LLB: Congratulations on your debut novel The Rose Master!
I read on your website that you’d previously written poems. What made you decide to write a novel?
VC: It was a challenge, I suppose. I dared myself to do it, to try to tell a story in more than a few lines.
LLB: Will you continue to publish poetry?
VC: Absolutely. I work on poems every day. They are a way to clear my head of any concerns or feeling that I just have to get down on paper but which might not fit into a story.
LLB: What was your inspiration behind The Rose Master?
VC: I have always been a fanatical lover of Gothic fiction. I read Jane Eyre when I was ten, followed closely by Wuthering Heights and many other Bronte novels and the delicious fear that I experienced reading them has never left me. With The Rose Master, I wanted to try my hand at my favorite genre and see if it is as much fun to write as to read. It is.
LLB: Which three words would you use to describe this book?
VC: Gothic. Frightening (I hope!). Atmospheric.
LLB: What is your favorite Gothic Romance novel?
VC: Jane Eyre. Mr. Rochester is the perfect Gothic male protagonist and Jane is a strong heroine that doesn’t really follow the Gothic novel rules.
LLB: You have five snakes and since you are a classical singer, do you ever sing to them? What are their names?
VC: Snakes don’t have ears, which means they only hear vibrations, and low ones at that. Since I am a coloratura soprano, which means I spend my time singing stratospheric high notes, they don’t really get to hear me sing. Though I’ve tried.
I have two ball pythons, one named Topkapi and the other Damascus. My Colombian red tailed boa is Barbossa; my two Kenyan sand boas are Tallulah and Tybalt, and they have recently had seven babies who don’t have names yet except from one named Sping-Bean, because she jumps around in a very unserpent-like manner.
LLB: Do you have any crazy/unusual writing habits?
VC: I don’t know if it’s unusual, but I can’t write with any noise. No TV in the background and definitely no music. I prefer as much silence as possible, which means working in cafes in the classic writer-style is out of the question.
LLB: What are you working on now?
VC: I have a new project I’ve just started but I am also going to start work on The Rose Master’s sequel. I already have the plot; I just have to actually sit down and write it!
LLB: If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
VC: I think I would cast a young Natalie Portman or maybe Mila Kunis as Anne. For Lord Grey, perhaps a young Benedict Cumberbatch or David Tennant (I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, by the way). For Lily, Eva Green, though she would have to die her hair a more auburn color.
LLB: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
VC: Keep writing. Write every day, and I mean every day. Even if it’s a few lines that you then delete. Writing is like any other craft and it needs practice, so don’t wait for those perfect moments of inspiration because they rarely if ever show up. Write like it’s your job, because it is.
Hand in hand with that, read every day, as well. Read everything you can get your hands on and step out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a sci-fi novel before, pick one and read it. Read self-published books as well as traditionally published ones. Every book can teach you something, even if it is how not to write.
LLB: What do you want those who have not read The Rose Master to know about it?
VC: If you’ve never read a Gothic novel or a historical novel, don’t worry: you don’t need to know anything about the time period or about the genre to enjoy the book. It has a bit of horror, a bit of comedy (which was a surprise even to me) and lots of romance.
LLB: Thank you for stopping by Lore Lush Books! It was great having you here. Please stop by anytime.
VC: Thanks so much for having me, it’s been lovely!