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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Monday, April 9, 2012 12:08 pm
Hostile Questions: Victoria Dahl
Posted by: Daniel Kraus

Everyone’s convinced that Victoria Dahl is the bee’s knees. (Provided that we’re talking about an abnormally titillating bee with unusually come-hither knees.) She’s the award-winning, USA Today-bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Impressive? Sure. But does she have the stamina to withstand my super-sexy cross-examination? Let’s get started — right after I slip into something a little more comfortable.

Just who do you think you are?

I’m a naughty romance writer with a heart of gold!

Where do you get off?

Jeez. Buy a girl a drink. This question automatically makes me think of that notorious Newlywed Game blooper, but I’m too classy to mention it here. [DK: I'm not too classy to mention it.]

As for where I get off being a writer? Well… I’ve always read romance. And I always wanted to write romance. But I wanted to write romances about the kind of women I know. Women who are strong and flawed and fun. Women who might want to settle down, but also those who’ve never even considered it. I wanted to write romances about heroines who know about sex, but maybe aren’t so sure about love. And I wanted to write about men who want them exactly as they are.

The thing is… romances are written for an audience that’s largely female. So I could never figure out why so many of the books I read featured men who resist love and commitment. Um… where’s the fantasy in that? Also… where’s the reality? That actually wasn’t my experience when dating. Fears about commitment and doubts about love seemed pretty equally divided, and that’s how I treat it in my writing. So… Yeah. That’s where I get off. ;-)

What’s the big idea?

Last year was a damn big year for me! I had one historical romance out, but also a whole contemporary series: Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do, and Real Men Will. The series is set around a family-owned microbrewery in Boulder, Colorado, and I had a few fun months of researching breweries. After I turned those books in, I slept for 40 days. I was awoken by a pail of cold water tossed on me by my editor with the news that I’d made the USA Today list. Twice. Now I’m back to writing again, and I’m almost fully recovered from last year’s slog, just in time for a new deadline.

What is your problem, man?

Well, I’ve written so many words on Twitter that I could’ve filled about 60 books. (That’s not just a sad joke. It’s also multiplication. And division. And soul-searching.) But right now, my biggest problem is that deadline stress I mentioned! The first two deadlines last year were okay, but then I needed a break. And I couldn’t have one. So I had to learn to write through it. Through stress, exhaustion, illness, working vacations, hatred of characters, the terrible realization that your protagonists have been having a conversation about how tired they are for the past twenty pages.

On top of that, I had to work through all of that AND write sex scenes that were hot enough to make readers gasp. If you want a little challenge in your life, try writing an intense five-page shower scene when you’ve got a kid home sick and you’re supposed to be cleaning the house for visitors. But I did it. And I’m stronger now. Not quite human, but I know I’ll be able to write 10 pages a day even during the darkest days of the coming zombie apocalypse. That’s something.

Haven’t you done enough?

Yes! I’m ready to lay my burden down! But I soldier on. Someone has to take on the question of how a jaded city girl and a red-blooded Wyoming cowboy can make it work despite all their differences! Close Enough to Touch will be out in August, and it’s the first in my new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Purple-haired girl from L.A. Broken down cowboy. Sexy sex. You’ll have to check it out. If only to honor my sacrifice of spending long days in Jackson researching the area. And the cowboys. And the breweries, just to be sure I got that last series right.

2 Responses to “Hostile Questions: Victoria Dahl”
  1. Catherine Says:

    And this pretty much sums up why I love Victoria Dahl. If I lived near her, I would buy her a drink. Amazing writer and obviously a funny and wonderful person.

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