It is difficult enough to be a writer. I really admire those who persevere despite the difficulties and keep going at it until they’ve reached success. I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Browne, author of Third Time Luck: The Honey Trap. I find the story of how she overcame her dyslexia as a writer truly inspiring.
Michael: Victoria, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Victoria: Qualifying as a dental nurse I worked in Harley Street London, before moving into the world of real estate. During this time I also qualified as a mortgage broker and eventually opened my own estate agency that I sold in 2012.
I finished writing my first book Gut Feeling in 2009 after a long struggle with dyslexia. With a great deal of determination, I progressed to where I am today, living in Santa Monica LA with my Husband Jon and cat Poppy. I now self publishes through Neville House Publishing and enjoy an enriched life by the beach.
Along with writing I love all things to do with physics and space. And to keep fit, I Thai Box.
Michael: Wow, it must have been hard to even enjoy reading and writing with dyslexia. So, I got to ask, where and when did your writing journey begin? And how did having dyslexia affect the way you live and write?
Victoria: I thought that I would never be a writer because I had dyslexia and couldn’t read. My mum was my inspiration. As a young girl I remember my mum reading to me “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton. My love for books grew with each story my mum read to me. I kept reading and writing in private with great difficulty until I sought help for my dyslexia at the ripe old age of Twenty-five.
One day I was happily reading Can You Keep a Secrete By Sophie Kinsella. As I read, I started to think that my book had a similar feel good factor and that my writing was nearly as good as Sophie’s / Madeline’s (minus the spelling errors and bad gamma). So I researched and found my editor Martin Noble. I asked him to appraise my manuscript then worked with Martin to polish it up ready for release in 2012. And the rest is history.
Growing up with dyslexia was very humiliating and frustrating. I wouldn’t say that dyslexia influence my writing any more as modern technology such as Google and spell check has eliminated a lot of early issues for me. As a dyslexic I have to check and double check my work which is time consuming but not impossible. If you want something enough then it is possible if you are committed and passionate about it, you just need to find a different way to achieve the same result.
Michael: Must have been some very inspiring books you were reading as you were growing to get you to enjoy them despite your struggles. Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Victoria: I would have to say Sebastian Faulks. My very first audio book was ‘Bird Song’ and my mum bought me ‘The girl at the lion d or’ for my twenty-first birthday, both books I hold close to my heart. He is such a good writer; I love his descriptions and connections with his characters. Other writers such as Jilly cooper ‘Wicked’ to name just one, and all the Danielle steel books have influenced me. I love all three of theses novelists, but there are so many great writers out there.
Michael: What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
Victoria: Well, I am supper organised so I love a routine. Monday to Friday I get up and go for a run on the beach. I then come home and have breakfast with my working buddy, Poppy (my cat.) I Normally start work at ten. I have a monthly schedule that I plan out so that I can just look at my diary and know what I’m doing from day to day. It is a juggling act between marketing, writing and blogging. I then stop work at about six, to start the dinner for when my husband gets home. On the weekends I tend to have a brake from all exerting and marketing; however, on a Sunday morning, you will find me from time to time in a coffee shop writing.
Michael: Let’s talk about your novel. So how did you come up with the idea for Third Time Lucky – The Honey Trap?
Victoria: I really could not tell you. I remember having an idea about a honey trap that goes wrong and then I built on that. In the beginning it was called ‘The Honey Trap’ and my editor turned it away. I then took his feed back on board and re wrote the book in parts to create ‘Third Time Lucky – The Honey Trap’. Martin was very pleased when I sent the revised copy to him and so was I. If there is one thing I value most as a writer, it is honest constructive feedback from my team.
Michael: Of all the different age groups to write about, why did you decide to focus on the teens?
Victoria: My books are light hearted and easy to read. I have found that young adults gravitate to my books because they are at the age where my stories could still be a possibility in their lives. We all like a happy ending and the drama of getting there. Of late I also have a large fan base in the thirty to thirty five age groups who are looking for fun light hearted reads.
Michael: So with so many “Chick Lit” currently on the bookshelves, what sets your novel apart from the rest?
Victoria: In my opinion my chick lit books are still 100% chick lit. They are not blurring the genre lines as some books are doing at the moment. I write in the realms of possibility but with the best possible out come so the reader gets a good feel good factor. I believe that every one of my heroines will end up happy in love or they will end up happy and wiser. I love films like ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Made in Manhattan’ I hope my books give readers the same feel good feeling as chick lit films like these do.
Michael: I know I definitely love books that leave me feeling good about life. In such books, I find that it is very important for me to be intrigued the characters. Who is your favorite character and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Victoria: Oh this is quite heard. I would say Laura. I think I liked writing her because she is a bitch and perhaps she is a bit like my auto ego coming out. We all have a secret bitch inside us.
Michael: Okay, I do like very sassy characters. What scene in the novel did you have the most fun writing?
Victoria: I would say the Honey trap and the BBQ at Jesse’s mum and dads house. There is one other scene but I can’t say what it is without giving a spoiler. Feel free to email me after you have read the book and I will tell you what it was.
Michael: I might take you up on that. Sassy characters at an age of possibilities and feeling good about life after reading it, sounds interesting enough. What is it that you want your readers to walk away with after reading your novel?
Victoria: I would like my readers to feel that they connected to the characters and enjoyed the journey with them.
Michael: What do you have in store next for your readers?
Victoria: Well I am currently writing ‘Third Time Lucky – Notting Hill Gossip” which is due out in 2016. I am also working a drama that I will talk more about in my December newsletter. http://www.victoria-browne.com/mailing-list
Michael: Great! I look forward to finding out more about it. Thank you so much for sharing with us your story!
For those of you interested in Third Time Lucky – The Honey Trap, click on the book cover below.