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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interview with Wendy Vella, Author of The Reluctant Countess

Please help me welcome Wendy Vella, author of The Reluctant Countess, to Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf.

M:  First, let me say "Congratulations" on your debut novel, The Reluctant Countess.
Wendy: Thanks so much and thank you for having me on your wonderful blog site.

Q1.  I'm always interested to discover the story behind the story. Where did the inspiration for The Reluctant Countess come from?
Wendy:  I was actually looking online for a competition to enter and found one that gave you a scenario for the opening scene; handsome Earl, mysterious Countess and they were both in a ballroom. I’ve never written a story from someone else’s idea before it was quite an interesting exercise and, ‘The Reluctant Countess’ grew from there. I never entered the competition but the book turned out well.

M: Yes, the book turned out well! I’m glad you expanded on the opening scene.
Q2.  What inspired you to write this genre??
Wendy:  The first book I read was Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades, and I was pretty much hooked from the opening page. I loved the idea of writing about an era that I knew so little about and that I or nobody I have ever known has lived in. You do get a certain amount of freedom too, because we know only what we’ve learnt in books not through our own experiences. It’s important that it’s historically correct of course but you can let your imagination run riot. 

M: Georgette Heyer is classic for Historical Romance, especially with that touch of mystery that you brought to The Reluctant Countess.
Q3.  Is there an ancillary character in this book that you had a lot or fun with? Might they appear in a future book?
Wendy:  Lord Sumner was great fun to write.  He’s Patrick, the hero’s, best friend and also finds love in ‘The Reluctant Countess.’ He’s the opposite of Patrick, he laughs often and jokes a lot and has some great one liners in the book. Unfortunately he won’t get his own book because his romance is tied up neatly in the end too. I love his relationship with Patrick, he’s probably the only one in the book who doesn’t give Patrick an inch, and he’s always challenging him.

M:  Yes. Stephen, Lord Sumner, was a great sidekick and provided lots of added color and fun.
Q4.  What would you say makes a romance novel a great love story?
Wendy:  I think a romance novel has to have several elements to make it great; humor is big for me and characters that are not quite perfect. I love sharp dialogue but most of all I love a bit of intrigue. I like stories where the hero and heroine finally get together despite the obstacles they had to hurdle to find each other.

M:  All of those are good elements and I like how you worked them together well in your story.
Q5. Would you please share a surprising thing about your experience writing this book, or about your research?
Wendy:  I didn’t end up using it in the book, but I was researching shops in London and came across the Cow Keepers Shop in Golden Lane in the city of London. The shop was the ground floor of his house where the cows were kept in well ventilated stalls.  People and the milk maids could come and purchase their milk, I thought this was ingenious!

M: Very interesting and thanks for the image!
Q6.  Is any of your writing from your own experiences or is it completely your imagination?
Wendy:  No it’s all my imagination. I do use some traits in my characters from people I know, but mostly it’s just inside my head. It can get a busy in there at times.

M: I appreciate a busy imagination especially when it gets shared in writing!
Q7.  Do your work career/hobbies/interests influence your writing?
Wendy:  Probably only in so far as they limit my ability to write as often as I would like. I work full time and write in the evenings but I’m also a road cyclist so that takes up a bit of time as sometimes my husband and I can be out on the roads for a few hours. I’ve always found the time to write each day and usually fit in 2 to 3 hours most nights.

M: I’m glad you fit the writing time in and share with readers like me.
Q8.  When you get time to read what authors do you read?
Wendy: I have my favorites; Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Nora Roberts, but there are so many more who I enjoy, but these are the ones whose books I read as soon as they come out.

M: I agree with several of these… I just have been busy reading “new-to-me” authors like you. J
Q9.  What do you hope your readers get out of your book?
Wendy: I hope my readers enjoy Patrick and Sophie’s journey as much as I did writing it. I hope they laugh and cry and sigh, but most importantly I hope they can’t put it down.

M:  Success - As I noted in my review it does keep you glued and not wanting to put it down.
Q10.   If you could have readers finish a sentence what would it be?
***Wendy: She picked up her skirts and ran towards him as he came through the door, she was distraught and his blood ran cold as he heard her say…

M: Thank you for taking time to share.

Wendy Vella is a lover of all things romantic. She started reading her first Georgette Heyer book at a young age and instantly fell in love with the Regency era. Writing is something she has always found time for; she penned her first novel at eighteen though she says it will never make an appearance further than the closet in which it currently resides.

After having her two children Wendy then joined RWNZ and started honing her chosen craft by entering competitions with some success and attending conferences. Her Clendon and Readers Choice award-winning historical romance The Reluctant Countess will debut in Jan 2013 with Random House in their Loveswept line.

She has an addiction to reading and loves a wide range of genres while her first love will always be historical. She relishes novels steeped in Romance and excitement with feisty heroines and delicious heroes, especially when they are set amongst the treacherous waters of London society.

Wendy is a sucker for a happy ending having secured her own. She has been married to her own dark brooding hero for 28 years and shares her home with two wonderful children, two dogs and anyone else who happens to be visiting at the time. Born and raised in a rural area in the North Island of New Zealand, Wendy loves the beaches and lush green rolling hills of her homeland and is proud to call herself a very patriotic Kiwi!

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THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS” can be purchased from Random House Inc.

From Wendy Vella comes a Cinderella story of whirlwind passion between a dashing earl and a beautiful countess—and the secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Regal, poised, and elegant, Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is everything that a highborn lady should be. But Sophie is hiding a past that is far from royal. When Patrick, Earl of Coulter, realizes that her story doesn’t add up, he resolves to find out the truth of what Sophie and her sister-in-law are concealing. Although Sophie has every reason to avoid him, the handsome and charismatic Patrick awakens something wicked deep within her soul . . . a powerful need that Sophie must stifle in order to protect her place in society.

Despite Sophie’s humble background, the raven-haired beauty has won Patrick’s heart. But what Sophie needs now is an ally. Viscount Myles Dumbly, the disgruntled former heir of Monmouth, is determined to expose Sophie as a fraud to recapture his lost inheritance. Soon Patrick is drawn into a fight for both their lives. Somehow he must find a way not only to rescue Sophie from poverty once and for all, but to keep her in his arms forever.

Scribd FREE Excerpt available:Vella ReluctantCountess Final

Thank you to Random House for allowing me to Host a 
1 print book and 3 Net Galley Preview copies.

3 Extra Bonus entries: Comment with an answer to the question from author Vella in violet block and red text above (marked ***).
2 Extra Bonus entries: Comment on my Review - Previous Post.

* This contest is open: US ONLY for Print and 3 Net Galley copies open to ALL.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on January 18, 2013.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED on January 19, 2013.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. "Timmy has been kidnapped! They will hurt him unless I pay his ransom at midnight!"

    I think I'll stick to the day job...

  2. "you have to leave - the runners were here to arrest you!"

  3. She picked up her skirts and ran towards him as he came through the door, she was distraught and his blood ran cold as he heard her say…my father has forbidden me to marry you. We must elope tonight or I'll never see you again!

  4. "What are you doing here"

  5. I've got bad news! The law was here looking for you and are planning to hang you! I can hide you in the cellar.

  6. "Take me with you, I can't watch you leave without me"

  7. "My sister (in-law) is missing! And she has to be at the ball tonight or she'll be ruined!"

  8. "I've just killed a man and it's all your fault!"


Your comments are always appreciated!


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