I come from a long line of storytellers. I remember sitting on the living room floor while the adults told stories, my imagination running gamut over all the possibilities.
But I didn’t have the same fascination with the written word; in fact, English was my worst subject in school. I wasn’t able to understand grammar and all the rules and exceptions, let alone understand all the spelling rules and exceptions.
However I loved reading, even tho my mind would add words to the pages or miss important words in paragraphs. As an adult working with my children’s homeschooling, I had to deal with their different learning styles. I accidently discovered the main issues I have with “English” are dyslexia. This is self-diagnosed, but it answered many questions I had about learning and why I simply wasn’t able to wrap my mind around grammar and spelling. Coming to the understanding that I really was trying my hardest to do the simple things, the same things others like my mom excelled at, opened my mind to the possibility I was not stupid or lazy.
That was how our team worked, Mom was the nuts and bolts and I did the research and out of the box thinking. I have a lot to be grateful for in my writing career. My mother was my rock, and was able to take what I wrote and make it into what I meant. During the last year of her illness she spoke with our friends and family urging them to support me when I was able to pick up the pieces and start writing again.
Apparently my children took her pleas to heart. They kept telling me to keep writing, they believe I still have stories to tell. Mom also contacted our mentor, JoEllen Conger, and asked her to be my editor and whip cracker if needed. She kept her promise to my mom and has helped me fulfil the dream mom and I had of getting our first manuscript usable.
I have faith that all that has happened was meant to be. I fully believe in a reason, a season or a lifetime. I am grateful for all the support I have from my family and friends and every word I write means success.
Legacy From Yesteryear
Brief synopsis of your book:
Legacy From Yesteryear is set in early December 1810 in London, England. Margaret Wentworth cared for her mother, Melody, until she died from the wasting sickness. The day of her passing her husband, and Meg’s father, rushed to get doctor. When he returned, Melody died in his arms. He gently returned her to the bed, and upon standing had a heart attack and died instantly. Thus Legacy begins after the double funeral/burial of her parents. Meg finds out she is destitute and must live with distant relatives she has never met.
During her travel from London, England to The Haven, the family estate a full days carriage ride, Meg meets James Cunningham, the fifth son to the Duke of Sommerville. She is returning from the Inn they stopped to switch horses to the carriage when she is separated from her travelling companion. Lost in a fog of grief she doesn’t realize she is alone until two questionable gentlemen accost her as she is walking in the yard.
Jamie, recognizing the cut of cloth of her pelisse and the aura of gentility, comes to her rescue. Once he has dispatched the dandies, he returns Meg to the relative safety of her carriage. Names are not exchanged, although he does hear her addressed as Miss Meg. He notes the direction the carriage takes, namely away from London, determined to discover her identity and situation. Unbeknownst to Jamie, he works as a solicitor for Meg’s family and his boss is in charge of Meg’s father’s will and estate.
Meg arrives after dark and is escorted upstairs to a room for the night. The next morning, after breakfast, she is presented to her new guardian, the Duke of Rochester. His opinion of females is very low, and his conversation is very uncaring of Meg’s emotional state. He demands that she begins her duties as secretary for his wife immediately. Still in shock from losing everything, and his indifferent manner of communication, she mutely complies.
She is able to sort all the communications and discovers, to her delight, her favorite cousin is coming to visit The Haven, will be arriving the very next day. Lady Tabitha Phillips was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Charlotte and is arriving to determine if one of the Duke’s daughters is ready for her come out.
Meg’s duties are to help prepare the household for the upcoming holiday house party the Duke and Duchess are having for Boxing Day. They feel since they didn’t know Meg’s family they will not be cancelling their holiday. Meg is told she will help prepare for events but would not be attending due to her “being in morning”. Also Meg’s room will remain in the servants’ quarters, at least until their guests leave after the holiday. Also she is to take her meals with the servants and rise early and take the “load” off the Duchess’ shoulder and run the household.
Fortunately, Meg’s mother had been preparing her to take care of a household, since Meg was supposed to have come out the year prior to Melody’s illness. Meg is able to perform her duties to the satisfaction of the Duchess.
Lady Phillips arrival still throws the estate into an uproar, as the Duke and Lady Phillips have a kind of feud going on. However, the Duke hopes his daughter, Tabitha the second will become Lady Phillips heir, as she is a wealthy woman in her own right. However, Tabitha II is not ready for a come out. Lady Phillips requires Meg’s assistance in grooming the younger woman into someone that Lady Phillips feels can go “out in society”.
The evening Lady Phillips’ arrives and the family and guests are having dinner, the housekeeper discovers Meg will be stuck in the in hospitable room, away from the family. Immediately she and several other servants troop to the attic to retrieve items that can make Meg’s room more “liveable”, among them an armoire and a tapestry that will play important part in our story. Meg is able to spend some time unpacking, including hanging an unfinished portrait of her parents.
Soon after, when dressing for the day, Meg discovers a hidden drawer with a journal from her ancestress, Serena and a clue for proving her intelligence in her ability to solve the mystery left behind. Meg shares her discovery with Lady Phillips and the hunt is on.
Meg searches the attic for more journals seeking to know the mind that left a seemingly easy puzzle behind that has so far stumped every attempt to solve it. Meg meets a young painter who has been retained to paint the Duke’s family portraits. He sees Meg’s portrait of her parents on the wall, and discovers he has been speaking with his mentor’s daughter. He implores Meg to allow him to finish the portrait originally intended to be a gift for her anyway. As he leaves he sees the tapestry as well, and inadvertently gives Meg the answer to the clue she needs.
In the mean time, Jamie has reported his concern to Mr. Smith, the family solicitor, about the care, or lack there of, for Meg. He finds out her entire situation and is disappointed he has no reason to check in on her. However the crafty Mr. Smith’s family has been handling the legal affairs of the Rochester’s for several generations. He is certain there must be something that can be a legitimate reason for Jamie’s visit. Jamie gets all the old files, and is able to discover unfinished business that requires his attention at the estate.
Jamie enlists his mother in an attempt to find out more about the Duke and Duchess of Rochester, only to discover the current one has not held the title for long, nor have they visited London or the Ton.
Soon the firm has communication of other matters that also need attention at The Haven. Jamie acts as Mr. Smith’s emissary to see what solutions he can bring. He is finally, officially introduced to Ms. Margaret Wentworth. When apprized of her quest, he is delighted for her good fortune. He appreciates she needs time to come out of morning before he can begin to court her, but he is delighted to lend his support in solving any clues he can.
The estate has been without a steward for the entire time the current Duke has held the title and in dire need of assistance. Jamie has someone in mind that can lend a hand in digging the estate out of the suds, and keep an eye on Ms. Wentworth. Jamie fears the Duke will be abusive towards his ward, and Jamie wants to have someone to watch over her until he can legally remove her from her guardian.
Unfortunately, Jamie doesn’t meet the Duke on his first visit, and upon his return visit, ends up in an altercation with the Duke that leaves him suffering a concussion and unable to travel. This news arrives as his parents are arriving at their estate for the holiday. Jamie’s parents don't take this news well, travelling by horseback to The Haven, intending to settle matters Duke to Duke, to Jamie’s mortification.
The eve of their arrival also brings the first snowstorm of the season. The unwelcomed guests are stuck. Soon it’s apparent something else is also going on in the background, which the Duke of Sommerville is determined to discover.
The first book concludes with the discovery of the first hidden jewel and the second clue revealed.
Current book or project you’re working on:
I am working on the next book in the Legacy From Yesteryear Series, tentatively titled – Legacy From Yesteryear: All Roads Lead To Love
What was the inspiration for your novel?
I was looking for a “happily ever after” ending for myself as a child, but I couldn’t bear for one of my family members to die for it to happen, so I made up a rich relative that left a treasure hunt. The idea germinated for years before it sprung fully developed when Mom and I first started writing together.
Please share three interesting facts about your book, which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Marty the painter is based on Martin Short from Father of the Bride.
2) When we started this manuscript we didn’t start at the beginning, we started more towards the middle of the Epic Whole Manuscript that ended up being over 300,000 (yes, the comma is in the right spot) word novel.
3) Mom and I had about two weeks of pure fun thinking of actors and actresses that we would cast as our characters. That’s when they really came to life for us, and why they sometimes read as someone familiar.
Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
Mary Bellows, the Duchess of Rochester. Her character goes from a forgotten little mouse to a full blown interesting person by the end of the series.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
No, not of myself. Cousin Tabitha reminds me a lot of my mom, whether she ever saw it or not, I’ll never know.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
I would pick Catherine Coulter, because she writes the same time period and she also writes mystery. She writes both historical and modern mystery/adventures. Once I have the manuscripts Mom and I completed through the editing process, I would like to give a modern day mystery/adventure story a try. I can feel an idea working behind the scenes, so I have confidence when I am ready, it will attack me.
What genre does your book fall into?
Legacy From Yesteryear is a historical set, sweet romance adventure with mystery elements. I took EVERYTHING I loved in a story and put it in my writing. Then I found out that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work. 10+ years later I am able to use Indie Publishing and do exactly what I expected to be able to do.
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
Wow, I really had to think about this one. I have been surrounded by books my whole life, so to pick the ONE that most affected me…well, it wasn’t the answer I expected.
I would have to say it’s between the Bible and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I had thought of myself as a “thankful” person as is encouraged by Bible writings, but Ms. Byrne’s book taught me the difference between thankfulness and gratitude. Coming to that understanding changed so many things in my personal life and my writing.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Diana Gabaldon, her Outlander series is the whole reason my mom and I started writing in the first place. Our idle hands needed a book to fill them, and Ms. Gabaldon was going as fast as she could. It took longer then we could understand at the time. Now I can truly say, “I am sorry we weren’t more patient with your process.” Not that I think she was holding her breath waiting for that apology.
2) Lynn Kirkland, time travel is a favourite story concept for me, and she also writes a fantasy series I enjoy.
3) Terry Brooks, Epic fantasy writer that also wrote a book describing his writing process. His process is very similar to mine, and I appreciated understanding I wasn’t alone. A very big plus for me is he is prolific, as are both of the other two authors I’ve mentioned.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
Yes, I have. I can’t imagine any author not having at least one they couldn’t finish reading. I’m not going to name names or books, but those are the reason I really felt I had a chance to succeed as an author. I also feel that life’s too short to be stuck reading a book you are not enjoying. Not every book is for everyone just like every movie isn’t for everyone.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Yes, I read books when writing my book. Two reasons: First of all for research. I never realized how much I didn’t know until I had to write about that period in time.
Second, it takes a long time for us to write a novel. Epic is as short as it has ever been. Plus sometimes research takes a long time to discover exactly what we need, there are times when you just can’t figure out the right string of words to search or ask a question of a knowledgeable person in the right way.
Some days the writing is emotionally impactive or very draining. Then I just need to read something else, hopefully not more draining or emotional.
How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why? Mom and I wrote 5 Epic novels together, and she wrote many others herself, that have been lost in various moves.
As for a favourite, I would have to say the second book in the Ethan’s Flight series is my favorite.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
I don’t usually need help to get into the mood to write. We have eight people and a dog that live in a 3-bedroom townhouse. Mostly I just have to plug in earphones and stare down anyone who dares to stop the creative flow. Funny how life threatening I can look when the house isn’t on fire and I just lost that train of thought.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) When we first started, we didn’t know how much we didn’t know. But it didn’t take long to figure out we were trying for ideas and methods that were not the accepted methods. That was the worst, knowing we had a good story, but it sat on our shelf for years until the available, “acceptable” methods changed and we were able to move ahead with the story that we’ve loved for years. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t live to see this happen.
2) My Mom’s death really set me back for several reasons. On a personal level I lost one of my best friends, and of course my mom. There are days when the loss is a fresh as the day it happened, and not just for me. On a professional level, Mom was the editor of the team. English may be my only language, but on paper grammar and I just glare at each other. I am also the Queen of the “Run On” Sentence. If you haven’t noticed by now, I am sure you will figure it out before too long. So, I’ve had to find someone that could help me through the editing process. She was part of the plan, Mom made sure of that before she died, and JoEllen Conger has been so supportive and patient with my learning process. I literally couldn’t have published Legacy From Yesteryear without her.
3) The dreaded Blank Page is my third biggest challenge. I can take something already written and make it into something different/better but starting that first run through is very difficult. I have done it in the past, but I do better editing the story, not the grammar edit.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer? The first, BEST, advice we ever got was to join Romance Writers of America. We did write romance, but even if we didn’t write romance, we would have joined. They have a training program that is fantastic. I don’t know what the traditional colleges or universities offer for writing, but RWA offers classes that are exactly what authors need from character development to marketing to how to be a career writer to, well, just about anything.
The next thing I learned was that whatever your genre there is a group just like RWA out there and you should join, for at least a year. Some groups you will stay in, some you will take what you learn and part ways.
Writing is a solitary career (except for all the people that populate your mind) and it can be lonely, and these groups are places you can go an talk with others that know where you are coming from.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’? I haven’t really experienced writer’s block in the traditional sense of the word. Legacy From Yesteryear is the first book I’ve worked on since my mom died, and there were times when I just couldn’t work on it at all. I would have to read it with a box of tissues next to me and tears pouring down my face.
I don’t generally have a problem with not being able to write a story, my writer’s block is more writers’ interruption. After I get interrupted so many times, I can’t get my flow of the story and lose where I was going. That sometimes I can restart, other times it’s gone.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Do the research and follow the rules the “traditional” publisher has. Rejection can be a part of the process, but it doesn’t have to be. With our second book, Ethan’s Flight, we did the research. We made the decision to not go with an agent, so anyone that required you have an agent we didn’t apply to. That took out most of the brick and mortar publishers and left the small publishers. The guidelines are there for a reason. We pick the publisher that fit what we wanted, and we had what they wanted. We sent one submission for Ethan’s Flight and were offered a contract from that publisher. Your publisher is one of the most important decisions you can make. Take the time and do it right the first time.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a book? I haven’t written a book entirely by myself, I don’t know. I still have 4 manuscripts to get polished before I tackle a story that I start from scratch. It took us between a year to a year and a half per book. Legacy took almost three because we had to learn our craft too. Ethan’s Flight took about a year and a half, but that we mostly because we had different research to do. Ethan’s Flight II only took about 10 months because we already had the research mostly done.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music. I don’t really have Hollywood aspirations. So many times the book and the movie are not compatible. I will be interested to see how Outlander translates into a series. My kids read the Harry Potter books and with one movie exception, they felt it followed the books very well.
Which book to movie conversion is your favourite? The Di Vinci Code
Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies? Yup, and mystery and action.
Do you study science, the planets, history or anything special to help you with your writing? Only when I am writing about a certain period in history will I watch documentaries or read books for that time period. I do plan on more non-fiction reading once I am able to have more control over my schedule. I am still working a J O B, but I plan to be in a position to take a leave of absence soon.
What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write?
For my mom writing was the first thing she thought about every day when she got up, and the last thing she thought about before going to sleep. And pretty much every moment in between.
So I grew up around writing, and storytelling. I never felt that driven to write, but I always had some story playing like a movie in my head.
But it wasn’t until we were waiting for Diana Gabaldon’s next book in the Outlander series, and since we were all caught up with our other favourite authors, that Mom and I took matters into our own hands.
So I guess the true answer to this question is my mom inspired me to write, because without her I would never have tried to get my stories on paper or screen or into other reader’s hands.
Drink – Occasionally, I like mixed alcohol drinks. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, but I drink water the rest of the time.
Food – Pot roast with all the trimmings including salad, biscuits and a chocolate dessert.
Vacation – Yellowstone National Park
TV show – Castle and The Voice
Movie – Thor
Animal – Dog
Sport – None
Book – I have too many and too many favourite authors.
How can people connect with you?
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Trout/e/B00HZ7CWYS
Where can readers find your book? :
At the moment,
Legacy From Yesteryear is only a digital e-read from Amazon.
The link is here:
It’s free the 15th to the 17th
I am working with a crowdfunding project that will help me get the rest of the money together so I can get the back cover and have a print book to offer readers and have the funds available for Indie Publishing the second book in the Legacy Series. Anyone that would like to know more about this process, the link is here: http://bit.ly/1cTuUyq