WW: 1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Virginia: I’m a long-time fan of all types of romance: music, books, movies. Grab my attention with fabulous characters that I can fall in love with, add a believable conflict on the road to happily ever after, and I’m there. By night, I write romance with an edge of danger. I love challenging my characters with a dangerous situation just as they are struggling with their feelings for one another.
By day, I’m an academic librarian. I love working with students. I also teach research courses at my college.
One of my true passions is travel, whether a day trip close to home to enjoy the great outdoors, or a trip to Europe or to Peru, where I was born.
WW: Talk about the book(s) you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
Virginia: I’ve written several books, some are under what I’ll call “post production”—they need serious editing. I’ve published three novels now, plus a novella. The novella, Dancing in the Dark, is a prequel to In the Arms of a Stranger, my newest book. The idea for In the Arms of a Stranger came from living in a very rural part of North Alabama when we first moved to the States from Peru. Our neighbors had a bull named Petunia that prompted a scene, and from there more scenes came to mind. As I was writing, we took a road trip from our home along the Florida Panhandle to Austin, Texas. Our youngest played club soccer and had a big tournament there. After a few (soggy) days in Austin with some very smelly soccer players, we drove on to New Mexico to visit friends and do a bit of sightseeing. On the return trip, I decided to turn left rather than right when we left Northwestern New Mexico. A little concerned about the continued narrowing of the road—never mind the fire hazard warnings—we kept going. We didn’t have a GPS or a good map of the area. Fortunately, the road came out at Los Alamos. That turn took us on a mini-adventure along beautiful terrain. We found chipmunks that our son hand fed, and built wonderful memories. That trip sparked the idea of traveling through several states in the book. Only in my book, the hero and heroine travel from Alabama to the Texas Panhandle. When JP, my hero, came to me, he was driving a car. I really can’t explain how that happens.
WW: Was there a scene that was more difficult than others? One that you pondered whether or not to include it?
Virginia: The love scenes are always difficult for me, but not for the reasons you may think. My characters must have a believable connection before they make love. Love scenes can’t be casual in my stories; the act has to mean something very deep to them both, even if they don’t yet know it. There must be beauty in a love scene along with passion and emotion. The suspense plot adds another layer because the characters are in real danger. I don’t believe I considered taking anything out, certainly not from the love scenes, but my editor made some valuable suggestions on what to remove in some transitions. I listened to my editor :-) and know it’s a better story now.
WW: What do you keep in mind as you write? An overarching question? A theme? The last line of the book?
Virginia: I’m a pantser. I don’t outline or plot. I just write. Frankly, it’s a bit of a nightmare along with being a great adventure—something like turning onto an unknown road. Somewhere along the way, once my characters have had their say, I discover a theme. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s staring me in the face and I don’t see it. Writing the end can help me write to the end, but sometimes it just takes plain hard work to get there.
WW: What are you currently working on?
Virginia: I’m working on a novella sequel to an earlier book (Against the Wind), and on a full length novel set in a fictional country based on Peru. They’re both nearly there.
WW: How do you balance writing, marketing, promoting, bookkeeping, family and work?
Virginia: I don’t! :-) My hair is now standing on end from trying to walk the tightrope that is writing, with all it entails, added to family and a full time job. I suspect I’m like most women, pulled in different directions, feeling like we’re not doing anything as well as we’d like to do it. Some days it’s good to just take a day off from it all and breathe. Something that’s been brought home to me recently is that we can’t take anything for granted, especially when it comes to spending time with family.
I’m also over at For Whom the Books Toll today, talking about the South. Please stop by if you can.
I hope you’ll come along with me on this blog tour. Comment here, maybe about a road trip you’ve taken, and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win. You can easily follow along on the tour by checking my Facebook Page. I’ll post the stop of the day there.
Thanks for being our guest, Virginia! And, readers, read on for a fab excerpt - and rafflecopter deets:
All About In The Arms Of A Stranger:
A dangerous man on the run…
Wounded and accused of treason, CIA operative JP Blackmon is on the run from his own agency and desperate to clear his name. When he finds out his old partner is dead, he’ll do anything to get to the truth…including using his partner’s widow.
Finds a vulnerable woman looking for answers…
Abby Price wanted nothing more than a family and a safe home. But her late husband kept big secrets from her—secrets that got him killed and has government agents watching her every move. And she’s started fearing for her life. The only man who can help her is a mysterious stranger who suddenly appears out of nowhere. But can she trust him?
Together they discover a passion worth dying for.
As danger stalks them at every turn, unexpected passion flares between JP and Abby. But the last thing either wants or needs is more complications. Romance? No. Way. That would involve trust—something neither is willing to do. But in the end, sharing their deadly secrets is their only hope for survival…their only hope to hold onto the love they’ve just begun to share…
Read an Excerpt:
“Is JP your real name?”
He smiled, and she realized she hadn’t seen one of his real smiles before. This one lit up his face, made his eyes laugh. There was devilment in the smile. “I don’t know you well enough to tell you that yet.”
The look of him, the timbre of his voice, as if he really would know her well enough to—
Her breath caught. She couldn’t look away. That well?
She wanted to frown, to be outraged. But his eyes… Good heavens, his eyes. Everything about him, from his short dark hair, to his smile, to his broad shoulders, he was all captivating male.
Instead, she laughed. It was a totally unexpected reaction. She’d never reacted to anyone the way she did to JP. If that was his name…
And what came out of her mouth next was a total surprise. “When do you think you will?”
Buy In the Arms of a Stranger Amazon | Barnes & Noble
All about Virginia:
An RWA Golden Heart® finalist, Virginia Kelly’s first book was published as To the Limit and finaled in several contests such as the Holt Medallion, The Golden Quill and The Aspen Gold.
Virginia has always loved adventure novels, but romance is at the core of her stories—romance with the adrenalin rush of danger. Against the Wind, a full-length novel, and Dancing in the Dark, the prequel novella to In the Arms of a Stranger, are about dangerous men and the adventurous women willing to take a chance on them.
Traveling is a passion that came early in life. Her first airplane ride was a trip over the Andes Mountains in Peru at the ripe old age of two months. Her travels provide the settings for her novels, whether it’s a fictitious Latin American country based on Peru, the country of her birth, or Florida and the American South where she now lives.
A graduate of the University of Alabama with a master’s degree in Library Science, Virginia is an academic librarian. She tries to include a librarian in all of her books as either the heroine or as a minor character. Having taught high school and college, she has a great appreciation for teachers and often uses that as the
profession for her heroines.
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