Virginia Taylor Goes Beyond Beauty

Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to welcome Aussie author Virginia Taylor to the blog to talk about the joys of writing both historical and contemporary stories about love. 

I myself am a contemporary writer, but when I want to really escape from my everyday life, there's nothing I like better than curling up with an historical romance

I've read all three of Virginia's South Landers series, set in South Australia, and loved them .

Charlotte is the latest in the series. 

A marriage most inconvenient...


After losing his first love in childbirth, Nicholas Alden resolves never to be a father. But to marry is a very different matter—necessary for his family name. So when he meets beautiful social climber Charlotte, he believes he has found a wife he can keep at arm’s length. He is terribly wrong. 


Charlotte hopes Nick can prop up her reputation long enough to secure a suitable match for her beloved cousin. She assumes that is all she can ask of her new husband—until they succumb to a night of uninhibited passion. Her heart is won in his embrace, but he doesn’t know the truth of her scandalous parentage. If he did, all would be lost.


Still, somehow, Charlotte dares to hope that her match of convenience could become something more. It is a reckless gamble, but the prize—a marriage of blazing lifelong desire—is one worth any risk…


Read a little, buy the book...

A floorboard creaked in the hallway outside, and the door opened.

“You’re still awake, my delicate delight?” Nicholas, his tie loose and his waistcoat unbuttoned, entered their rooms, holding a bottle by the neck.

Every time she saw him seemed like the first time. She needed to glance away to regain control of her expression. Although she knew enough not to judge a man by his looks, no woman could resist the lure of the unobtainable. Despite his dishevelment, from the top of his gleaming hair to the toes of his crafted shoes, her husband was gorgeous. His manly body made a lie of the thick girlish eyelashes surrounding his bluish eyes.

“Barely awake.” She put her wedding ring on her middle finger where the band didn’t slip around as much and faked a yawn. He would want his room to himself. Her bedroom opened from a door on one side of the room and Nicholas’s opened on the other.

She offered him a careful smile. “Did you enjoy your evening?”

He placed his bottle on the drum table by his comfortable armchair. “Not at all. Join me.” He indicated the drink. Without waiting for her answer, he took two glasses from the bow-fronted cupboard beside the fireplace.

She hesitated, folding her sewing. The last time they had been alone was in the Hawthorn’s garden after which he had told her he would marry her only if she agreed not to interfere with his pleasures.

At the same time, he had mentioned he would not interfere with hers. 

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Virginia started as an art student, became a nurse/midwife, and then decided to write. While she awaited publication she worked in interior design and theatre set painting/design. Now she paints only when she needs to think about her next story.

 Avril Tremayne: How often do you get lost in a story? 

Virginia Taylor: Daily. When I start reading, real life disappears. I forget the day, the date, and too many appointments. I forget to eat. I’ve been like this about books all my life. My imaginary world has always taken over from my real one. 

Avril: You write both contemporary and historical – how easy is it to switch between the two and do you have a preference? 

Virginia: I like writing both. Contemporary is faster and easier because I can use my own voice and environment. I can also be a smart or funny or rotten to the core through one of my characters. The historicals I write are more formal in voice, more angsty, and properly researched. These take twice as long to write. If I wanted to give myself a break I would only write contemporaries, but I’m not that kinda girl. I need a challenge. Changing voices comes quite naturally with the different stories, though I need time out for a day or two after I switch so that I can get into the right persona. 

Avril: What was it about the character Charlotte that made you want to write her story? 

Virginia: My stories are character based. Nicholas Alden was a leftover from the first historical romance I wrote, Nell, which no longer exists. I wanted to find someone to redeem him. Although my heroes have to be good looking, (I admit to being shallow in that regard) my heroines need to cope with ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ In my first published historical romance, Starling, Alasdair takes a long time to ‘behold’ Starling’s beauty because she insists on being overshadowed.
Ella already knows she is eclipsed by her sisters, and yet her handsome hero Cal sees only her. I expect my heroes to be smart enough to see more than a woman’s looks. However, using a plain woman to redeem a breathlessly beautiful man would be a too obvious choice. 

I needed a beauty for Nick because Charlotte could see past his looks, as he could see beneath hers…eventually. 

Avril: Charlotte is book 3 in a series – what’s the link between the three books? 

Virginia: My historical series is rather complicated. I originally wrote a series of four historical romances but the first was unsaleable, as first books are. Charlotte was the second. In the original series, the heroes or heroines in the last two were introduced in the either of the first two. 

At the time, twenty years ago, this was a new idea. Since my agent couldn’t sell any of these manuscripts, I gave up and wrote my first standalone, Starling, and then the book I had always wanted to write, Ella. These two are only connected by the year and the setting.

The fourth in the South Landers series is Wenna, the third in my original series. This will be released in February next year. I plan to rewrite the first, Nell, at some stage.

So, since I have rewritten each story, the order of reading is immaterial. 

Avril: What’s your favourite time period and/or place to read about? 

Virginia: I love historical fiction of any type. I think I am educating myself but really all I do is absorb useless facts and forget important ones. 

Avril: What’s next for you? 

Virginia: I am contracted to write a contemporary romance series named Designing Women. And no, they’re not artful women but arty women. The first is a rich girl/poor boy story called Sets Appeal and features a theatre set designer and a set builder. The second is named Miss Perception. The heroine is a house sitting, garden designer and the hero is the tradesman working next door – and this is a misperception. I haven’t plotted the third yet. I have another year to do so. 

Avril: I love to pick up a few tips for myself every chance I get so I GOTTA ASK: As a romance reader, what's your pet hate? 

Virginia: Partial sentences and large amounts of white space on the written page give me a headache. I don’t need every sentence to make an impact on me. Sometimes I want to be dragged into the story by the smooth flow.

Thanks Virginia, for taking the time to chat.

Connect with Virgina via her website, on Facebook, and Twitter.

How important it is to you for the heroine to be the most beautiful character in the book? Tell us and enter the giveaway to win one of two e-copies of Charlotte, or one of two e-copies of Ella.

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  1. Thanks so much Avril for hosting me here.

  2. I need her to be interesting rather than just beautiful.

    1. I'm the same, Mary. Character is far more important than looks IMO.

  3. What a wonderful interview. I enjoyed learning more about Virginia.

    1. My life is an open book now, Elizabeth. :-)

  4. I really enjoyed reading these historicals set in Australia. Actually, I love all historicals, but I haven't seen enough Australian settings.

  5. I enjoy characters that are beautiful on the inside... show their flaws and quirks.

    1. It's the flaws and quirks that make most people beautiful, don't you think, Colleen?

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's a terrific series of book - I admire people who can cross between contemporary and historical.

  7. Great interview! Loved the questions. Entering give-away right now!! Can't wait to read more Avril.

    1. Thank you so much. It's great to talk to other authors and see what their motivations are.

  8. Hi Virginia

    I have these books on my must get list I have heard so many good things about them I have always loved historical :) and finding some set in Australia awesome.

    Beautiful in looks or personality either for me I often attach to a heroine (or Hero) by their personality rather than looks :)

    Have Fun

    1. Make sure you enter the giveaway Helen!

    2. I'm glad you have these on your list. I hope you enjoy them, Helen.

  9. Not for me, but she does have to be interesting to talk to.

    1. I like a strong, quirky heroine, with lots of interesting layers. Sometimes being beautiful can add to that, but I'd have to say the plain Jane trope is a bit of a favourite of mine.