Virignia Henley is a multi-published, bestselling author of sweeping romantic historical titles. Her works have shown up on the NYTimes best sellers lists, twice and her strict recreation of historical details within her novels, has won her a legion of fans across genres. She currently makes her home here in the Tampa Bay area, and recently took time, once again, out of her busy schedule to speak with us.
You’ve recently self-published several backlist titles, what made you jump into self-publishing and have you been pleased with the results? Did it live up to your expectation?
Virginia Henley: I am on an email loop with a group of writer-friends. Two of them, Marsha Canham and Julie Ortolon owned the rights to some of their backlist books and about a year ago had self-published them on Smashwords and Amazon. This year it seems like there was a veritable explosion of authors who decided to turn their backlist books into ebooks. These two particular writers were enjoying great success and advised the rest of us on the loop to try it.
How did you choose which stories to self-publish?
VH: It was an easy decision for me which books to self-publish as ebooks. I got the rights back to two Avon books that I wrote at the start of my career. I paid to have these two books, BOLD CONQUEST and WILD HEARTS, scanned. When I got them back as documents I had to clean them up and correct all the typos, etc. That was a lot more work than I expected because scanned books are far from perfect. My friend Marsha Canham designed covers for me, and checked my formatting. Then I uploaded them to Smashwords and Amazon. These are the only two books that my publishers would revert the rights back to me. I also own the rights to two novellas and one short story, so last month I re-typed them into Word Documents, and put them up as ebooks.
Of all your works, can you tell us, which is your personal favorite, and why?
VH: Well, I actually have two favorites. The first is A WOMAN OF PASSION about the real historical woman Bess Hardwick. I gathered research on her for years and didn’t write her story until I finally felt confident enough to do her justice. Bess began as a servant girl with nothing, and before she was 35 she was the wealthiest woman in England, except for Queen Elizabeth the First who was a personal friend of hers. Bess had four husbands, and in A WOMAN OF PASSION I was able to tell the story of all four marriages. In the early years whenever she reached a goal, it was swept away from her. She simply picked herself up, and began again. I dedicated A WOMAN OF PASSION to strong, vital women everywhere. You know who you are.
My other favorite is TEMPTED, which is set in the Scottish Borders. I wanted to see if I could create a hero that my readers would hate at first, and then see if I could make them fall in love with him. Black Ram Douglas is the epitome of dark, dominant, and dangerous, with a good deal of lurking bastard inside of him. He is tough as boiled owl. So I created Flaming Tina Kennedy, who is a match for him, or to be precise she is MORE than a match for him. I call TEMPTED the book with everything, including a pair of ghosts!
Sounds like it does have everything! :)
What type of books do you like to read, for your own enjoyment?
VH: I devour history books. I love anything by Thomas B. Costain or George MacDonald Fraser. He writes magnificent history, and he also wrote the Flashman stories, which are irresistible.
I truly enjoy novels set in all periods of history, Medieval, Elizabethan, Restoration, Georgian, Regency, and Victorian. I like stories that are character driven, where you can smell and taste them, and they jump off the page.
Is there anything you haven’t yet achieved in your career—or any specific thing you haven’t written about yet—that you dream of doing something?
VH: I’ve been at it a long time and I’ve achieved much more than I ever dared to dream. I am toying with the idea of writing a time-travel about Princess Diana.
Ooh, a time-traveling Princess Diana, sounds interesting! ;)
And, finally, what can your fans expect from you, in the future?
VH: In September THE DARK EARL will be released. This is the third book in what I think of as my Peers Of The Realm Series. The first book is THE DECADENT DUKE, the second is THE IRISH DUKE.
I am presently working on the fourth and final book of the series which is titled LORD RAKEHELL. The hero is Lord James Hamilton, the Duke of Abercorn’s heir, who was a gentleman of the bedchamber to Queen Victoria’s son, the Prince of Wales.
We will be looking forward to all these releases, Virginia, and wish you all the luck with them! Thanks for speaking with us today! :) Folks, if you’d like to learn more about her most recent releases, The Irish Duke, and Letter of Love, I have reviews up here and here. And if you’d like to know more about Virginia Henley and her work, please see her website at http://www.virginiahenley.com/ or her page at Amazon that has a list of all her currently available titles!