Q&A With Virginia Heath
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Q&A With Virginia Heath
My latest guest whom I’m doing this Q&A with today is with historical romance author Virginia Heath. Virginia is the author of the novels Never Fall for Your Fiancé, Never Rescue a Rogue, & Never Wager with a Wallflower!
Q: Would you like to tell the readers of the blog a little bit about each book and how you came up with the concept for them?
A: I love writing about family dynamics and as I’d already done a Regency series involving brothers (The Wild Warriners) I figured it was the turn of sisters. I also love the social history of London involving those not from the aristocracy. Many of my ancestors lived in the slums of the capital during the 19th century, so I like to use some of that as a backdrop. That’s why the Merriwell Sisters come from the wrong side of the tracks and are close to destitution in the first book—Never Fall for Your Fiancée. Why the London Docks and Fleet Street play a big part in Never Rescue a Rogue and why the soon to be released Never Wager With a Wallflower is mostly set in Covent Garden, near the notorious rookery of Seven Dials. I also love to write a strong, independent heroine and all three of my Merriwell Sisters are that. All of them have careers and none of them need rescuing by the heroes. But obviously, hopeless romantic that I am, I send Minerva, Diana and Venus the perfect heroes for them—although none of them realize that they are Mr. Right straightaway of course. And finally, I wanted to write a trio of stories that made my readers laugh as well as sigh. Life is always funny, and there is great fun to be had when you mix a bunch of headstrong characters together!
Q: What drew you into writing historical romance?
A: I’m a historian by trade. A history teacher to be exact, who spent decades, teaching inner city teenagers the joy of the subject here in the UK. When you deal with all those raging hormones, you either need to be very strict or very funny to survive in a classroom or they’ll eat you alive. I chose funny over strict and as one of the compulsory periods of history that I had to teach was the British 19th century and the textbooks were all very dry, I started digging deeper into the period to make it more interesting. That gave me my love of that century and then I discovered Julia Quinn, then Sabrina Jeffries, Julie Anne Long and Lorraine Heath, who all gave me the love of the Regency Romance genre. I started as a reader first and then, because I’d always dreamed of being an author from a kid, I became a writer of them. My first book, That Despicable Rogue, signaled my debut as a historical romance author and the end of my teaching career. Thirty books later and it’s a career change I haven’t regretted for a second.
Q: When did the realization come that you wanted to become an author and that it was your calling in life?
A: In my Amazon bio, it says that when Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time when she was staring at the ceiling. That is 100% true. I think I made up stories even before I learned to read and I’ve always had a vivid imagination. Once I did learn to read I became a voracious reader and I knew I wanted to be an author by the time I turned 7 so I guess it was always in my DNA. However, despite continuing to make up stories in my head, I never felt brave enough to write them down and chase my dream until I hit the tender age of 46. I am so glad that I did as I officially have the best job in the world!
Q: Where is your favorite spot or spots where you sit down and research, plot, write and edit your historical romance stories?
A: This is going to be a very boring answer I’m afraid because I have an office and it all happens there. I don’t plot. I’m a complete panster (an author who writes by the seat of their pants) so I never know what words are going to fill up the blank page on my computer screen until I type them. Bizarrely, I see and hear stories in my head like a film and just write down what happens. Because of my history background, my head is stuffed full of information on the Regency, and so are my bookshelves so I tend to research as I go along. Unless it’s something really complicated that requires me to invest in a new book and do some serious reading.
Q: Other than historical romances, what other genres would you explore writing in and why?
A: I might write historical but I’m still a Rom Com writer, so I’d love to do a contemporary Rom Com some time. I’ve made a start on one and just need a gap in my busy writing schedule to finish it!
Q: How long does it take for you to typically write a book?
A: I’ve always been an all-or-nothing sort of girl so I’m either writing a book or I’m not. I also write fast (because of the whole film in my head thing and because I get easily bored) so a book tends to take me around 12 weeks to write. The fastest was 6 weeks and the slowest 20.
Q: Does the entertainment industry have the rights and interests in your work? I could see PBS Masterpiece doing a great job with these books. Also the entertainment industry needs new material.
A: No! But I’d love someone to make my Merriwells into a TV series, so if anyone has any contacts as Netflix…
Q: Are you currently writing your next book now? If so can you reveal any details?
A: Despite Never Wager With a Wallflower being published this fall (11/7/23), I am currently writing book 2 of a 2nd Regency Rom Com series for St Martin’s Press. Miss Prentice’s Protégées will be 4 books about a group of friends who all went to the same Regency ladies school together where they have learned to be governesses, secretaries or companions. Book 1 is called All’s Fair in Love and War and is already up for pre-order. This is an early peek at the blurb—
A new Regency romp of a series, about governess who believes in cultivating joy in her charges, clashes with the children’s uncle who hired her, only to find herself falling in love.
When the flighty older
sister of former naval captain, Harry Kincaid, decides on a whim to accompany
her explorer husband on an expedition to Egypt, he finds himself unwittingly
left in the lurch with her three unruly children and her giant, mad dog. With no
clue how to manage the little rascals, a busy career at the Admiralty that
requires all of his attention and no idea when his sister is coming back, Henry
has to hire an emergency governess to ensure that everything in his ordered
house continues to run shipshape. In desperation, he goes to Miss Prentice’s
School for Girls prepared to pay whatever it takes to get a governess quick
sharp to bring order to the chaos.
Thanks to her miserable, strict upbringing, fledgling governess Georgina Rowe does not subscribe to the ethos that children should be seen and not heard. She believes childhood should be everything that hers wasn’t, filled with laughter, adventure, and discovery. Thankfully, the three Pendleton children she has been tasked with looking after are already delightfully bohemian and instantly embrace her unconventional educational ethos. Their staid, stickler-for-the-rules uncle, however, is another matter entirely.
Georgina and Harry continue to butt heads over their differences, but over time it seems that in this case, their attraction is undeniable, and all is indeed fair in love and war.