Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: Vicky Dreiling

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Vicky Dreiling as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual book tour.

Vicky’s latest release is HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. Here’s a brief synopsis: Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...
Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

Thanks to Vicky, Anna and the folks at Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of HOW TO MARRY A DUKE (ISBN:9780446565370) to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for giveaway guidelines.

Vicky joins us today to answer some questions about writing and her latest release.

Mason: As readers we can't help but imagine authors' lives as being all glamorous and fun. What is a typical 'glam' day like for you?

Vicky: My typical ‘glam’ day begins with donning a fashionable outfit: hot pink sweats and Nick & Norah slippers. I towel-dry my damp hair and admire my avant-garde coiffure. Jennifer Anniston is well-known for her signature haircut The Rachel. I figure I can be well-known for The Medusa.

Next, I stumble off to my desk and chug my caffeinated beverage of choice – Coke Zero. I’m determined to review my latest brilliant chapter, but a chirp alerts me. This could be important! I check Twitter & immediately find myself play working on savvy marketing efforts.

At noon, I microwave a glamorous meal (God bless Lean Cuisine) and read the new chapter. In horror, I realize it makes no sense. Undeterred, I crack my knuckles in anticipation of a brilliant revision when my smart phone beeps. A writer friend has texted me and wants to meet for dinner. I reluctantly turn her down because sacrificing for one’s art (never mind that the latest chapter is rubbish) is part of the glamorous life of a romance author.

The doorbell rings. I fling open the door and smile at the UPS man. He hands me a box and flees to his truck as if he’s seen … Medusa. After I tear open the box, I find copies of my book and sniff a little. I conclude this is truly the glamorous part of being a romance author.

Mason: What was the hardest part of writing HOW TO MARRY A DUKE?

Vicky: Let me count the ways! But since I have to choose, I’d say the hardest parts were the beginning and the ending.

I first conjured up the idea for a Regency era version of the TV show The Bachelor after watching one episode. I was excited about the prospect, but I found it challenging to provide the hero with motivation to hire a matchmaker. Because HOW TO MARRY A DUKE is a romantic comedy, I chose to use a situational comic problem. Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne desperately needs a wife because he has no heir. But the scandal sheets, the Regency equivalent of modern tabloids, have proclaimed him the most eligible bachelor in England. He is besieged by every silly debutante in the ton and despairs of ever finding a suitable duchess. Naturally, I planted Tessa, my independent, matchmaking heroine right under his nose. The two square off immediately as their values about marriage are in direct contradiction. He seeks to marry for duty, but she believes love is the basis for a sound marriage.

The ending proved difficult as well. While planning the
courtship activities, Tristan and Tessa spend a great deal of time alone. Despite their differences, they grow closer. But they dare not give in to their desire or all of society would condemn them. Furthermore, Tristan is honor-bound to marry one of the bridal candidates, and Tessa has a secret that could ruin them both. Truthfully, there were so many obstacles to overcome that I had trouble resolving the book. I spent days trying to figure out how to bring this couple together without sacrificing their honor. When the answer came to me, I got a bit misty-eyed as I wrote the twist on the Cinderella ending.

Mason: What was the most fun part of writing this book?

Vicky: I enjoyed the sparring between Tristan and Tessa. I loved writing their dialogue and was often surprised at their wit. Yes, I wrote it, but sometimes characters take on a life of their own.

Mason: I understand you write to music and even create soundtracks for your books. Do you have your music picked out before you begin to write or does the writing select the music as you go?

Vicky: I search for music on iTunes and find songs that fit certain scenes. The soundtracks are an eclectic mix of contemporary and classical music.

Mason: What can readers expect next from you?

Vicky: The next book HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL features two secondary characters from HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. Hawk, a charming rogue, reluctantly agrees to be Lady Julianne’s guardian for the season. He’s certain the seemingly prim and proper Julianne will pose no problem at all. But he has no idea she has secretly penned a lady’s guide to snaring bachelors in the parson’s mousetrap. :)

What a fun Q&A! Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.

Vicky, thank you for answering all my questions. It interesting and fun to learn more about an author’s ‘real day’ of work rather than what we as readers image.

For some background on Vicky. She is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.”

When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. She holds degrees in English literature and marketing. A native Texan, she shares her home with her daughter and a spoiled mini-lop rabbit that lives in a slightly gnawed cardboard cottage. For more about Vicky and her books, visit her website:

Now for the giveaway guidelines. To enter this giveaway, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win How To Marry A Duke.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from Hachette). And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance at one of the 3 copies of HOW TO MARRY A DUKE will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Feb. 3.

Here’s a book trailer for Vicky’s HOW TO MARRY A DUKE, enjoy!


  1. Vicky, thanks again for answering my questions. I love your answers about the 'glam' day and I'm another one who is glad for Lean Cuisine. Best of luck.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Vicky.

    Vicky - You're not the only one who has to focus hard on beginnings and ends of stories. Getting the reader interested right away, and then wrapping up the story at the end can be tricky. I wish you all the best with How to Marry a Duke.

  3. sounds like a very useful manual for modern girls :)))

  4. Vicky, Your book sounds very entertaining! I love this statement, "find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live". Isn't that all men's (and women's)hope after the lust is gone? :) Best of luck to you.

    Mason, thanks for the great interview.


  5. Vicky, It sounds like you've got a fun writing day going on! I like the idea of a play list to inspire the story. I don't listen to music while I'm writing, but when I'm away from the keyboard, it definitely gets my thoughts percolating.

  6. Thanks for this review. It is so nice to have reviews like this and get an insight into the author.It does look like a good book.

  7. What a delightful interview!

    thanks Mason and Vicky.

    HOW TO MARRY A DUKE sounds pretty darn delightful also!

  8. Best wishes for your release, Vicky! You had me laughing with your horror over chapters that don't make sense. Ha! I've done the same and sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I was writing!

  9. I can't promise this is a novel for me, but I DO love the author's humor and willingness to take a humorous look at herself. Thanks for the great interview, Mason!


  10. Mason, where did you find such a gem of an author? Vicky sounds fun and vibrant, her book sounds fab and the video blew me away!

    Loved the interview in case you didn't guess. ;0

  11. Oh, this book sounds fantastic! Vicki, big thumbs up on the hot pink track suit!

  12. It sounds like she dresses like I dress! I'm debating going on a cruise because I hear you have to dress up. Well, I do like the idea of creating a soundtrack for your book.

  13. Yeah, our real days are usually rather grungy.

  14. Mason, I loved the questions you sent, especially the "glam" part LOL. Yes, I see Alex is onto me. :-) Today, I'm sporting jeans, a blue sweater, a pink bathrobe, and of course, my Nick & Nora slippers.

    Margot, I know a lot of writers who cannot move forward until they get the beginning right. I knew some things about the ending - that it would be a twist on Cinderella - but I didn't know how to resolve it. Sometimes you have to trust in your subconscious to work out problems, whether it's writing or some other endeavor.

    Thanks, Dezmond and Teresa aka JW! Good luck in the drawing.

    Joanne, I write to music for 2 reasons. Number 1: the music is like a cue that it's time to write. I'm like Pavlov's dog. Crank up the iPOD, and I'm in the writing zone. The second reason is because I'm one of those rare extroverted writers. This means I lose energy unless I get people contact, but writing is a solitary endeavor. Listening to music helps keep my energy levels from plunging.

    Thanks, Marg, Kaye, and Elizabeth for your kind words. Yes, Elizabeth, we writers have to be honest about our efforts. For some reason, they always seem so much better in retrospect than in reality. :-) God bless revision (& of course Lean Cuisine).

    Michele, it's always a stretch trying new authors and/or subgenres. I try to widen my horizons by reading outside the romance genre. (Of course I read all the classics in my lit classes, but I digress). One of my favorite contemporary, non-romance authors is Jodi Picoult.

    Glynis, thanks so much. I love your enthusiasm - you sound like me. When I get excited about something, I just have to let others know. :-) I do love the video. The Production company Circle of Seven really did a fabulous job of capturing the spirit of HOW TO MARRY A DUKE.

    Talli & Clarissa, I don't get dressed up very often. But once a year at the Romance Writer's of America conference, I do the glam thing. That reminds me, I have a funny blog I wrote about getting a makeover. Here's the link if you're interested:

    Thanks everyone! Best wishes on winning one of my books!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I spent most of this post laughing out loud because Vicky is so funny! Her wit had me grinning from ear to ear.

    Vicky, I look like Medusa when towel drying my hair too.

    This book sounds like great fun. Thanks for this interview, Mason.


  17. Vicky - this sounds like a fun read, something I'd really enjoy.

    Mason - thanks for the introduction

  18. Jai and Linda,

    I'm glad to "meet" you. Thanks everyone for your interest in HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!

  19. I love your voice already, Vicki, just from the interview. I don't usually read romances, but this one sounds too fun to pass up.

    Thanks for hosting Mason.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  20. Vicky, you are so delightful, I'm confident your book is a winner. Now, if I could be a winner....!!

  21. Great review. I love hearing how stories come about.

  22. Hope I win ,it's cold outside,so reading helps to pass the time.Deb-


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.