A Chat with Victoria Alexander, RWA2012 Awards Ceremony Emcee
You were first published in 1995, and you've had 26 novels published since. What's inspired you to keep writing throughout the past 17-plus years?
I keep doing it because I really like it. It's the hardest thing I've ever done but there's enormous satisfaction in telling a story in the way you think it should be told. I write the kind of stories I like to read—not specifically in terms of genre but rather voice. I prefer humor to angst. It's what I like to read and what I enjoy writing.
But as much as I like bringing characters to life and then complicating those lives, and twisting and turning plots, and creating grand fictional adventure, my very favorite words ever are "The End."
What is it about the romance genre, especially historical romance, that appeals to you?
It's definitely the promise, and the fulfillment, of happily ever after. Real life is tough. Everyone doesn't get to live happily ever after. In the romance genre they do. In my books they do. I love that! For me, and I have heard this from readers as well, a romance gives hope that no matter how difficult life may be, no matter what obstacles are thrown in the way, there's always that possibility of a happy ending.
For me, historicals have a lovely fantasy air to them. While based in reality, Victorian England is far enough away to be, well, romantic. I don't have to actually live there in real life so I can ignore all those unpleasant aspects of the 19th century that wouldn’t suit me at all. I couldn’t live in a world without good plumbing, instant communication and air conditioning. Plus, I prefer my corsets for fun and frolic rather than constrictive support.
You’re published in print and e-book format with a traditional New York publisher. Do you have any plans to self-publish in the near future? If so, what about self-publishing appeals to you? If not, why have you chosen not to self-publish at this point in your career?
I have no plans not to self-publish but I don't have a specific project in the works at the moment. At this point, I’m not ruling out anything. Publishing is in the midst of an evolution or maybe revolution. I think any author who does not keep her options open would be shortsighted. This is a business and self-publishing is a business decision and the business we're in is changing everyday.
I think the appeal of self-publishing is obvious. As authors, everything beyond the writing itself is pretty much out of our control. Being responsible for all of the stages from writing to distribution is extremely seductive. It's also an incredible amount of work.
You’ve been an RWA member since 1988. At this point in your career, what keeps you renewing your membership each year?
I like the connection, and the community, of other romance writers that RWA provides. Writing is such a solitary endeavor it's good to have people who understand what 's involved. Frankly, when you talk to non-writer friends about writing or publishing, their eyes tend to glaze over and they just smile and nod. While I have a tendency to do that myself, I hate doing it to other people!
Can you share an instance when a fellow romance author, or a community of romance authors, has provided support or advice that made a difference in your career?
I'm certain there are dozens of instances but I can't think of any one specific example. Through RWA I have found my closest friends who offer advice based on their observations and experience. They are also more than willing to point out when I am about to made a dreadful mistake or smack me around when I need it. I have no doubt they have made a difference in my career and in my personal life.
Do you have any favorite RWA Conference memories that you can share? Or, what’s the thing you most enjoy about the RWA Conference?
I love meeting other writers. I love meeting readers. I love making new friends and I love being able to talk about books and writing with people who share that same kind of love. I haven't missed a national conference since 1996 and they all tend to blend together in a blur of information and fun and exhaustion.
Can you give us a sneak peek at what to expect at the 2012 Awards Ceremony?
I hate to sound clichéd, but if I told you, I'd have to shoot you. We have a great group of writers (Sara Ramsey, Kira Sinclair, Vivi Andrews, Andrea Laurence and Kimberly Lang) working to pull this together and create a show that will be amusing and entertaining and fun. I will say there will be a bit of "Once upon a time" and definitely a "happily ever after."
I'd like to wish good luck to all the finalists and for them and the rest of us, I know we're going to have a great night!