Wednesday, March 18, 2009
IMHO is delighted to welcome one of my favorite new historical authors, Victoria Dahl. Victoria exploded onto the romance scene to rave reviews with her first book, To Tempt a Scotsman, her Golden Heart winning historical, in 2007, followed by her next historical, A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure, in 2008. In the interim, she also sold two contemporary romances (Talk Me Down and Start Me Up) and contributed to a historical anthology, Lords of Desire, featuring Virginia Henley, which she’ll be placing in the “I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS” basket today. Her fifth book, One Week as Lovers, will be released in July 2009, and she’s got several others simmering on the fire as well (lord knows when the woman sleeps). One thing both publishers and readers know about Victoria: this self-professed “naughty girl” can write (and write fast)!
Eloisa James and Connie Brockway sing her praises, while Romantic Times BOOKReviews says "Dahl brings a highly sensual, emotional and moving story to the pages with aplomb. Her clever plotting and engaging characters drive the story forward at a fast clip, and the depth of emotions will keep you enthralled."
IMHO: Right on. If you haven’t read Victoria’s sexy, emotional, heart-wrenching and laugh-out-loud funny books, now is your chance. I can’t recommend her enough. Welcome, Victoria, and tell us the story behind one of your bazillion stories!
ViD: Thanks, TJ, for giving me this chance to tell the story behind the story. I’ve chosen to talk about my anthology contribution to Lords of Desire, “Lessons in Pleasure.”
Some of you may have seen me online in the past, arguing with people about female sexuality in previous centuries. This is one of my hot-button issues. I love naughty girls, and I firmly reject the notion that a woman needs to find true love to feel desire. I also reject the argument that all Victorian or Regency women would have been blind to sexual desire until offered enlightenment by their husbands (in the form of the magical phallus of true love, of course). Ridiculous.
Female bodies were the same two hundred years ago as they are now. Some women had very healthy sex drives long before they ever married, just as they do now. And really, there wasn’t much to do at night back then. I expect there was plenty of “self-pleasuring” going on.
But I wholeheartedly acknowledge that there were many, many women who entered into marriage with no clue what to expect. In fact, the thought kind of haunts me. How terrifying it must have been to lose your virginity when you’d never even seen a man’s bare arms. Can you imagine? Eek! It makes me shudder (and not in the good way). Seriously, when you really think about it, the whole idea of sex is bizarre and slightly disgusting, even when you’re thoroughly enjoying it. I’d hate to have it sneak up on me unawares.
Before I wrote “Lessons in Pleasure,” the story had been on my mind for a long time. What would it have been like for an innocent Victorian woman to marry? Even assuming the husband was a wonderful man, how would a newlywed couple begin to work through this? Even if they loved each other, could she ever learn to be comfortable with a naked – and very aroused – man?
It could’ve been funny (and someday I might write that story too!), but all I could think of was the heartache of it. The mortification of the wife. The worry of the husband. And the guilt they’d both feel. I decided to put my heroine in this situation—with a true hero, of course—and find out if love could turn an imperfect start into a beautiful happy ending.
So I hope you’ll consider reading my first, honest-to-God, innocent heroine. It probably won’t happen again soon, so get this story while you can! I have four more releases in the next year, and not one of those girls is pure of heart or body. Write what you know, after all. But if you’ve read “Lessons in Pleasure,” please let me know if I managed to pull it off!
IMHO: You definitely pulled it off in my humble opinion, Victoria, and thanks for sharing your story with us. We’ll look forward to many more, but for goodness’ sake, try to get some rest! In the meantime, fangirls (and boys), leave a comment for Victoria. Do you prefer reading about the innocent heroine, or the heroine who knows what she wants and how to get it, too? Remember to leave a comment for at least one other author during the contest period as well—the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. That basket is looking mighty healthy, and I’m hoping to get a picture up of it this week.