Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Books, Banter & Bites on my Dock…featuring Vonnie Hughes

Photo by Brianne Boulton
Welcome to my virtual dock in the wilds of Muskoka, where it’s always sunny and warm no matter what time of the year it is. Please pull up one of the dock chairs, sit your butt down, and be prepared to be entertained and enlightened. Today, I’ve got Regency romance author, Vonnie Hughes stopping by for a visit. She’s come all the way from Australia to be with us, though Vonnie prefers to be known as a New Zealander, since her family roots are strong there. If you’ve never heard of this awesome author, here’s her mini bio in Vonnie’s own words:

“I write Regency and Victorian romantic suspense and contemporary suspense. I try to make my historicals meaty without being didactic. Rules are the bane of my existence. Often those writing rules take me on a journey I did not expect. Ask any writer. I’m a pantster, but I still have to abide by rules such as external and internal goals, motivation and conflict – the stuff that strikes fear into all writers.
I prefer to write psychological suspense with small amounts of action. Don’t get me wrong – I like action as much as the next woman and Suzanne Brockman is my favorite author – but my writing seems to lend itself to the twists and turns of warped minds à la Ruth Rendell and Jeffrey Deaver. Which says something not very nice about me, huh?”

Ha ha, great intro! Love it, Vonnie. Vonnie? Wakie, wakie, Vonnie! I know it’s almost dusk, but it’s not time to go to bed yet. You’re probably still a little jet-lagged. BTW – thanks for coming on such short notice, as I know you’ll be celebrating Anzac Day with the rest of Australia on April 25th. Here, this margarita has got your name on it. It’s shaken, not stirred, just the way you like it. Help yourself to the crushed avocadoes on whole wheat crackers. I added some lemon juice and black pepper to give it a bite. Later, I’ve got some rum balls from Schat Bakery, to shock your taste buds. Believe me, it was sooo hard to resist buying anything else there! Now, before you get comfy and nod off again, let’s get on with our chat…   
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Second Son?”
The Second Son is unusual because it is the prequel to a book already published almost two years prior by Robert Hale Ltd called Coming Home. These books revolve around a country estate in 19th century Wiltshire. The family name and the estate are called Trewbridge.
I love prequels because they reveal back story and roots to the original story or series. What sets The Second Son apart from other books in the same genre?
In Regencies the second son in a family is usually a young man of derring-do who, knowing he does not have to inherit the family responsibilities, goes out and lays waste to his life with gambling, wine, women and song. Then of course the older son dies and…you get the picture. In The Second Son, I made the hero a different sort of man, injured physically and emotionally from war. He carries a sour secret: all his life he’s has loathed his older brother, not because he is jealous of him, but because he mistrusts and dislikes him. So of course when that older brother dies, John, the hero, is a mass of nerves, contrition, despair and guilt. Yes, it’s a romance, but it is on the dark side.

I’m beginning to see the Mr. Hyde in your Doctor Jekyll. How long did it take for you to start and finish The Second Son?

It’s only 58,000 words and because it was filling in background for events that had already happened, it did not take long to write. About three months plus one month of revision and editing. (I have trouble getting the words down, but once they’re down I enjoy adding layers and revising etc. Anal retentive).

Seems like editing takes just as long as writing the first draft. Do you have any advice for writers wanting to write in your genre?

As far as Regencies go, there are many, many authors now who are writing Regencies who began writing in other genres first. So it can be done provided you do the research first. Wallpaper Regencies abound i.e. 21st century people dressed in 19th century clothes doing 21st century things. No!
Agreed. Research is the key to a well-written Regency. What's next for Vonnie Hughes the author?
The first of a Regency trilogy is being considered by Musa Publishing at the moment. I am also in the throes (and believe me, they are throes) of completing another romantic suspense set in New Zealand. Again, my hero is beset by anguish. As you can tell, my theme is wounded heroes and the women who rescue them.

And tell me what man wouldn’t want to be rescued by a strong, beautiful woman? Oh here, let me top up your margarita, and please help yourself to another avocado appetizer, Vonnie. Now, before the sun goes down and the fire flies come out, please let readers know where they can buy your book, and how to connect with you. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your novel and your wisdom with us on my dock today. Cheers and best wishes in ALL your publishing ventures, Vonnie.

The Second Son Buy Links: Musa Publishing and Amazon
Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog

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The Second Son


  1. Wow, Vonnie this sounds wonderful. I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the great interview!

  2. Love the interview and the rum balls.:) Time to buy The Second Son!

  3. The Second Son sounds terrific!

  4. Love this dock!
    I really enjoyed The Second Son, Vonnie and Mr Montford's marriage. Happy Anzac day.

  5. Cheers, Sam, Sloane, Lizzie, and Susan for stopping by my dock. The margarita glasses are rimmed and ready to go! Salute!

  6. Oh hi people. Just coming out of a margarita smog. One marg and I'm feeling good, the second gets me feeling that it's a great day or night or just about anything. Then there's margarita no. 3. About that stage my lips go numb and life seems just peachy. My legs are not too good either but that's okay 'cos I'm sitting on the dock. No worries. Books? Writing? Huh?

    1. That's what happens when you ask for a few pitchers, young lady. Thank goodness I sprayed you with insect repellent. I'll strap you in the chair so you don't fall off the dock. Night-night.

  7. Ah, great to have a friend who understands me.

  8. Second Son sounds like something I'd love to read. It's going on my TBR list. :-)