Today I would like to welcome the fabulous author Victoria Foyt to the blog for an interview. It just so happens that it's your lucky day because Victoria spills a few of her writing secrets with us as well as offering a finished copy of her novel, REVEALING EDEN (SAVE THE PEARLS, #1) donated by Victoria and her publisher.
If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation-her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her.
But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm-and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land.
Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.
- Can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?
As a young girl, I was always writing, whether it was long letters to pen pals and relatives, or diaries and journals. I couldn’t not write. In college, I studied foreign languages, which deepened my love of words and prose. Later, I had the opportunity to write screenplays, which helped hone my use of dialogue, location and story structure. As an actress, my understanding of character grew by leaps and bounds. For me, writing novels is a chance to bring together all that I’ve learned and fulfill my heart’s desire.
- How long did it take you to write REVEALING EDEN? During that time did you come across any blocks/times that you couldn’t write?
I rarely have writing blocks and mostly, stick to a regular schedule, just like any other job. The first draft came quite fast, driven by my excitement for the story. However, I felt something was missing when I reread it. I had written it in first person, and suspected that a different voice would add to the subtle misunderstandings between Eden and Bramford, thereby, increasing the romantic tension. So I began again, from scratch—ugh! This time, I wrote it in third person intimate, which means that the reader still sees the story through Eden’s eyes but without the benefit of all her “knowingness.” This change required a lot of work, but in the end, was well worth the effort. Suddenly, Bramford was very hot, and the romance, steamy, without sacrificing the tension of Eden’s peril as a Pearl.
- What inspired you to write REVEALING EDEN?
A burning question usually inspires me to write, what if…? In Revealing Eden (Save The Pearls Part one) the question was particularly intriguing: what would happen if global warming turned today’s prevailing beauty standards upside down? In the story, because Caucasians have less melanin in their skin to protect them from the sun’s burning rays, they are branded as inferior Pearls. Dark-skinned people, or Coals, have more resistance to the Heat, and therefore, now rule society. Eden Newman, a lithe blue-eyed blonde, would be considered gorgeous in our day, while in the future she has to beg for a mate or suffer an early death. The dystopian direction in which this “what if” question took me surprised me, as my musings often do.
As a Pearl, Eden’s sees herself as ugly and inferior to others. Growing up, I never felt beautiful. I focused on developing my mind and told myself I didn’t care about looks. Years later, when I starred in several indie films, I was flabbergasted by reviews that praised my beauty. To this day, I never have understood why appearance often matters more than character or intelligence.
Lastly, I had come to a point in my life where I wasn’t sure I believed in true love anymore. I’d been burned and decided love was a hoax. When Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, perhaps the only hope for mankind, she is cast out into the last patch of rainforest and into the arms of a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change, but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love. In writing her story, happily, I found a way to open my heart to true love!
- Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
I love Eden Newman’s courage in the face of oppression. Her willingness to open her heart when she’s been raised to believe that love is dead and all that matters is evolutionary climbing inspired me too. It was fascinating to take her from this frightened girl who is afraid to say her mind to someone who must fight for her survival, and in doing so, becomes stronger and also loving.
- Do you have a favorite story to tell about being interviewed about your book?
When you write a novel, you have no idea how it will be perceived. My first review came through the Huffington Post, from a woman who told me right up front that she didn’t really read fiction, let alone young adult dystopian novels. However, the premise of Revealing Eden dovetailed into her expertise as a counselor on beauty issues so she decided to review it. You can imagine how thrilled I was when she wrote a rave review in which she stated that although she mostly read non-fiction, she loved it! The first review is always the hardest.
- What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
“Do you wish you’d started writing novels in your teens or twenties?” In fact, I used to ask myself this question. Looking back, I now see that the seemingly circuitous path I took from studying foreign languages and literature in college, to acting and screenwriting and directing afterwards, all provided key tools I would need as a novelist. Meanwhile, I was accumulating invaluable life experiences and insights, in other words, my own take on the world, which gives a writer his or her “voice.” By the time I started my first novel in my thirties, I was ready to take off and fulfill my heart’s desire.
- Which authors have been most influential to your own writing?
The list of writers whom I admire and who have influenced me is long and varied. I have always been an enthusiastic reader of all kinds of books from romances by Jane Austen and Nora Roberts, and mysteries by Raymond Chandler, to biting social commentary such as Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger or Lois Lowry’s The Giver. As a teenager, I devoured Ernest Hemingway’s books, and have recently reread many of them. His direct prose and elegant storytelling definitely set the bar. On the other end of the spectrum, I adore Isabel Allende’s lush, more feminine prose and quixotic stories. One of my favorite books is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because it broke my heart, page after page. From each writer I have found the courage to find my own voice and to let my imagination run free.
- If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?
The study of herbs for healing, nutrition and beauty fascinates me. I took a class in herbology at a local school for acupuncturists and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the diagnostic aspect (I got an A in the class!). So perhaps, if I weren't a writer, I’d be a herbologist! I also love being outdoors: hiking, sailing, swimming, tennis, or taking road trips up to Northern California.
- If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell! This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it when I was about thirteen, and now, I can see how it influenced Revealing Eden. Both Scarlett and Eden, feisty, brave girls with a stubborn streak, are cast out of their familiar worlds and must learn to survive in an unfamiliar, dangerous one. They spar with intractable, very masculine men, Rhett Butler and Ronson Bramford, respectively. Their relationships are fraught with misunderstanding, and it takes a while for the women to realize how deeply in love they have fallen. Of course, the two books are vastly different, but I’m pleased to recall Mitchell’s influence on my young mind.
- Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.
Editing, editing, and even more editing. I grow anxious to move on to another story once I’ve finished the first draft because I have so many to tell. And yet, over the years, I have come to value the necessity of editing. Often, in the last stages, I will suddenly realize that some key element needs elaboration or more detail. Once I have reached the last draft and have seen the manuscript bloom, I’m grateful for the patience I found to edit. I might even have a little fun in the process.
- Please list seven random likes; then do the same for dislikes. Go way random.
1. Reading fiction in bed
2. Hot dates with my honey
3. Dark chocolate
4. Playing tennis
6. Long walks by the ocean
7. Coral-colored lipstick
2. Sharks (I once had a run-in with a Mako!)
3. Unnecessary drama
4. Waiting in long lines
5. Finding that my favorite dress is too tight
6. Catty women
7. Junk mail and texts
- Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for?
Save The Pearls Part Two, ADAPTING EDEN is in the works! If Eden thought life and love challenged her in the first book, the stakes ratchet even higher in the next. Her journey takes her from oppressed, fearful girl to an alpha babe, or Jaguar Babe. She must fight to save those she loves against impossible odds, testing herself beyond her limits—in love and physical strength—while the countdown to humanity’s extinction continues. I’ll tell you, it has been a wild, exciting ride to be in her head!
Raised in Coral Gables, Florida, Victoria attended the University of Miami and received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and French with a double minor in German and business.
Later, she studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Los Angeles, private acting classes with Geraldine Baron and many UCLA Extension film courses.
She cites her primary literary influence as Ernest Hemingway, and counts Don Quixote and Gone with the Wind as two of her favorite books.
Victoria currently lives in Santa Monica, California with her two children and a lot of books.
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Thank you very much for your time, Victoria and thank you for visiting with us!
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