Hey guys! I’ve been so excited about this post for so long because not only is Victoria very awesome, but the second I picked up my copy of Witchstruck and started reading, I knew she had hit the nail on the head. Witches. In Tudor England. Come on! So yes, I offered to host a little interview with Victoria which is now a part of the Witchstruck blog tour and there is also a UK only (sorry) giveaway for a copy of the book. Yay! I really enjoyed putting this interview together with Victoria so I hope you guys like it. (And yes, I do realise two questions are quite similar. One was added later but hey ho.)
Hello! Welcome to Once Upon A Time. 🙂
Thanks for having me, Hannah!
Could you tell us a little about your books?
I’m launching a new YA series this week. The first book is called Witchstruck and it’s a paranormal romance set in the dark dystopia of Tudor England. Meg is my heroine, a teen witch who has to stay one step ahead of the witchfinder while learning her craft. She’s sent to serve the Lady Elizabeth, imprisoned under suspicion of treason in a tumbledown ruin. Meg is happy at first to be avoiding the attentions of the witchfinder in this remote spot. But with the arrival of Alejandro de Castillo, a young Catholic priest, Meg finds herself deeper in trouble than ever before … and in danger of falling in love!
Was it daunting following in your parents’ footsteps to become a writer or did it come naturally to you after your upbringing?
Not daunting, no. But certainly fraught with ‘issues’. Both my parents and my older sister were professional writers when I was a child. My mother – who published over 150 novels as Charlotte Lamb – was never very keen on me becoming a novelist. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get novels accepted in my teens and twenties, I turned to poetry instead. I’ve now published five books of poetry (under the name Jane Holland) but it’s only since the death of my mother that I’ve relaunched my writing career as a historical novelist. Writing has always been a natural choice though. I wrote my first novel at about twelve years old – a time-travel fantasy – and always knew I’d be a writer. It’s lovely to see my youngest daughter scribbling away too. It’s the family business!
Do you have any interesting reading or writing spots living in the lovely land of Cornwall?
I have my own study at home but often nip out with my laptop to a café or library, and do some writing while watching the world pass by. Occasionally I’ll end up with a book at Jamaica Inn, written about by Daphne Du Maurier in her famous novel of the same name, a spooky smugglers’ inn on Bodmin Moor, not far from where we live. Until a few months ago we lived on a housing estate in a Midlands town, so to be living and writing in a farmhouse on Bodmin Moor has been an astonishing life change for all of us. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I walk out and stare across the moors in the early morning. We did it, we’re living the dream.
What about your ‘energetic Irish Red Setter’? Any funny stories to share?
She can knit jumpers! No, I’m kidding. But at only six months old, just about everything she does is hilarious and fascinating to watch. Her name is Daisy and she loves to steal socks and toss them around the garden, puncture footballs and chase sparrows. She gets so excited when new people visit that she wees on their feet. You can imagine how tricky this was when my elderly father came to stay ….
How did you decide to write a Witchy book after an adult historical novel?
I’m a very restless person and dislike feeling that I’m ‘stuck’ in any particular area or genre. So once I’d started the adult Tudor trilogy I’m also writing at the moment, I started looking about for something different. I absolutely adore fantasy and paranormal fiction, and was obsessively re-reading the Twilight Saga when it occurred to me to write a paranormal saga of my own – only using the Tudor setting I’d grown to love. Hey presto – the ‘Tudor Witch’ series was born! One thing I particularly love about YA fiction is how broad it is, how many different genres and ways of writing belong under that heading. It’s perfect for someone restless like me.
Tudor England and Witchcraft: Is this a topic you’ve always been fascinated by or were you just struck with the inspiration stick one day?
I love the inspiration stick idea! My stories nearly always start with a character, rather than a situation or time period. So I knew I wanted to write historically about a young witch, but did some research before finally deciding on ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary’s reign as one of the most dark and terrifying eras to be alive – heretics racked and burnt alive in town squares, the Spanish Inquisition roaming our shores, restrictive religious and social laws, people informing on their neighbours. (The perfect setting for a dystopian paranormal, in other words!) And I’d always loved the stories about how the Lady Elizabeth had been accused, persecuted and imprisoned throughout her older sister’s reign (I have an older sister too, so can relate). So I put the two together and got Witchstruck!
What are your favourite books?
This is the one question I dread! I have so many different authors and genres that I love, choosing favourites feels like an impossible task. One all-time favourite in a desert island scenario would be Ursula Le Guin’s unspeakably magnificent Earthsea series (I’m cheating a bit here by choosing a series, but hey, it’s about wizards) and another is Mary Stewart’s inspired Merlin books (yep, cheating again, and yep, wizards) of which my favourite would be The Hollow Hills (Book Two). Hard to choose between those in terms of utter love, love, love and influence over me as a writer. Neither of those are romantic though, and I do have a strong romantic streak, so I shall name one of my mother’s many romantic novels too. Probably Sweet Compulsion, a real feel-good romance and the only one she wrote under the pen-name Victoria Woolf.
And finally, what else is in the pipelines for Victoria Lamb?
More Tudor Witch books, though how many is not decided yet. Plus more of my adult trilogy about Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”. And I have an exciting and very different new novel bubbling away under the surface. That’s top secret right now, being still at the chaotic ‘send out for pizza’ planning stage, but I hope to start work on it during 2013.
Thank you so much for your time!
You’re very welcome, and many thanks for inviting me! Great questions!
You can find Victoria at: