Today we welcome Wendy Vella to the tearoom all the way from New Zealand. Wendy’s debut novel, The Reluctant Countess, was released on January 14th. Wendy, welcome to the Tearoom! Tell us about yourself.
I was born in the North Island of New Zealand and have been married to a wonderful man for 29 years and we have two children who have, to the surprise of their parents, morphed from angst ridden teenagers into stunning adults.
I am a hopeless romantic who cannot watch a movie unless it has a happy ending. I’m not overly fussy where food is concerned and pretty much love everything as long as there’s lots of it. However after an illness I was tested and found to be a Celiac, which means I can’t eat donuts and chocolate brownie which I’m still struggling to recover from. My favorite meal is a bbq after a long summer’s day, especially if I can enjoy it with friends and family.
I am a cyclist, avid watcher of rugby and love a good joke. My favorite time of year is Christmas when my husband says I morph into a crazed Christmas Fairy with maniacal tendencies.
How did you get started writing historical romances?
I love the Regency Era, and always have since my first Georgette Heyer book, These Old Shades, therefore when I started writing seriously this was the historical time period I went for. My first book however was a contemporary, which is seriously bad and sometimes I pull it out of its shoebox just to see how far I’ve come.
The Reluctant Countess won the RWNZ Clendon Award and it’s a story of two people who haven’t really had reason to trust in their lives. From different worlds they are wary of each other but over time, and circumstances, that changes. Patrick, the hero, believes Sophie, the heroine, to be a fraud but as he gets to know her he begins to have doubts. Would a woman who loves dolls and protects servants be a Charlatan?
It’s the story of dealing with the past in order to secure a future with the person you love. There are plenty of colorful secondary characters to move the story along and the prerequisite wonderful happy ending that we all enjoy.
How did you react when The Call finally came?
I remember it was Saturday morning and I was checking my emails and there it was the acceptance from my editor. It was all a bit unreal actually; I mean I’d wanted it for so long it was kind of hard to believe it had actually happened. I told my son and husband, my daughter was in England so I woke her up. Then I pretty much told everyone and a friend arrived with flowers and champagne and I don’t remember much after that.
I’ve been writing for years, but joining RWNZ eight years ago was probably the catalyst for getting my writing to a point where it was ready submit. I started entering competitions and about four years ago I achieved success and it was then I began to submit. Persistence is important for aspiring writings and being able to take rejection of which there were plenty for me I can assure you.
Is this book part of a sequel? What’s next on your writing agenda?
I actually hadn’t thought about a sequel but I’ve had a few people ask about Amelia and Stephen who are secondary characters, so I may write their book at some stage. I’ve been working on another series and a few stand alone books, plus a contemporary; I usually have a few things on the go at one time, so we’ll see what happens with those.
Since we are a Tearoom, what’s your favorite tea?
English Breakfast, strong but milky with one sugar.
And finally, if your house were burning down what five books would you take with you?
Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon, Into The Wilderness – Sara Donati, These Old Shades – Georgette Heyer, An Offer From A Gentleman – Julia Quinn, and Angela Falls – Nora Roberts
The Reluctant Countess
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.