“To have a successful writing career, you must be willing to sacrifice a great deal. The book and the deadline come first before anything else. Writing is not a job; it is a lifestyle, and it is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. You need self-confidence and an iron carapace.” – Virginia Henley
Well-known for her Medieval, Renaissance and other period piece romance novels, Henley recently celebrated her 82nd birthday, spending the day working on her writing, of course. A tireless proponent of “work ethic,” she spends many hours a day at her craft. Since the late 1970s when she was first published, she has authored 30 historical novels, including New York Times bestsellers Seduced and Desired, and written many other novellas. Her work is now out in 14 languages.
Historical detail is the hallmark of her novels, from the practices and traditions of the day, to trends in fashion, and the day-to-day lives of prominent families. Henley weaves them into a rich tapestry for her tales. And her technique is one I like using myself. Bringing in "real" people to the story.
with my fictional characters,” she said. “History gives me the plot. I research the period meticulously, and then I blend in a romantic and sensual love story to give it balance. The heavier the history, the more romantic the couple must be.”
Henley has won many major awards - including the Romantic Times “Lifetime Achievement Award.” As for what might work best for someone who wants to be a writer of historical “love” fiction, Henley offered the same advice of most other prominent writers. “Read! I love to read history books, which is where I get my ideas,” she said. And, she added with a smile, “I also read historical romance for pleasure.”
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