I’ve been spotlighted on Romance Writers of Australia’s Blog.
Welcome to the Author Spotlight, V.K and congratulations on the release of ‘Unexpected Places’. Can you give us the blurb, please?
One treasure map; a pair of priceless emeralds; two very keen hunters — only one can win, but who says that competition can’t be a little fun?
When sweet, pretty Ariana Noonan knocks out treasure hunter Luke Donahue with a champagne bottle and steals his treasure map, he vows to get his map back, find the missing priceless emeralds…and exact a fitting revenge.
When Luke finally discovers Ariana in a dingy hotel on a remote tropical island, she’s in desperate straits and he finally gains the upper hand. Of course he will rescue her. His price? They act on the attraction that’s been simmering between them from the very beginning.
But all is not as it seems, and Luke’s sexy bargain turns up not only an unbelievable secret, but Ariana’s reasons for wanting the emerald. Suddenly, nothing is clear-cut anymore, and map or no map, Luke and Ariana are sailing into uncharted territory.
You write what you like to read, which is sexy romances with open bedroom doors. How have sexy romances changed in recent times to become more mainstream?
I really don’t know the answer to this one. The romance world, of course, has been enjoying sexy romances for ages. But the mainstream world? My bridge club is a good example of mainstream society. We have a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in the bridge library. Lots of Nora Roberts. Danielle Steele. No HM&B though. In the members’ attitudes to me, I haven’t experienced contempt or rude questions about when I’m going to write a “real” book. There seems to be a genuine admiration of and interest in the fact that I write and am published. There’s amusement about the sexy bit. Quite a few members have bought my books.
Who are your favourite sexy romance authors and what impact have they had on your writing.
There are a few authors who are automatic buys for me. Maybe my favourite is Kelly Hunter, closely followed by Heidi Rice. I really enjoy the tone of their books, their voices. There’s a light-hearted readability about their books I admire, and which I think has influenced my writing. There’s lots of other authors too. Melanie Milburne, Abby Green, Lynne Graham, Kristan Higgins, Julie James. And at the hot end of town, Cherise Sinclair and Lexi Blake.
You write in a number of genres, do you have a favourite?
Contemporary is my favourite genre, although I love World War Two historicals too.
Do you think that writing in different genres has improved your writing skills? Are there any other genres you are going to work in?
I guess by simply writing, your writing tends to improve. And by reading craft books. And by reading other authors’ books with an eye to their craft. When I re-read my first book, Lies and Seduction, a World War Two historical, I scrunch up my nose in a couple of places, as I’ve written things I wouldn’t now – although I still think the book is fun and a good read. I’m not sure if writing across the genres has improved my writing, except by keeping myself fresh, perhaps. There’s a World War Two/Time Travel in the wings.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
Read, play bridge (though more for the chatty fun – goodness, some of those bridge players get serious!), go to exercise classes, which means chat with friends at coffee afterwards, cook (eat) spicy food. Love curries. A nice glass of chardonnay of course helps with that relaxing.
Can you tell us about your current work in progress?
It’s another sexy contemporary, set on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. Originally, I wrote it as a short story told entirely from the man’s point of view. But the two publishers I submitted to both wanted to hear about the heroine’s story as well. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve had to change the heroine’s character, because as a damsel in distress she wasn’t terribly interesting. Although I rather enjoy reading about distressed damsels being rescued by big strong bad boys. Okay, it’s the big, strong, bad boys I’m interested in…
What does the future hold for Victoria Black?
It’s actually V.K. Black these days. I used to be the one and only Victoria Black, Author, out there, but there are heaps of us now, one of whom writes Wow, O.M.G., taken-by-the-team-you-get-my-drift erotica. I mean, what would the bridge club say? Hence the name change.
What I enjoy writing most, and what I’d like to investigate with a view to publishing, is short stories. I know everyone is self-publishing these days, but I’m so bad with technology, I’m really nervous about dipping my toe into that pond. Travelling is also on my agenda. Two months eating and drinking my way around the U.K. has but whetted my appetite.
Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Unexpected Places’, please?
This excerpt is from early in the first chapter, where Luke is about to meet Ariana.
Luke watched with interest as she approached him. He’d noticed her earlier, when he’d been chatting with his dad’s old secretary. A tiny, pretty little thing—the approaching blonde, not Mrs Abercrombie. She’d been standing all alone, gulping her wine. Then her attention had suddenly fixed on him. She’d started on the long approach, unaware, he was sure, that he knew she was coming.
There’d been the noise at Bob’s door last week. Someone had been listening, he was sure of it, and that person knew all about the missing emeralds and the map. He’d been expecting a stranger to approach him at some point, all week. And well, well, here she was. Another girl. Another one of Changpu’s little off-siders.
Of course, he could be misjudging her. Maybe she was a pretty girl who wanted sex badly, and had lousy timing. But he didn’t think so. There was a steely purpose behind the way she was currently stalking him.
Again, an unfamiliar fury rose within him. For Changpu to follow him into his own company was the final straw. He’d played nice up until now. He’d been a perfect gentleman to Mai Ling. But no more. Neither the old man nor this little employee of his could expect any mercy. Luke traced the still-painful line of his scar beneath his shirt.
His eyes roved leisurely over her sweet curves, enjoying the enticing bounce of her white breasts revealed by her sexy black dress. It hugged her trim little body and came to rest at her knees. Her femininely curved hips swayed with the help of heels that must be adding inches to her height. Pretty green eyes fixed on his face. Her cute half-smile, half pout drew her lovely full lips up at their corners.
Clenching his teeth, Luke felt the muscle tick at his jaw. His stomach tightened for battle. But, to his surprise, his cock rose in enthusiastic greeting. Luke smiled, enjoying the widening wariness of her eyes, enjoying how his fury and desire for revenge had mixed into a heady, potent cocktail of lust. Grabbing a glass of the cheap champagne they were serving tonight, he stepped toward her, crowding her.
He smiled again. Or at least did his best, forcing his lips to curl up into something approximating genuine warmth. “Hi. I’m Luke. Would you care for a glass of champagne?”