An Interview With Vanessa Kelly Back to Blog

Update:  Thanks for all the comments!! The winner is…Rhonda! Congrats, Rhonda! You’ve won a copy of SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL.

Hi, everyone! Today I’m very excited to post an interview with fabulous author Vanessa Kelly.  Vanessa has a wonderful new book out–just look how awesome:

sex-and-the-single-earl-2I love that title.  :-)

Now on to interview fun!
1.    What inspires you?

I spent several years in graduate school studying women writers of the Georgian and Regency period.  Many authors like Fanny Burney and Maria Edgeworth were the popular novelists of their day.  They wrote some truly fantastic, page-turning books, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.  Most of these authors are no longer familiar to us, which is such a shame.  Women like Burney and Edgeworth, and Eliza Haywood helped to create the novel as we know it today.  Studying their lives and work was very inspiring.

I was also totally inspired by my reading as a teenager, which included Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, and Victoria Holt.  Those gals wrote damn fine books!  Who wouldn’t want to be like them?

2.    What is the best part of the writing life?

Finishing a book.  Seriously, I am such a slacker.  I don’t find writing to be an easy process, so I’m always profoundly grateful when the book is in the can.  And it is totally awesome to see your book in the bookstore.  I’ll never get over the thrill of that.

The second best part of the writing life is that it gives me an excuse to drink coffee.

3.    Okay, flip it. What is your least favorite part of the writing life?  What do you dread?

I dread having to come up with ideas for my next book.  Some of my friends are idea factories when it comes to thinking up new projects.  I have to pull them piece by agonizing piece out of my brain.  Fortunately, my husband and my critique partners are very creative, so they help me thrash out the ideas that eventually form the basis of my plots.

4.    What’s the best book you’ve ever read—why?

Hmmm.  I guess I’d have to distinguish between the best book I’ve ever read and my favorite book – or books.  I don’t think I could pick just one.  I think the best book I ever read was Moby Dick.  Melville’s command of the English language, the epic sweep of the novel, the bizarre but fascinating elements that make up the story, and the wonderful characterizations all knocked me over when I first read it.  Back in grad school, I adored everything I ever read by Melville.  Unparalleled awesomeness!

My favorite book?  Actually, I think I would have to list two.  The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer, and Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase.  For me, they epitomize everything wonderful about Regency romance which is, of course, my favorite genre!

5.    Tell us about your current release.  How did you come up with the premise for this story?  Did you plot the book out from the beginning or did you let the story lead you?

I actually have one book that just came out, and one book soon to be released.  My Regency-set historical romance, SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL, came out in the beginning of May.  It’s the second book in my series, which started with MASTERING THE MARQUESS.  It’s a friends-to-lovers story which takes place in Bath, England.  Sophie was a really fun heroine to write, especially since she keeps my hero, Simon, running in circles throughout the book.  And, yes, I plotted the book out from the beginning.  I find it much easier to write when I have a game plan.

The other book I have coming out is called CADDYGIRLS, and it’s a contemporary romance I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  It’s being released by Carina Press, which is Harlequin’s new digital imprint.  I’m so thrilled to be part of the first wave of authors for Carina, who I think is going to take the publishing world by storm.

6.    What’s one piece of advice that you would like to give to aspiring authors?

Educate yourself on the business of writing romance.  Join the Romance Writers of America, and follow some good agents and editors on their blogs or on Twitter. It’s a jungle out there, and the more you know the likelier your chances of success.  Oh, and write lots.  The more you write, the more accomplished your writing becomes.

7.    Any other wisdom you’d like to share!

Don’t take yourself too seriously, but take the business of writing seriously.  I find that’s a good combo for keeping my sanity intact.  At least I think it’s intact!

Thanks, Vanessa!

Do you have a question for Vanessa? Ask away! I’ll pick one commenter and send that lucky person a copy of Vanessa’s book via

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34 responses to “An Interview With Vanessa Kelly”

  1. Virginia C says:

    Hi, Vanessa! Congratulations on the success of your regency series. I am sure that many people will buy two copies of “Sex and the Single Earl”–one to read, and one to drool upon : )

    My first romance reads were written by Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and Jane Aiken Hodge. Their work remains most entertainingly readable! Regency romance strikes a certain chord withing many readers, and that resonance will not fade.

  2. gincam says:

    Hi, Vanessa! Congratulations on the success of your regency series. I am sure that many people will buy two copies of “Sex and the Single Earl”–one to read, and one to drool upon : )

    My first romance reads were written by Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and Jane Aiken Hodge. Their work remains most entertainingly readable! Regency romance strikes a certain chord withing many readers, and that resonance will not fade.

  3. Hi gincam! It is a great cover, isn’t it?

    I also cut my teeth on Georgette Heyer, and when I need I good comfort read she’s still my go-to writer.

  4. Edie says:

    Vanessa, we have the same taste in books, but I’m more of a pantser than a plotter. It’s great that Sourcebooks are re-releasing Georgette Heyer’s books. A new generation will read them.

    I just read your Caddygirls excerpt. It’s very good! And I like a friend to lover book, so I’ll definitely be getting Sex and the Single Earl. Love the title. Was that your idea?

  5. Keri Stevens says:

    How many CPs do you have? Are you an informal posse, or part of an organized group with rules and all?
    Tell how your CPs and you work together!

  6. Rhonda says:

    Vanessa, both books sound wonderful. I love friends to lovers and Sex and the Single Earl sounds great, historicals are my first reading love. Congrats on both releases! I’ve pre-ordered a few of Carina titles I will have to check out Caddygirls!
    How’d the idea of writing a contemporary with your husband come about?

  7. Sherry says:

    Love the titles. Very original. Looking forward to reading the new one.

    I cut my romance reading teeth on Victoria Holt novels (along with all her pseudonyms)

  8. Cynthia Eden says:

    Hi, Vanessa! Thanks so much for answering my interview questions! I loved Sex & The Single Earl. :-)

  9. Jeanette Juan says:

    Hi Vanessa! I’m loving the title of your book and it sounds like a fabulous read. I was wondering if you thought the cover art matches your idea of how Simon looks like?

  10. Quilt Lady says:

    Hi Vanessa, I love the cover of your new book! I have been hearing a lot of good things about it and I can’t wait to read it! Do you enjoy the research part of writing and what types of books do you read?

  11. Michele says:

    Hi Vanessa :)

    Your books sound great, need to grab them :) You commented that your latest Regency release is part of a series, 2nd actually, do you have more planned in this series and if so how many? Also, what are the connections between the books?

    Thanks so much for stopping by have a great weekend :)

  12. Michele says:

    Hi Vanessa :)

    Your books sound great, very excited to get a copy of them. You mentioned that the your newest release is part of a series, how many are planned to be in this series? Also, how are the books connected? Friendships, family memembers…

    Thanks for stopping by Vanessa, have a great weekend!!

  13. Michele says:

    LOL, ok had a moment with my computer and now my comments come through twice, sorry Vanessa and Cynthia :(

    Technology can be so dangerous…

  14. Sorry to be MIA. I was out at an appointment this morning. What fun questions and comments!

    Edie, the title for Sex And The Single Earl was actually my husband’s idea – as a joke! My editor wanted a sexy title, so Randy and I were wracking our brains trying to come up with something. After a few glasses of wine (ahem!) that’s what he came up with. I emailed my editor as a joke and he said, hey…I kind of like it! The rest is history.

    Keri, I have three CPs, and we’re a pretty informal bunch. My hubby Randy is one of them, of course. For my historicals, he does a brutal line by line edit, which is painful but very useful. My two other CPs do something that is more like a beta read – which is what I also do for them – and we also do lots of brainstorming. If we’re pressed for time we often just get on the phone or go for coffee and talk problems through, rather than doing a formal critique.

  15. Rhonda, the idea to have my husband write was born of desperation. He was taking early retirement, and I knew I would probably kill him if he didn’t have anything to do. Turns out, he used to write fiction when he was young and he loved it, so it was the perfect solution! We decided to write contemporaries because we knew of some Harlequin husband/wife teams doing the same. Plus, Randy wanted to write some books with athletes as the hero or heroine. He’s a sports nut, so it was a natural fit.

  16. Fedora says:

    Hi, Vanessa! Great interview, and I’m adding your book to my TBB! How absolutely fabulous that your husband reads your work and that you can work as a team!! I’ll be looking for Caddygirls, too! Are you working on some more titles together?

  17. Hi Sherry – thanks for stopping by!

    And Cynthia, you are a most gracious hostess – thank you for having me on the blog.

    Jeanette, the model on my cover is younger than how I envision Simon, but I think he’s totally hot – which is what we wanted to convey! And I think the cover really matches the title.

  18. Quilt Lady, I do enjoy the research part of writing. I have some old stand-bys that I use for my research, including books like the London Encyclopaedia, diaries and histories of the period or written shortly thereafter, and reference books like Jane Austen: The World of her Novels, by Deidre LeFaye. I also troll the internet for books particular to each novel’s topic. For instance, Sex And The Single Earl was set in Bath, so I tracked down a number of books on the history and architecture of that town. I do use the internet to research, but I prefer books. And when I really need help I work with a wonderful university research librarian.

  19. Hi Michele! I have two more books to go in my series. The next one, My Favorite Countess, will be out in spring of 2011. The series is connected through a particular family introduced in my first book, Mastering The Marquess. It’s the Stanton family, and members are either the heroine or heroine of each particular books or are involved in the action. The heroine of My Favorite Countess is actually Bathsheba, the villainess in Sex And The Single Earl. I thought it would be fun to reform her.

  20. Hi Fedora! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, my husband and I are finishing up another contemporary romance set in Las Vegas. We’re also working on a couple romantic suspenses, which have been really fun to write.

  21. JOYE says:

    Enjoyed reading the comments. The book is on my TBR list for the summer.
    My question is Why do you think the women of the Regency period were such extraordinary writers? Was it because women were such good observers of human nature?

  22. Critique partners are the best, aren’t they? I’m so looking forward to reading your book! Great interview. :)

  23. hi vanessa and cynthia! great interview! my question: do you listen to music while you write or do you need silence? also, what three songs would be in a sex and the single earl soundtrack?

  24. Joye, that is a fascinating question! I think those women were great observers of human nature, perhaps because their lives were more circumscribed than ours. Domestic relations were critically important to them. I also think they had a better relationship with the written word than many of us do today. They communicated through letters – lots of letters – and many, like Fanny Burney, kept very detailed diaries. They wrote all the time, which certainly is one of the secrets to being an accomplished writer.

  25. Rebecca, I don’t know what I’d do without my critique partners. I probably wouldn’t be published without them!

    Michelle, I need absolute silence to work and read. I’m always shushing my poor husband, which drives him crazy! As for songs for the soundtrack…that’s a tough one! OK, how about, She Drives Me Crazy, by the Fine Young Cannibals, Beyond My Wildest Dreams, by Mark Knopfler and EmmyLou Harris, and I’m Too Sexy, by Right Said Fred. The last is my husband’s contribution!

  26. Nikki B says:

    Im totally new to the historical romance genre, and Im looking forward to reading this book! Im having issues with my computer today so excuse my questions if its been asked earlier (I cant see replies for some reason). How much research goes into your books? Have you visited any of the places you write about personally or do you rely on the historical books/websites to guide you?

    BTW wow that cover guy is YUMMMMMMMMMY! My goodness….

  27. Nikki B says:

    And yup as this posted the replies showed up…its been a bad day LOL…so yup you answered those questions LOL

    So have you have had “one of those days” lol…guess thats gonna be my question :) lol

  28. Nikki, I’ve been having computer problems all week. A friend told me that it’s because Mercury is in retrograde! As for your question, I did have the opportunity to go to visit England last year on vacation, and I went to Bath. It was so much fun imaging scenes for the book!

  29. Diane Sadler says:

    Any special genre you would like to try?

  30. Diane, someday I’d like to turn my hand to historical fiction – like the ones Phillipa Gregory writes. I think it would be a wonderful challenge crafting a story that blends historical events and personages with fictional characters.

  31. Chelsea B. says:

    Wow, great interview! I especially loved the part where you said your heroine keeps the hero running in circles throughout the book! :-) And I ADORE friends to lovers stories!

  32. Barbara Elness says:

    I discovered Georgette Heyer in my late teens at the library. I devoured all her books that they had. A little later I discovered Barbara Cartland (those were some sweet, innocent romances) and I was hooked. I just love the title of your book, Sex and the Single Earl. Those titles that play on words of a movie, book, etc. are my favorites.

  33. Book Junkie says:

    Hi Vanessa!

    If you could spend one day with any ONE of your characters who would you choose and why??

  34. LSUReader says:

    Vanessa, I’m always impressed by writing teams. But with your husband? I’m thinking you each deserve gold stars for that. Please tell us a bit about the writing process the two of you use. Thanks for visiting.