Welcome in my dear readers. What lovely attire you are sporting this beautiful morning. Please leave your parasols by the door while my servant, Gertrude, brings the tea and scones to the parlor.
We have an honored guest that I'm sure you all are quite anxious to meet. We have with us, Brandy Vallance, with her delightful debut novel, The Covered Deep. Without further ado, let us begin.
PT: Most gracious of you to spend some time in our humble presence. We are most grateful. Could you please give us your background and how you started on this wild ride of writing.
BV: It’s interesting how we can look back and see God’s hand on our lives. I originally wanted to be an archaeologist. History was my major in college but I always received my highest grades in creative writing. After my son was born, I had postpartum depression and writing became a very important aspect of my healing. I fell into stories and loved the escape. After months of writing I started wondering if writing could be my career. I took an apprenticeship through the Christian Writers Guild and then I ended up getting a couple staff jobs with magazines. I did freelancing for six years and then decided that I wanted to focus on the novel that I started all those years ago. That novel became The Covered Deep. It took fourteen years and eleven drafts before it was published. Today, I’d much rather be a novelist than an archeologist (although I’m still a total archaeology nerd). I’m so glad I get to spend time with my children and I love writing about history!
PT: I see. Now I was privileged to meet you at a writing conference. How do you think writing conferences help authors?
BV: I have found that the best thing about writers’ conferences is the networking. I’ve made friends that will be friends for life. It’s so great to meet people who get you. Finding your tribe is a really powerful thing. We all need people to talk us off the ledge from time to time and no one gets writers like other writers.
PT: I'll agree that a strong network makes all the difference. Tell us a little about, The Covered Deep.
BV: The Covered Deep is a story that will be with me forever. To me, Paul and Bianca are so real. The story began in a couple of ways. I found a vintage photograph in an antique photography shop in Pensacola, FL. That photograph became Bianca in my mind. She was beautiful, but not conventionally beautiful. I saw sadness in her eyes but also strength. It was a lightning moment for me. The world faded away. Of course, with my love of history, I had to make Paul a historian. He’s a little bit Indiana Jones, which comes from my archaeology obsession. With my love of all things British, I wanted to see what would happen if I threw an Appalachian women into 19th century London. Then, I wanted an aristocrat to be a part of it all. More questions came from there and then I had the makings of the story.
You can see Bianca’s photograph here: https://www.pinterest.com/brandyvallance/the-covered-deep/
PT: Is the Victorian Era the main genre you write in?
BV: Yes! I’ve always been fascinated with the Victorian time period.
PT: How do you keep up with the many rules and etiquette of that era?
BV: Lots and lots of research! It once took me two weeks to find a bit of information that ended up being one line in my book.
PT: Tell us about your travels.
BV: I love to travel and experience other cultures. I’ve been to England, Scotland, Wales, Costa Rica, Cuba, Romania, Hungary and Canada. I’m pretty sure I have gypsy blood because my dream is to live all around the world. I get restless after living in a place for more than five years.
PT: Give 5 things fast about Brandy Vallance that have little to do with writing.
BV: My dream dog was always a Great Dane. We finally got one a year and a half ago. Nessie is named after the Loch Ness monster. She’s the best!
I love candles. When I have candles burning in my house I can instantly relax.
I feel more comfortable in historic houses. Modern art and modern architecture makes me cringe.
I have a scar on my leg from jumping on the back of a draft horse. It threw me into a barbed wire fence.
I love trying historical recipes. I once made chicken that Napoleon ate before the Battle of Waterloo. I typically cook elaborate meals when I’m procrastinating.
PT: I understand you play the cello. Do instruments, or scenes with someone playing instruments find their way into your novels?
BV: I did put a cello in The Covered Deep for that reason. I played the violin for a couple of years, but I was never in love with it. For me, the cello is soulful and deep. I had to become brave enough to play it. I don’t play much lately but whenever I hear cello music it makes me smile.
PT: Tell us what goal you’re working toward right now in terms of writing.
BV: I’m in the process of finding a home for my second novel, Within the Veil. In the meanwhile, I’m writing a Victorian time travel novella. The heroine is a bookbinder and it’s great fun! After that I’ll be writing my third, full-length historical romance. I plan to set that one on a tea plantation in British Ceylon.
PT: Sounds wonderful! Lovely having you here at the Mine, Brandy. Thanks for stopping by. I'll have Gertrude make sure your carriage is brought around.
Readers, you know what else is wonderful? Brandy is giving away a print copy of The Covered Deep! Yes, an honest to goodness, bonafide book! With tree-grown pages and real ink! What a privilege to own such a treasure! And all you have to do is leave a comment to enter the drawing. Let me show you the beautiful cover.
Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy's love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book. Brandy is the 2013 Operation First Novel winner and the 2012 winner of the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Covered Deep, has been featured in USA TODAY and Writer's Digest.
You can connect with Brandy via her website www.brandyvallance.com, or other social media:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrandyVallance
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandyVallance @BrandyVallance