Guest author – Victoria Milne

Let me state here and now that I love Victoria. And I love her hubby too! Even though they both look ten years younger than they are. I’m delighted to have her as my guest today.

So, Victoria, what inspired you to start writing?

Honestly…boredom! It happened without warning about three and a half years ago during a quiet period at work. I’d run out of things to look at on the Internet and was desperately trying to think of something to do to pass the time. A comment made by a colleague, joking that I should be a writer, inspired me and I began to write my first story. Once I’d started I couldn’t stop. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe I’d never thought to try it before. Writing has been a huge part of my life ever since.

What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?
It was one of the most terrifying, but also one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done. Seeing The Strawberry Farm for sale on Amazon and listed on Goodreads felt surreal at first. I kept checking the sites to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! It was then that it hit me just how far I’d come on my journey as a writer. It was a very special time.

Why this particular setting and era?
For the Love Unlocked anthology, our brief was to write a story inspired by the Love Lock Bridges. I’d spent some time in Paris the previous year and had actually walked along one of these incredible bridges. Inspired by my time there, I decided to set Writer’s Lock in modern day Paris.

Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?
Character and plot usually happen simultaneously for me. I don’t always start with the same one first, it depends on what has inspired me.
As for the tangent, I have a wonderful character who has a nasty habit of going rogue on a regular basis! His name is Max and he’s the main character in a series I am currently writing. At first I found his rogue tangents difficult to handle, and was particularly annoyed and frustrated with him when his actions caused an important new character to be discovered. It happened early on in the sequel and caused me to have to completely rewrite my plan for the story. I have since learned to plan less so there is room to let the story go where it needs to when this happens. Some of my best writing has happened when a character has gone rogue, so I now embrace it. It’s definitely exciting when it happens!

If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?
Oh my goodness, I think I’d be screwed, they’re hardly the most reliable bunch! There isn’t a clear candidate from my main characters, most of them would be hopeless in a real crisis. I would have to pick a minor character and that would be Mirabelle from Writer’s Lock. She has supported Laurent a great deal over the years and always sees through to the root of a problem in a no-nonsense sort of way. However, for pure entertainment value I’m tempted to pick Max, my rogue character. His heart is in the right place, but he hasn’t got a clue how to get out of a tight corner effectively and has a knack of making things far worse than they need to be!

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?
A thriller based around FBI agents or the military. It would take a lot of research for me to be able to do this effectively, and that’s something I don’t have enough time to do currently.

Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn’t finish?
This is probably going to make me very unpopular, but I find anything by Jane Austen difficult to get enthusiastic about and tedious to finish, particularly Mansfield Park.

What’s your favourite gay fiction book? And why?
That is such a difficult question to answer. I have lots of favourites and all for very different reasons.
After much deliberation, I’m going to pick the book I’ve found myself thinking about the most since finishing it, and that’s Dark Soul by Aleksandr Voinov. It hooked me from the first page and took me through a vast range of emotions at a deeper level than most novels. The characterization, pacing and tension were some of the absolute best I’ve read. I loved the fact that it kept me guessing until the very end and it is one of the few books I literally couldn’t put down.

What’s your next project?
I am currently working on a collaboration with Shayla Mist that we’re having a lot of fun with. As for my solo projects, I’m editing a novel about a musician (Max) who is exploring and coming to terms with his sexuality, and am hoping to have that published later this year. I’m currently writing the sequel to that novel and am also working on a m/m science fiction story that is in its early stages.

Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne was released on 14th February and is available from Beaten Track Publishing and all the usual outlets.

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