Vanessa Riley holds several engineering degrees, including a doctorate from Stanford University, but she frequently detours into the world of Regency romance. Her second novel, Swept Away, released in September. She’s a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Specialty RWA Chapters: The Beau Monde, Faith, Hope, & Love Chapter and the Georgia Chapter.
Vanessa is also a wife, a mom to an eight year old, and a speaker at women’s events.
Let’s talk about your new book, Swept Away (Gallium Optronics, September 2014). Please tell us about it.
Swept Away is a Regency version of Cinderella. Charlotte Downing, the Duchess of Charming is a strong heroine trying to be as good as her father, the late Duke of Charming. The desire to be as good as the late duke makes her very focused on emulating him, and sometimes it causes her to be too assertive and set in her ways.
Everything changes when she meets a conservative merchant, Edwin Cinder. He’s the fellow trying to make sure everyone else is taken care of even at his own peril, but he refuses to sell the duchess a family heirloom, a lacy pair of slippers. Mayhem, romance and crashing ceilings commence in the madcap tale, as Charlotte and Edwin have to work together to survive.
If you were asked to describe the faith journey in the story with one word, what would it be? And why?
Now that is hard, telling a writer to use just one word. It would have to be equality. We are all sons and daughters, equals when we accept Christ. Both Charlotte and Edwin had to come to grips with this.
God often uses our writing to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I think we all struggle with, Are we good enough. As a writer, I struggle with this. Are my readers going to like this? Will they support the choices my hero or heroine had to make? I have to sit down with my box of chocolates and realize that God gave His daughter a story and to the best of my ability, I will tell it. In the end that is all that matters.
When you visited last, we talked about detours, and you said, “Listening to God’s nudging us out of our comfort zone is the greatest lesson any person can possess.” Have you been nudged out of your comfort zone lately?
Well, yes. When I started this project, my daughter was very excited. Who would figure, a writer’s daughter liking romantic fairy tales. She and my niece wanted to read Swept Away. That’s great, but I am not a YA author. I write for a mature audience. Now don’t get frightened, all my writing is PG, but there are some aspects to love and relationships that the girls may not be ready to comprehend, like the subtly of attraction. So, I released a YA version of Swept Away, just for them and the hundreds of other young girls that might want to read about a bold heroine who’s not afraid to swing an ax to save the hero.
What’s the title of the last GREAT book you’ve read?
The last great book I read is by Piper Huguley, called The Lawyer’s Luck. It’s a romance set just before the Civil War. The perspective and story was very different from other stories of the era. Very refreshing.
What’s your current favorite song on the radio or your mp3 player?
Oh, that’s an easy one. It’s God Is by Patrick Dopson. The song talks of making the decision to believe that God will be there with us every day. He’s faithful, and we need to remind ourselves of that each day.
What verse or story in the Bible best describes your faith journey?
That would be Psalm 71. It talks about putting all my trust in God, that He will put his arms about me and be my strong habitation, my safe place. It reminds me His praises should be on my tongue always.
Thank you, Vanessa! It’s nice to have you back at DivineDetour.
It is always my pleasure to come and visit.
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For more information about Vanessa, visit her website.
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