From Harper Collins official site: When the stresses of being an A-list actress get too much for her, Connie Gordon decides to escape to a tiny Scottish village. But little does she realise that whilst Lochnabrae might be quiet, it’s far from sleepy…

Beautiful, rich, famous – and seriously stressed, actress Connie Gordon is ready for a change. Deciding to accept an invitation from her fan club in Scotland, Connie kisses goodbye to her ex-boyfriends, stalkers and double-crossing agents, and prepares herself for complete relaxation. But swapping the Hollywood Hills for the Highlands of Scotland doesn’t make for the easiest of transitions and, when she meets local playwright, Alastair McInnes, who’s sworn he’ll never become involved with another actress again, sparks fly, and the sleepy village of Lochnabrae will never be the same again. Get your running shoes on to catch the latest hilarious, charming and utterly engaging novel from Victoria Connelly, chick-lit’s answer to Richard Curtis!

Victoria Connelly at Chawton Cottage Garden
Read my interview with the lovely author of this new book,  Victoria Connelly.  Leave your comment and your e-mail address to enter a giveaway contest for 2 copies of the book  provided by the publishers, Harper Collins. Two copies, two winners! Open worldwide, this giveaway will end on May 12

In your “The Perfect Hero" (UK) / “Dreaming of Mr Darcy” (US),  the protagonist met a troupe shooting a costume movie as they stay at her B&B. Your heroine this time, Connie Gordon, belongs  to the Hollywood star system. Are you especially fascinated by the movies?
- I am!  I adore films and I’m fascinated with the whole process of being an actor.  I used to teach drama for a bit and there’s the tiniest bit of me that would like to be an actor.  I love listening to actors talking about inhabiting a role – the idea of becoming someone else is fascinating.  I guess there are similarities to being a writer and creating characters and I feel sure I’ll be writing more about actors in the future.

Connie is beautiful, rich and famous but seriously stressed. Do you think popularity leads inevitably to stress and nervous break down? Have you experienced that yourself?  
- I think growing up in public and being under the public’s scrutiny all the time must heap enormous pressure on people and I wouldn’t like to experience that.  But I don’t think I have to worry about that in my career - very few writers become as famous as movie stars!

The setting you’ve chosen for your new romance is the Scottish Highlands. How romantic is Scotland?
- Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries.  I love the landscape of the Highlands and there are some stunning islands too like Mull, Skye and Iona.  The coastline is hauntingly beautiful and there are ruined castles galore.  It’s an incredibly romantic place – it sweeps you up and stays with you forever.   

Did you really visit the places you describe in the book?
- The village where the book is set - Lochnabrae - is loosely based on a tiny village in the Highlands called Plockton which was used in the BBC drama, Hamish Macbeth.  We visited some years ago and actually drove right through the set whilst they were filming and saw Robert Carlyle!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to visit the other location in the book – Los Angeles – but I did go there when I was 12 on a family holiday to California.  It’s obviously left an impression on me.

Now your hero, Alastair McInnes. His name reminds me of Georgette Heyer’s dashing hero in These Old Shades. More precisely,  his name reminds me of that character. What is he like? Is he inspired to any literary  character?
- I shall have to look out for that book.  No, Alastair isn’t inspired by a literary character.  I guess the writer side of him comes from me and his need for solitude.  Oh, and his love of his dog!  I  kind of envisaged him as a slightly unkempt Richard Armitage (sigh!)

Let's start dreaming about your Alastair, then. Ehm, no,  better stay serious and concentrated on this interview! Would you tell us something about Connie now?What is she like? What kind of modern heroine is she?
- Connie is desperate to find something real in her life.  She’s spent so many years acting that she’s not sure who she is anymore.  She’s also fed up of double-crossing boyfriends and pushy agents and wants to get away from them all and find some peace in her life. 
I really like Connie – she’s talented and hard-working but she isn’t perfect.  She’s made some big mistakes in her life which makes her very real and I like that she’s willing to change and listen to those around her.  I think a lot of us want to run away from something and find some peace in our lives so I hope the character of Connie will connect with readers.

The Runaway Actress is a romantic comedy about friends, fans and family, and finding a place that you can call home. What about:

You and your fans?
- My fans are really important to me and I love hearing what they think of my books.  Writing is a pretty lonely business so emails from fans or messages on Twitter or Facebook can really brighten up a day and make you feel less alone.

You and finding a place that you can call home?
- After eleven years living in the London suburbs, we’ve finally moved to the country and I’m so happy!  We’re living in a 200-year old cottage in rural Suffolk with fields full of horses at the front and cherry and apple orchards at the back.  We have a gorgeous garden which I’m filling with hens and roses and I really feel as if I’ve found my perfect home.

Chawton - Hampshire
You’ve written a trilogy of Austen-inspired modern romances which I've read and loved. How important/influential has Jane Austen been in your writing?
- I read my first Jane Austen when I was 17.  It was Pride and Prejudice and I loved it!  It was moving and funny and had some of the best characters ever created.  It was also a fabulous love story.  So Austen was a huge influence on me and I studied her more at university and have been reading her ever since.  I really fell in love with the idea of writing about her fans when I visited some of the locations she’s connected with like Chawton in Hampshire.  I wanted to explore why we still have this fascination for her books 200 years after they were written and why we’re still so obsessed with Mr Darcy.  My Austen Addicts Trilogy also got me my first American and Russian publishing deals so I have a lot to thank Jane Austen for!

What is Victoria Connelly up to after the launch of her two ( “The Runaway Actress” in the UK and “Mr Darcy Forever” in the USA) new books in April?  
- More books, of course!  I’m over half-way through my next romantic comedy for the UK – about a plain Jane who suddenly becomes irresistible to men after making a wish on a statue of Aphrodite – the goddess of love - whilst on holiday in Greece.  There’s a gorgeous Greek hero called Milo and a naughty pelican so watch out for that one!  I’ve also just published a collection of short stories on Kindle called “The Retreat” and I’ll be publishing a non-fiction title too in the summer called “Escape to Mulberry Cottage” which tells of our move from London to rural Suffolk.  There’ll also be a special novella sequel to the Austen Addicts Trilogy in November/December called “Christmas with Mr Darcy” which I’m really excited about.

Thanks a lot,  Victoria.You've been very kind to answer my questions and it's been a pleasure to have you as my guest at FLY HIGH!. Good luck to you with your many promising projects and your new books. And, of course,  good luck to all the readers who'll enter the book giveaway contest. 2 copies, 2 winners!

Watch the video trailer for Victoria's new books


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

I love Victoria Connellys writing! I recently read The Perfect hero, such a wonderful book, really liked it (also because of all of Austens novels, my heart probably belongs most to Capt. Wentworth and Anne, so a story about filming in Lyme Regis has to be lovely).

I haven´t yet read the 3rd book in the trilogy, need to do that soon, and am very much looking forward to reading The runaway actress too!

Thanks for the great interview!

kewinkler (at) gmail (dot) com

Tishylou said...

I adore Victoria and her books! Such a welcome distraction for me and many others. Your interview was a great insight into the mind of one of my absolute favourites. Thank you!!!

Marcie said...

I'm a huge Victoria Connelly fan. I think this new book sounds really good. I love that it takes place in the Highlands of Scotland. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win it. marcie(dot)turner(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Here I am, and YOU know why, MG :P
mrskarenblixen(at) gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I love the interview :) Reading about the author's inspirations is always fascinating. I dont like reading it when authors try to replicate Jane Austens style as she is unique. Connelly's books are fun way to get a Jane Austen fix!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Oh how fun! I've read the first of the Austen Addicts trilogy, and fell in love with Victoria's style. The other 2 are on my Kindle and just waiting for me to have a moment to breathe, haha...

Runaway Actress sounds fun, but so does a Greek hero and a naughty pelican!? Count me in! :oD

Thanks for the giveaway!
::crosses fingers::

Flo said...

I'd love to read this book. I'm honest and I have to say that I haven't read any of Victoria Connelly's works but after reading this post I'm very intrigued and curious about them :)
- Flavia

LĂșthien84 said...

The Runaway Actress sounds fun and reminds me of the movie Notting Hill. Great to know what Victoria is up to these days because I have been following her career ever since I heard about the Austen Addicts trilogy but have not read them yet.

Maria, please count me in for the giveaway.


Victoria Connelly said...

Thank you for your lovely comments, everyone, and thank you to Maria for her fun questions and for placing my picture so close to Mr Armitage!

Luthien84 - I actually pitched my novel as 'Notting Hill meet Monarch of the Glen' so you're spot on there! I love Notting Hill and wanted to explore what would happen if a famous movie star came to stay in a rural community.

Natasha said...

Sounds really good!! Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

aurora said...

I would like to read this book.
It sounds very interesting. I enjoyed reading this interview very much.
zoradotbrozina at gmaildotcom

Soft Fuzzy Sweater said...

I think this book sounds fun! Who hasn't ever wanted to run away and into the arms of a perfect man? Even when you're not famous and just an ordinary woman. Of course, being a famous actress has it's advantages.

Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you.


maria said...

Oh, I'd love to win this book!!! It sounds very interesting and fun! Fingers crossed!

Melanie said...

This book sounds cool! I just recently finished reading the second book in Connelly's Austen addicts trilogy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. It was pretty cute.

Literary Chanteuse said...

I just recently read one of Victoria's books and I loved it! I would love to win this one. It sounds so good! I have to have it!


Malvina Beatrice said...

I love the fact that the setting is in Scotland, it is indeed such a beautiful place, hope to read this book.


BeckyC said...

I love your other books so I am very excited to see another one come our way! Congratulations and thank you for the giveaway!
cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

Monica said...

I enjoyed your first two Austen related novels and hope to read the third one soon.
I am also curious about this new book, as I love Scotland and the Highlands. I also visited Plockton a couple of years ago, it is such a beautiful place!


Sharon said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book


A Scattering said...

I also have to confess that I haven't read any of Victoria's books yet. BUT I've just put a hold on Molly's Millioins at my local library and will be seeking out the Austen Addicts Trilogy online from either Amazon.ca or chapters.indigo.ca. Maria, thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of The Runaway Actress, it sounds like great fun.

Felicia said...

I'd love to be entered in the give-away. I read the Austen Addicts Trilogy and LOVED them! So, I'd like to read more of Victoria's work.


felicialso @gmail. com

Herba said...

Thanks for the interview with Victoria Connelly MG!
It was interesting to read and the plot of the book sounds like fun. I have to check out her other books too!

minor.herba AT web DOT de

Helen said...

Love Victoria's books - yet to read this one! Thank you Maria!

helen at hancock dot id dot au