Friday, 8 April 2016

Debut Spotlight: Victoria Walters

Yesterday was the publication day for today's spotlight guest Victoria Walters who I finally got to meet in person at the book launch last night for her debut novel The Second Love of My Life.  It feels like I've known Victoria forever as I've followed her writing/publication journey online over the last couple of years.  

What made this book launch so special was that it was held in the branch of Waterstones that Victoria works in so I'm sure it must have been a surreal moment for her to see so many copies of her own book being sold there... although I'm sure her writing hand must be a little sore this morning after signing them all ;0) 


Victoria Walters has always loved creating stories. Her first book was handwritten when she was sixteen years old, and was closely modelled on the Sweet Valley High series. Victoria studied sociology at Warwick University and has since worked for a business publisher and as a Waterstones bookseller. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter, not Harry Styles).

Her debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE will be published by Headline in 2016.

DANCING IN THE FIRE, her New Adult romance, was the winner of a short story competition run by Simon and Schuster and is available as an eBook exclusive now.

You can discover more about Victoria - and find pictures of Harry the cat - by following her on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at: http://victoria-writes.com.

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel The Second Love of my Life?
Sure – it’s about a woman called Rose who is struggling after the sudden death of her husband Lucas two years ago. She is an artist who can’t paint and is struggling to see a future without Lucas by her side. Then a newcomer sweeps into her small town in Cornwall for the summer and she has to decide if she can allow herself the chance to love again, or not. 

Where did the inspiration come from to write about a young widow struggling to move on with her life rather than just someone who had had her heart broken by a break up of a relationship/marriage?  
I’ve read a few books where the love interest meets their demise at the end and I thought it would be interesting to write a story where it happens at the beginning. Dealing with grief is something we all have to face at some point, and I lost my father at a a young age so it is a subject I think about a lot. I wanted to explore how a woman might deal with the grief of losing her husband so suddenly and at such a young age when she thought they would have the rest of their lives together. 

In the blurb it mentions that in the Cornish town of Talting everyone is famous for something, can you give us a teaser as to what makes this town and its characters so special?
I loved creating Talting! It’s a beautiful small town right on the Cornish coast and has a cast of quirky characters who are in each other’s lives and businesses. Like most small towns I suppose most people know one another and there is gossip but it’s also a really tight-knit community and everyone is supportive of Rose and they all want to see her happy again. 

Your short story The Summer I Met You has been billed as a prequel to The Second Love of My Life but the main characters featured are Emma and John, although we are introduced to Rose and her first love Lucas, was it always your intention to write this as a separate story? 
When Headline offered me a deal for the novel, they asked for a short story to be released first and I knew instantly I wanted to tell Emma and John’s story. Emma is Rose’s best friend and the focus is on how she meets her husband, but Rose and Lucas appear in the story too. It was bittersweet to look at them during that summer knowing what happens to all of them later on.

If you had to describe Rose in three words, what would they be?
Loyal, kind and creative 

There has been a great buzz for several months now surrounding The Second Love of my Life, early readers have loved it. Does this help with the excitement in the build up to publication day or do you feel extra pressure especially as you might be writing book two?
I am so happy you think there is a buzz about the book! I am incredibly nervous about reviews, sales all of it but I am also so excited for people to read it and I just hope people love the story as much as I did when I wrote it. I have finished book two and it did help to keep me calm! I can’t wait to see The Second Love Of My life on the shleves. 

Had you always wanted to be a writer or did this dream develop as you were surrounded by books as a bookseller for Waterstones?
I think I did always want to be a writer. I have always been a bookworm and my mum always says I used to write stories when I was younger. I am an only child so I relied a lot on my imagination! About six years ago I started to take it more seriously and I wrote a book that I tried to get an agent for so six years later, I finally have a book coming out! There were a lot of ups and downs on the journey to be published but it was all worth it in the end. I became a bookseller after I did something crazy and quit my day job in HR to focus on making my dream of being published come true and I love being surrounded by books!

Now that you've achieved your dream of becoming a published author, have you any advice for other aspiring authors?  
I would definitely say if it’s your dream just keep going! It will be hard, most writers get a lot of rejections but put in the time and get your manuscript in the best shape possible and hopefully you will get there. Getting feedback on your writing can help you improve and reading the genre you write in and around it too is really important I think.

Did you treat yourself to anything special to celebrate your publishing deal with Headline?
I went away with my mum for the weekend to celebrate - she is super proud bless her! 

Finally how does it feel to know that you're going to be launching your book in the Waterstones store that you work in?
It feels really surreal! I am so excited for the launch party and so grateful that Waterstones have been so supportive of me and this book. I think it’s going to be crazy if someone comes to the till with my book, I might just burst into tears!!

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

Whilst at the launch last night I bought an extra copy of The Second Love of my Life, which Victoria has kindly signed, as a giveaway prize for one lucky follower to win.  But don't worry if you're the not the first name selected by Rafflecopter to win the signed book as I do also have 2 signed The Second Love of my Life postcards to give away as well.


You know the drill, giveaway open to existing followers only (entries will be validated) via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 comments:

  1. I'm really looking forward to reading Vicky's debut novel. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely night must have been! Victoria looks so happy! I've heard great things so far about her debut :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a lovely giveaway, must have been such a good night to go along to!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sharon I would love to read this - love books set in Cornwall, my favourite holiday destination. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like the sound of this, thank you for a lovely giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations Victoria on your debut novel and I look forward to reading it! Thank you Sharon for running this great giveaway xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for another fab giveaway Sharon. Lx

    ReplyDelete