Tuesday, November 13, 2012 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Victoria H. Smith

The Write Way Café is happy to welcome author Victoria H. Smith today.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I first had the thought to write a book back in 2010. I had just started grad school and, surprisingly, had a little extra time to read fiction. I went in search for a book about people my age and wasn’t finding what I was looking for, so I decided I wanted to write a book about things I would enjoy reading. I was planning a wedding at the time, so finding the time to actually write a book wasn’t possible. A year later, I bought a book about writing fiction, and three weeks later, I had my first novel.

What was your path to getting this first book written and published? What type of research did you do?
When I first wrote The Crimson Hunt, I had no desire to get published. It wasn’t until I let others read it and they told me it was something worth pursuing that I even considered it. Once I made the decision, I did a Google search on how to begin. After I edited a few drafts of my novel, I put it aside and started looking for ways to make it better. I joined the online forum Romance Divas and found a critique partner. While editing with her, I discovered that starting a social media platform was a must, to not only meet fellow writers, but to reach out to readers. I started a blog, joined Twitter, and quickly found other writers. I started building my platform in November about two months after writing The Crimson Hunt. Fast forward to March of 2012, my media platform started picking up steam. The Crimson Hunt was starting to really look good since working with my critique partner, so I started researching small presses and agents. I quickly found out that what I write (fiction about college students), didn’t really exist and agents weren’t looking for it. I focused on small presses since some of them were actually taking those types of manuscripts. While searching, I stumbled upon a contest with a small press who took the types of manuscripts I write. I entered and won. I was signed by May 2012. While working with that publisher, I quickly realized I needed more flexibility, so I actually left and decided to self-publish my book. I am now officially an exclusively self-published author. The lesson I learned is there is no right or wrong way to publish a novel. With my work, I prefer a more hands on approach. I’m a planner and always have been, so I knew self-publishing was more my suit.

Where did the idea for your story come from? Was it always the first in a series? Tell us more about the Eldaen Light Chronicles.
The idea for The Crimson Hunt came from that gap in the fiction market I'd found. I wanted to write a book about college students, something I hadn’t seen in the market at the time. So with that foundation, I started thinking about all the things I loved seeing in movies. I wasn’t a big reader and movies were all I had to go by. I wanted a snarky, Bridget Jones-type character, thrown into a situation with a lot of action. I wanted heavy romance, but I also wanted fight scenes and a suspense/thriller setting. Once I drafted all the things I wanted to see, I put it all together and The Crimson Hunt was born. The Crimson Hunt is book one in the Eldaen Light Chronicles about a college junior who meets a mysterious new coed on campus. The coed quickly captivates the female protagonist with his charm and charisma, but her involvement with him leads to a horrific tragedy. Left alone and without many options, she is forced to rely on his aid, but she discovers he may not have her best interests at heart. She has to decide very quickly who her true allies or the ultimate cost could be her life.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
My book is set in the good ole’ Midwest on a fictitious campus. I chose the Midwest because it was my first novel, and I knew writing what I “know” would be best. Now, all my novels usually start in a Midwest setting. It’s where I’m from and what I know, so I can explain the setting very well. Though the college itself is made-up, it is based on my undergrad college campus, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are all completely imaginary. I created their personalities based on the level of conflict I could create. I gave all my characters specific quirks, hoping that I could create the best story off their personality types. I didn’t base any of my characters on any specific person, but I did study people in general to find quirks I liked. As far as elements of myself in my characters, they definitely have my sense of humor. My heroine is very snarky and bubbly, and that’s definitely my voice.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I, fortunately, did not have any blocks while I wrote The Crimson Hunt. This is because I used the Snowflake Method to write my story. I know my characters very well and researched their world heavily the world. I knew about a hundred things more than I needed to know to make the story. Since I had so much information, it pretty much wrote itself.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Surprises I have found while writing is how awesome the writing community is. There is so much camaraderie. Everyone wants to help each other and that’s outstanding. Another surprise? Writing sex is hard! I thought the hardest thing to write would be fight scenes and action scenes. Nope. Sex. Super hard. But once you get the hang of it, it’s the most fun.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world?
I learned while writing this book that I actually had a story to tell. I remember seeing all those books on the shelves at my local bookstores, and saying I could never do something like that. But I did, and if I could, anyone can.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Some of my favorite books are other novels in the new adult category. I love anything by Abbi Glines and Easy by Tammara Webber. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is also very good, as well. These are all contemporary, college stories. Outside of contemporary, NA author Lynn Rush has some great paranormal romances. She writes about angels, demons, and vampires, and they always feature twenty-something characters. Outside of new adult, I like The Hunger Games and anything by YA contemporary authors Simone Elkeles and Jennifer Echols.

What are you working on now?
I’m in between projects right now. I’ve decided to slow down and concentrate on editing so I can get my books out. I have a NA short, holiday romance coming out this month, too. But other than that, I plan on getting about three more novels out around the beginning of next year. The sequel to The Crimson Hunt and its novella are among them. They’re already written. Next summer, I plan to finish the series with the final full-length novel and two novellas.

About Victoria H. Smith:  Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the twenty-something characters she writes give her an earful about it. In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, blogging, reading, and sending off a few tweets on Twitter when she can. She writes new adult romance in the sub-genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary. But really, anywhere her pen takes her she goes. Her new adult science fiction romance, The Crimson Hunt, will be published November 2012. 

Where you can find Victoria:
Website:  http://twentysomethingfictionwriter.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHSmith
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VictoriaSmith76
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/victoriasmith76/


Rebecca C. Wright said...

Great interview Victoria:)

Robyn Bachar said...

Yay, Victoria! The Crimson Hunt is definitely on my To Read list. I love that cover. :)

Carrie Butler said...

"But once you get the hang of it, it’s the most fun."

Best. Quote. Ever! ;) Great interview!

HiDee said...

Thank you, Victoria, for answering our questions. We wish you the best of luck with your books!

Victoria Smith said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by, and thanks HiDee for having me on the blog!

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