Today we are talking with New York Times Best Selling Author Victorine E. Lieske about her latest book Accidentally Married. Victorine has written several novels and short stories, and is a self-published superstar.
Good morning. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Hi Jerry! I’m thrilled to do this interview with you.
You and I first met just prior to your initial release, Not What she Seems. I believe you helped me critique my first story on a website called Critique Circle. You were far gentler than many that critiqued my story, but you were right on the money with your advice. For new writers who have yet to take that first big step, how important is that kind of honest, blood-and-guts critique process?
I’m so happy you asked this question, because I feel strongly that the gritty critique process is essential to finding success in the book selling world. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s often painful. But you come out of it a much better writer, and your books are a million times better. I highly recommend Critique Circle for those who haven’t found a local critique group. It’s free, and the system over there works really well. And, like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re not very active over there, you won’t get as much out of it, so I’d tell anyone thinking of joining in to jump in with both feet. You learn just as much, if not more, from giving out critiques as you do from getting them.
Your first book, Not What She Seems, was an absolute hit. It landed on the New York Times best seller list, and for good reason. It was a very good book. How has being on this prestigious list changed your world?
You know, I was so surprised when the book hit the NYT’s best seller list. It hadn’t been that long since the New York Times had started tracking eBook sales, and the indie world was a buzz about it. The biggest disappointment was the small print at the bottom of the list that had said they wouldn’t count self-published books. So, when I found out it had made it, I was truly shocked. It really hasn’t changed much about me, it’s just really fun to be able to put on my books. Plus, people take my advice a little more seriously. That’s pretty much all that’s changed.
You’ve since published a young-adult, science-fiction/romance story called The Overtaking and a couple short stories based in that world. Has your trip through Science Fiction been well received by your fans?
I really love The Overtaking. It sits close to my heart. Unfortunately, my fans aren’t as in love with the idea of a world being taken over by another race, and the love affair that happens between two members of the opposite races as I am. I have sold a few, and gained a few solid fans of the work, but it doesn’t sell nearly as well as my other novels. (Which I also love, and are dear to my heart. Whew, can’t have favorites, you know. They are like children!)
A few joint ventures later, and you have two new novels — Accidentally Married and Reluctantly Married. I’m not sure what genre these officially fall in. I like to call them Family-Friendly Romance books. They are romance novels, but not in the smutty way most people think. I, personally, really appreciate the kind of romance you generate in your stories. These seem to be going back to your roots, much more reminiscent of Not What She Seems. Is this the genre you are most comfortable with?
Thank you for saying they are Family-Friendly. I love romance, without the bedroom scenes, and I love being able to write whatever I like and share my passion for the sweet romance genre. I would put Accidentally Married and Reluctantly Married firmly in the Romantic Comedy genre. They really do read like a fun, lighthearted Rom-Com movie you’d go see with your girlfriends. (Or wife, if you’re a guy.) When I was writing Accidentally Married, my main goal was to make my writer’s group laugh when I read my chapter out loud. My favorite moment was when I had all the ladies in the room laughing so hard they were searching in their purses for tissues. That was great fun.
Accidentally Married focuses on the plight of a woman who shows up for a supposed job interview and ends up in a family situation that is over her head. What things led up to this idea in your mind?
I actually came up with the title before I wrote the book. The title came into my mind, and I thought, “How fun would it be to think of a plot in which the characters think they are faking a wedding for their family, but their family finds out about it and turns it into a real wedding.” It was great fun to form a plot around the title, and come up with crazy characters to fit the book.
When writing these kinds of romance stories, what is the number one thing you have to keep in mind as you are going through the writing process?
I always want to have plenty of attraction and tension in each scene. I also want my readers to laugh, so I try to find things that will bring on a giggle. But the whole thing can’t be funny, I like to put some serious bits in as well, to bring in some emotion. I try to put all of that into the book to make it a good read for my fans.
When you get to the end of the story, is there an overall theme that you want your readers to walk away with?
I don’t think too much about themes. My main goal is to have my readers walk away sighing because the characters professed their love, and the ending needs to have that satisfying “Ah,” moment. Yeah, it’s probably a girl thing. If there ends up to be a theme, it usually is by accident.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Before I let you go, I like to wind up on a lighter note. Humor me for just a moment: If you were an automobile — anything from a semi-truck to a moped — what kind of motorized vehicle would you be?
What an interesting question! Well, I’d have to say I’d be a Hybrid. I’m cheating, because I have a Ford Fusion Hybrid and I love that car. I love it for silly reasons. I keep my key in my purse and my car unlocks when I touch the handle, and it starts just by pushing a button. I love that I don’t have to dig my keys out of my purse. Plus, I can never leave my purse anywhere because my car won’t run without the key nearby. Silly, I know.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.