can be exhausting, it’s so worth it! Tell us about the journey to getting published.
My journey to publication officially began January 1, 1999. After a couple of traumatic years (my father’s passing, job change, moving cross-country), I decided I didn’t want to leave this earth saying “I wish I’d written a book.” My resolution that year was to finish a book length work of fiction, good or bad. Well, it was bad. But I finished it. I sent it off to Harlequin Historicals and received a merciful rejection, but in the meantime, I’d started my second ms. The instant I wrote the first sentence, I heard my “voice” for the first time. Of Men and Angels sold to Harlequin Historicals (a secular line) in February 2002. When Harlequin opened up the Love Inspired Historical line (inspirational), I jumped at the chance to move into a subgenre where I could write more fully about my Christian faith.
What a wonderful story of your journey! How many books do you have published?
I currently have 14 published books–six with HH and eight with Love Inspired Historicals.
What would be the worst writing assignment to receive, if you were given one?
Great question! The worst assignment would be one that required me to compromise my faith. I couldn’t do it.
I’m right there with ya, sista! What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing a single title contemporary that looks at the fall-out from our modern dating culture. It’s set in Wyoming so there’s some western flavor, and there’s also a historical tie-in. It’s been a ton of fun to do something a little different.
I once wrote a book set in Wyoming. But something wasn’t right about it. I re-set it in Georgia (where I am from) and it’s due out this month! I love your theme. Our modern dating culture sure is messed up! How do you choose names for your characters?
I’m choosing names now for a new project. First I look at the Social Security Administration website for lists of common names for a particular year. The site goes back to 1879. Next I read about meanings on www.behindthename.com. Biblical names always appeal to me, but only when they fit the story.
How do you get to know your characters once you’ve named them?
My oldest son once joked that my characters are like my friends. He’s right. I daydream about them, imagine what they’d do in certain situations, make up histories in my head. I also need to know how they change. In the current ms, the heroine is going to go from an insecure “for now” woman into a faithful Christian able to face an uncertain future.
I love that! If you could interview any character in one of your books what might that character say? Why?
J.T. Quinn in The Outlaw’s Return is one of my favorite heroes. He’d say he’s utterly stunned God reached down from heaven to save a man like himself.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Spaghetti Tossing Insanity.
Well, that is a new one to me! Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I desperately want to be a plotter, but I’m a pantser. I throw ideas against the wall (the spaghetti in the above answer) and see what sticks. It’s a hard way to write. And it’s time consuming. I go down a lot of rabbit holes, but somehow it works.
What are your favorite themes to write about?
I’m big on the 3 Rs: Redemption. Restoration. Resurrection.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write? (Feel free to share a photo of your workspace.)
Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.
This answer is incredibly ordinary, but it’s what came to mind: my husband and I have a wacky little dog named Hartley. He’s part Jack Russell terrier and the oddest creature I’ve ever met.
I have a Chihuahua who is quite unusual, too. Don’t you just love pets? Does your faith affect your writing? How?
My faith affects every word I write. It gives me ideas for characters, plot, themes, everything.
So glad to meet another sister who aims to honor God with each word that tumbles out of the ends of her fingers. Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?
God has a way of giving me different verses for different seasons in my life. Psalm 84 is a favorite. So is the entire book of Ephesians.
Have you won any awards with your writing?
No awards but I’ve finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the RWA Ritas, RT Magazines Reviewer’s Choice and a few other contests.
If you could have dinner with someone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?
Not to get too sentimental, but I’d have dinner with my mom and dad. They’re both gone now, and I miss them very much.
I totally agree! I’d have dinner with my parents, too. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
This California girl would head straight to Pismo Beach! I’d drive out on the beach, spread a blanket, listen to the waves and smell the salt air.
I’m headed to the beach for the first time in four years. I’m going to do the same thing! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe a writing tip or advice for aspiring authors?
Very early in my career, I came to look at writing this way: Inspiration is a gift from God. We can’t manufacture it. It comes or it doesn’t. Discipline is a choice. We can choose to get up at five a.m. to write, or we can ignore that call.
And last–Technique. Technique can be learned. Inspiration and Discipline aren’t enough to produce a quality piece of fiction. We need to be students, to study the craft and be open to input from others.
Good stuff! Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
My website is www.victoriabylin.com I’m also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/victoria.bylin
Josie’s Wedding Dress by Victoria Bylin
Desperate for someone to help her save her ranch, Josie Bright makes a deal with Ty Donner. Now the man who left her waiting at the altar is making her hope for things she had long stopped wishing for.
Last Minute Bride by Janet Dean
Elise Langley was stung to the quick when her would-be suitor suddenly left town. But when David Wellman returns and they are thrown together organizing their friends’ wedding, can she open her heart again.
Her Ideal Husband by Pamela Nissen
As a girl, Lydia Townsend hoped to marry Jebediah Gentry–until his rejection spoiled her dreams. When family duty brings her home, it’s Jeb’s chance to show Lydia that now is the time for wedding dreams to come true.