Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Wednesday Promo- Victoria Gray

Victoria Gray wrote her first story soon after she started elementary school. When she was in the third grade, her mother bought her a Smith Corona manual typewriter. She was officially a writer!
A trained librarian, Victoria uses her research skills to explore other eras in time. Her interest in research is a perfect fit with her work as a writer of historical romance.
Victoria lives in Virginia with her own hero, her husband Greg. The mother of two sons who are used to their mother burning food to a crisp when she runs back to her computer to write just a little bit more, she enjoys cycling, hiking and long walks on the beach when she’s not writing, reading or burning dinner.

Why did you write about the Civil War?

First of all, I’m a history buff – my interest lies primarily in American history, and I’ve always been fascinated by the Civil War. Growing up in Virginia, one of the states most affected by the war, I was surrounded by historic battlefields and the sites of Union blockades. I’ve walked on the beach at the coastline of the Chesapeake Bay where the battle of the ironclads Monitor and the Merrimac (also known as the C.S.S. Virginia) was fought in 1862.

The Civil War was one of the greatest trials this nation has ever faced. Great leaders emerged on both sides of the conflict, while men and women in the North and the South made great sacrifices to support the causes in which they so passionately believed. The emotional toll was perhaps the greatest this country has ever faced – the phrase brother against brother was in some cases a horrible reality. The war tore families apart and created hardships that lasted for many years after the surrender at Appomattox.

In addition, photography captured the true horrors of the Civil War. For the first time, men who suffered injuries or died became more than numbers in battle statistics. I can spend hours going through Civil War-era photographs of the military men and the women who loved them. Diaries from the Civil War era also provide vivid depictions of the human aspect of the war.

What about this time period makes it a good background for romance stories?
Given the tumultuous nature of this tragic time in American history, the potential as a historical romance setting is virtually unlimited. Whether we’re thinking about spies, battles, heroes, or scoundrels – all were in abundance during the Civil War.

Many Civil War stories feature Northern heroes and Southern heroines, or vice versa. Naturally, such a conflict can produce a terrific, heartwarming romance. My new release, Destiny, is unique in that both the hero and heroine are Northern – Jack Travis is a daring Union cavalry officer and Emma Davenport, the woman he takes captive, the spirited daughter of a powerful Northern senator. The abduction isn’t what it seems – Jack’s not after ransom or secrets. He’s out to keep Emma safe from a scoundrel.

Angel in My Arms, the sequel to Destiny, centers around a Union spy ring working out of Richmond. Elizabeth Van Lew and her ring of female spies provided the models for the beautiful spies in this story. This story also introduces a Confederate officer who puts his life – and his heart- on the line to protect a beautiful Northern spy.

What genres do you write and why?
I write historical fiction because I’m fascinated by history. I adore the sense of being transported to a different time and place a historical romance provides. I’m particularly interested in our country’s history, the rugged men and spirited women who met hardships with courage to make our country great. At this time, I’m primarily interested in the Civil War years and those of the gilded age of the 1890s.

Emma Davenport was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her, not even an outlaw. Bound for a forbidden marriage to her father’s sworn enemy, Emma’s scheme shatters when she is abducted and spirited away to a remote hideout. Any proper young woman would be frightened out of her wits, but she challenges her daring, seductive captor at every turn.

Major Jack Travis was used to the battlefield, not stealing spoiled, sheltered women from trains, but the by-the-book officer never doubted his ability to carry out orders until he laid eyes on Emma. His captive is intelligent, headstrong, beautiful – and forbidden. He risks his neck to protect her. But how can he protect her from himself?

Emma curled up on the porch steps beside an oil lamp and immersed herself in Cathy and Heathcliff’s story. She nearly dropped the book when Jack’s husky voice murmured in her ear.
He crouched behind her, his breath warm against the nape of her neck. The aroma of whiskey mingled with his natural essence in a masculine blend that tantalized her sense of smell. “So, tell me about these lovers, Miss Davenport.”
His voice seemed deeper, more raw than she’d become accustomed to, his words spoken more slowly in a sensuous drawl. His face brushed hers, prickling her skin with the stubble on his unshaven jaw and chin. “Do they live happily ever after?”
Emma felt a stirring in her core as she breathed in his scent. A lump formed in her throat, and she stared at the page she’d been reading. She shook her head vigorously as his shadow beard grazed her cheek. “It’s quite sad, actually.”
“Tell me more,” he whispered, sending a shivery caress down the length of her spine.
“They are hopelessly star crossed. Even though Heathcliff loves Cathy, they can never be together.”
“Heathcliff?” Jack repeated.
“Heathcliff,” Emma pronounced the name with solemn precision. “He’s English.”
Jack brushed his mouth against her ear. “Of course. He couldn’t be an uncouth American, an uncivilized barbarian.”
Emma wriggled around to face him. “Heathcliff is a dark and troubled hero. He’s utterly romantic. He continues to love Cathy even after she’s died giving birth to another man’s child.”
He traced the curve of her cheek with his finger. “Miss Davenport, do all the men in the novels you read wind up scarred or crippled or alone?”
She pressed her lips together, struggling to ignore the sensation of his touch. “That would seem to be the case.”
His fingertip made tiny circles over her earlobe. “Why do you enjoy reading about tortured men?”
Emma never knew her ears would be so sensitive to a man’s caress. She licked her lips and twisted away from him. “The characters are brooding and romantic. They suffer for love.”
His arm snaked around her waist, dragging Emma against his unyielding male body. “Shouldn’t love bring pleasure, Miss Davenport?”
“You shouldn’t…we shouldn’t do this,” she gasped, struggling to keep her wits about her as his heat and touch threatened to overwhelm her senses.
“Answer my question, and I’ll leave you alone with your tortured hero. Shouldn’t love bring pleasure?”
The note of desire in his husky rasp shredded her meager defenses. “I don’t know,” she whispered, feeling her voice catch in her throat.
“I think you do,” Jack persisted, moving his lips to caress her lobe as his finger had moments earlier. “Shouldn’t love bring pleasure, Emma?”
He spoke her name as a seductive caress against her nape. His mouth burned a trail along the thin line of flesh exposed above her high collar. “Answer me, darlin’. Or should I try to convince you that I’m right?”
She shook her head. “You don’t need to convince me,” she murmured. “Love should bring pleasure.”
He smiled, his mouth curving wickedly as honey-brown eyes raked over her. “You don’t sound completely certain, Emma. I do need to convince you.”

To learn more about Victoria and purchase her book go


Aislinn said...

I've loved Civil War-era romances since I read Heather Graham back in the 80s. I'm glad a few authors are still writing them. I loved DESTINY and am looking forward to the sequel.

M Pax said...

The Civil War is fascinating. I spent many years in Virginia and my brother [a historian] loves the topic. My great, great [more greats?] grandfather was a union soldier and my brother found a diary kept by his regiment in rare books at the Erie County Library in Buffalo. Stories from this era are wonderful - true & fictionalized. Even so, it had to be harder than we can imagine.

Paty, I answered your challenge from Friday today. :D

Victoria Gray said...

Thanks, Aislinn. In the 90s, Civil War romances seemed to be everywhere. I don't know why many publishers regard them as "poison" - the English Regency period is certainly a romantic time, but there's a lot to be said for an American hero. :)

Victoria Gray said...

M Pax,

Where were you in Virginia? I'm in southeast Virginia but I've traveled the whole much history to see!

Wow,that diary is an awesome find.

Thanks for stopping by!

Susan Macatee said...

Awesome excerpt, Victoria! And I agree that the Civil War is full of romance and danger. It sure stimulates my imagination.
Best of luck with your new release!!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Victoria,

I like to write historicals because they almost write themselves because life is so much more interesting than fiction. I have a vivid imagination that takes the events I find and tries to turn them into a romance.

Your story sounds really interesting in such a horrific time of this country's history.

Isabel Roman said...

Hi, Victoria, lovely to see you again. Best of luck with Destiny! The American Civil War is a wonderful period to write about.

Margaret Tanner said...

I have loved Civil War romances since reading Gone With the Wind. And I too, just adore writing historical romances, although mine are set in frontier Australia, not dissimilar to your wild frontier.



Victoria Gray said...

The Civil War was a terrible time in American history, but it was a time when people passionately stood up for what they believed in. That conviction is the stuff that great conflicts, romantic and otherwise, are made of.

PS - Margaret - Frontier Australia is a fascinating setting.

April Ash said...

I have to admit I haven't read a Civil War romance, but yours sounds intriguing! Many wishes for good sales.

Joyce Moore said...

Victoria ; I enjoyed your post, and the excerpt sounds tantalizing! I've read a few Civil War novels, and I think yours will be the next. Nice interview and well done.

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Victoria, I just love Civil War stories. I think because I first lost my heart to GWTW. I remember Bruce Catton and Gwen Bristow sagas from my teen years. This sounds like a keeper.

Thanks for inviting her, Paty. oxoxox

Victoria Gray said...

Thanks, ladies, for your encouragement. I'm so happy to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't think a man has to have "Lord" in front of his name to be sexy :)

Oh, Aislinn, you mentioned Heather Graham - I'll have to find a few of her older releases and reread them.

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Victoria! I loooove the Civil War. I'm a huge buff, and have visited most of the major battlefields in VA. Plus I have a collection of CW weapons, and my kids are too little to understand what they're all about right now, but I figure sooner or later they'll come to the realization that mom is really cool :)

Your book sounds awesome and I wish you the best!