By day Victoria Fox lives in London. By night she relaxes in her fantasy LA mansion, sipping Krug in a Jacuzzi and watching a bare-chested man clean out her pool. Her first novel, Hollywood Sinners, was described by Closer magazine as ‘a heady mix of corruption, glamour, lust and power’, Temptation Island went on to be tagged the Sun’s ‘best bonkbuster of 2012’, while Wicked Ambition cemented her place as Cosmopolitan’s ‘favourite new-generation bonkbuster author’. Even Jackie Collins, queen of La Bonk, agrees that ‘Victoria Fox is always a fun read!’ victoriafox.net @VFoxWrites
1.What got you into writing? Lifelong ambition. I’ve always wanted to write and be published, ever since I can remember. But passion is only half of it – it’s a lot of hard grind, too! After uni I worked in publishing for a few years and while there wrote a partial manuscript and sent it off to an agent. When she agreed to represent me, I quit my job and finished the book in two months. Knowing I only had weeks to make it financially was a pretty effective motivation!
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? I’m most productive in the morning, so on tight deadlines I’ll get up about six, work through the morning then take an hour or two for lunch. If I’m feeling virtuous, I’ll go to the gym or do some yoga – otherwise a walk, because getting away from the words is the key thing. Depending how much I’ve achieved in the morning, I’ll either plan the next day’s sections or plough on. My boyfriend comes home about six and we’ll cook a meal together, or else head out for drinks with friends.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’m skeptical about writers’ block. I think it’s often a reluctance to sit down and get on with it – at least it is for me. There’s a fine line between being genuinely blocked for ideas and simply preferring to do something else, like check Twitter, or call a friend, or watch telly (I am guilty of all three). The only way through writers block – and there is a way through – is to strap yourself to your desk and keep trying.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? Bonkbusters have loads of intertwined characters and storylines, so I have to be. I like to know my beginning, my end, and crucial milestones along the way. But that said, planning too rigidly can be counter-productive: characters make their own minds up about what happens in a book, and if you keep trying to steer them back on to an original, outdated template, you’ll tie yourself in all sorts of knots. My advice is to keep your signposts in place, but be fluid as well and happy to let your story take the lead.
5.What was the publishing process like for you, & any advice to aspiring authors? It definitely helped that I knew the industry already. This made me see that writing a book is a commercial endeavour: you need to feel confident in which authors you’d sit alongside, what books you’d compare yourself with, what market you’d be appealing to. Publishing is a business like any other and your work needs to make money for people. When approaching agents, demonstrate that you’ve thought about this. Pitch your novel concisely, in one or two lines, with a clear, sellable angle. Also, choose carefully which agent you approach: look at their lists, the writers they represent, and their personal tastes. Agents have stacks of submissions to read every day and it makes such a difference when the writer has taken time to target their recipient.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Earlier in 2013 I was a judge on ITV’s Lorraine, setting out to find the next big name in romantic fiction – this was easily a highlight! Not least because I was judging alongside my all-time idol Jackie Collins. I adore Jackie’s bonkbusters – they were what made me want to try ones of my own – and to work with her was a dream come true.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? My most recent book was a romance for Mills & Boon, called Glittering Fortunes. It’s about a glamorous but crumbling country estate in the English West Country, and two rival brothers at war over their inheritance. Think Downton Abbey meets Hollywood!
8.Is anything in your books based on real life experiences, or purely all from imagination? Every book draws to some extent on the author’s own life experiences, but I can safely say that much of what I write comes from the imagination! As a starting point I like to take a character in the press, or a headline, always someone drastically rich and famous, and imagine what life must be like for them behind closed doors. In that way my books are inspired by real life, but my musings make up the rest of it.
9.What do you like to do besides writing? Well, all this year I’ve been mostly planning my wedding – but once that’s over normal life will resume. I love having dinner with friends, hanging out with my sister, shopping or going to see a movie, and I’ve recently taken up sketching (I’m not very good!)
10.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Right now I’d love to get inside Miley Cyrus’s head. What is going on there? I think she’s far more clued up and savvy than people give her credit for – this whole revamp thing, all the controversy, she knows exactly what she is doing. It would be great to be a fly on that wall!