The Book Lovers is your new release and it is the first in a new series after The Rose Girls and Austen Addicts. What will be the trait d’union among the books in this upcoming series?
The Book Lovers series revolves around the Nightingale family and their family-run bookshops in the small Suffolk market town of Castle Clare. Each book will focus on a member of the Nightingale family and how they find their true love, but there will also be a cast of regular characters made up of friends, cousins and neighbours.. It's proving a lot of fun to write!
The Book Lovers features a classic love triangle. Your heroine, Callie, has two very different men vying for her attention in a complicated moment of her life. Have you got any idea why this pattern is so popular in fiction?
I think readers love to put themselves in the place of the heroine and think, 'Who would I choose?' I know I do! Thomas Hardy is very good at love triangles. In Far From the Madding Crowd, there are no less than THREE heroes for the heroine to choose from and, of course, she gets it wrong over and over again. I think we're all fascinated by that sort of romantic journey.
What inspires your romantic characters? Is it more fiction or real life?
I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband and he's inspired many moments in my fiction, but there's a lot of imagination in the books too! I think we all like to dream even when we've found our own happy ever after. The process of falling in love is a magical one, and it's one I never tire of writing about.
How do you usually choose the wonderfully gorgeous locations for your stories?
I always write about places I love like the Suffolk countryside (The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers) where I'm lucky enough to live now, or Lyme Regis (The Perfect Hero), the Scottish Highlands (The Runaway Actress and Christmas at the Castle) or the Cotswolds (The Secret of You). I also love writing about big old country houses.
Can you tell us more about Callie, your new heroine?
We meet Callie when she's desperately trying to put her unhappy past behind her. She's an only child and her parents had her quite late in life and still seem baffled by her presence. Her short marriage to Piers was a disaster too and so Callie is left feeling vulnerable and believes that she's incapable of being truly loved. So she decides to give up on love and throw herself into her writing.
What about the two heroes, instead, Leo and Sam.
Could two heroes be more different? I adore bookish Sam who has shut out the world and plunged himself into the safe world of books after a painful divorce. But I also love Leo with his spaniels and his easy, country ways. I think it would be very hard to choose between these two!
You are an Austen fan as I am and have written very successful Jane Austen-inspired fiction. How much have you been influenced by her world in your writing romantic modern novels?
As an author of romantic novels, it's hard not to be influence by Jane Austen who wrote one of the very best novels in this genre, Pride and Prejudice. But, although I am often inspired by her writing, my fiction comes from my own ideas – subjects I'm fascinated by or passionate about such as roses, country houses and small communities.
Here at FLY HIGH!, besides books, I often write about period drama movies and series. Do you like costume and period movies/series? Have you got any favourite ones?
I do love a costume drama. Of course, any Jane Austen adaptation gets my vote. I'm also a huge fan of the films of Merchant Ivory – their E M Forster adaptations – like Howards End and A Room with a View – are stunning. I also really enjoyed the recent BBC adaptations of Poldark, The White Queen and Wolf Hall.
Let’s play a bit now. Casting for The Book Lovers, who do you see as Callie, Leo and Sam?
There's an actor called Ben Chaplin (left) who I think would play Sam Nightingale really well. Callie could be played by the lovely Imogen Poots (central image) or Romola Garai, and I'd love to see Aneurin Barnard (right) as Leo – he's such a talented actor.
Your next project is a Christmas novella set in the Scottish Highlands, Victoria. I can’t wait! Could you tell us more about it?
It's about two families – the Frasers and the MacNeices – who spend Christmas together at the Caldoon Castle in the wilds of Scotland. There are secrets, squabbles, a little bit of romance and the biggest, hairiest dog in Scotland! I'm loving writing this one.
About the book
Author Callie Logan never expected to swap her life in London for one in rural Suffolk but, after the breakdown of her marriage, she decides that a fresh start is just what she needs. Finding Owl Cottage in the tiny village of Newton St Clare, Callie determines to give up on love and throw herself into her work. But fate seems to have other ideas and she soon has two very different men vying for her attention.
First there's Leo who likes to live on the wild side which usually means taking his dates foraging in the local woods for their supper. Then there's bookshop owner Sam. Recovering from a divorce, Sam has also vowed to embrace the single life. That is, until he meets Callie.
But is Callie willing to risk her heart again and, if she is, will she make the right choice?
About the author
Victoria Connelly is the bestselling author of the Austen Addicts series about fans of Jane Austen which began with A Weekend with Mr Darcy. Her books have been translated into many languages including three magical romances published in Germany. The first, Flights of Angels, was made into a film. Victoria and her husband flew out to Berlin to see it being filmed and got to be extras in it.
She is also the author of several romantic comedies including The Runaway Actress which was nominated for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Best Romantic Comedy of the Year.
Victoria was brought up in Norfolk before moving to Yorkshire where she got married in a medieval castle. After 11 years in London, she moved to rural Suffolk where she lives in a Georgian cottage with her artist husband, a Springer spaniel and her ex-battery hens. She's written about her experience of country life in three volumes of autobiography, Escape to Mulberry Cottage, A Year at Mulberry Cottage and Summer at Mulberry Cottage
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