Review of Victoria Dahl's Latest + Interview + GIVEAWAY!!!

>> Sunday, August 14, 2011

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Victoria Dahl's latest release IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU from Kensington Zebra for review.  Then doubly blessed when Victoria agreed to an interview.   And triply (is that a word?) fortunate to have her generously offer a giveaway!  YAY!!  It's a GREAT Monday!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

A copy of Victoria's A LITTLE BIT WILD, the first book in the York series.
1 of 5 custom bookmarks.

Victoria Dahl’s IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, is the second book in her historical romance York series and her August release.  I haven't read A LITTLE BIT WILD yet (though you can bet I will) and it's good for those of you in my position to know that IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU completely stands on its own.  Not once did I feel lost or out of sync because I hadn't read the prior novel!

IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is one of those books with instant intrigue. Victoria crafts a suspenseful read with characters I rooted for and story questions that made me turn the pages in search for their answers.

I’m a fan of tortured heroes and crafty, independent heroines, and IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU has both. The hero, Aiden, believes the love of his life, Kate, the heroine, is dead. Has been dead for a decade. When this novel begins, he is haunted by the resemblance of a random stranger to the woman he could never cast from his heart. And when he confronts the stranger, simply to prove to himself she isn’t the woman he thinks she is, he’s shocked to discover Kate is in fact alive.

Kate has many secrets and has told many lies in an effort to keep herself safe. She believes Aiden cast her aside so many years ago and now is determined to remain unknown, unhindered and undiscovered.
Click for larger image.
Bookmarks are even prettier
in person!
The black moment in this book was riveting and heart-rending. The suspense kept the pace fast and the storyline intriguing. The resolution pushed me to read to the very last page in the novel—not something I often do.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a tale woven from the strongest of human emotions, the harshness of life’s often random circumstances and the double-edged sword of endless love.

You can GET IT HERE in paperback or GET IT HERE on Kindle.

Now Victoria answers a few questions:

What is your writing routine?

I’m not exactly the most disciplined person you’ll ever meet. And by that, I mean I have to promise myself rewards, much as you would a small child. “If you get X words written before noon, you can go out to lunch with a girlfriend!” When I’m on deadline, I know what word count I need to hit every day. It’s often something around 2500 words. I can’t write 2500 words in one sitting, so I’ll normally do one hour of intense writing, which should get me close to 1000 words, and then I’ll take a few hours to brainstorm and write the next 1500.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My number one way of interacting with readers is via Twitter. It’s immediate and easy and quick, and it doesn’t feel like work. (See Question #1.) I’m terrible at Facebook and almost as bad with email, sadly. I procrastinate, and then I feel guilty, and then the whole big mass of emails and Facebook messages and guilt hangs over my head like a boulder. That’s when I like to hide in my Twitter cave and frantically tell dirty jokes.

What are you reading now?
I’m just finishing up Courtney Milan’s novella Unlocked, which is beautiful! I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books about Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as my next contemporary series is set there. I just read a not-yet-released Ann Aguirre book, Enclave, as well as an untitled manuscript from my amazing critique partner, Jennifer Echols. It’s so very nice to have lots of friends who are amazing writers and send me advance work. *GRIN*

What is in your TBR pile?
Oh, my God. What isn’t in my TBR pile? That thing about how nice it is to have great writer friends? It’s also torturous! Because I want to read all of their books and I can’t keep up! Let me fire up my Kindle and we’ll see what’s on it:

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Broken by Megan Hart
Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I’m a mom of two, so I spend a lot of my time making sure the house is spotless and the kids eat nothing but home-cooked organic foods. *snort* That’s a joke. But I do spend a lot of time hanging out with them and buying Lunchables at the grocery store. Before I had kids, I worked in financial services and banking. Exciting!

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
All of my books start with an idea for one scene. Just one scene, maybe even just a few heartbeats in that scene. In IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, it was the moment when Aidan sees Kate for the first time in ten years. That’s the idea that started the book for me, and then I work back from there. Who are these people? Why is his reaction so visceral and heartbreaking? What happened to bring them to this place? How will he react? That’s where the story always starts. I love that moment of curiosity.

Tell us about your upcoming recent release, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.
IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak. His own behavior has only added to his torment over the years, and he hates the man he’s become. But when he’s reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont, anything seems possible. Redemption, love, happiness. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. Still, even the most dangerous of secrets can’t stop her from responding to his touch…or his heart.

What are your current projects?
I just turned in the last book of my Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do and Real Men Will will be out in September, October and November. And now I’m starting a brand new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don’t have any titles yet, as I’m only nine pages into the first book, but I’m having fun!

Where can we find you online?
On Twitter!
My website:
and my email of shame:

Bookmarks are more gorgeous in person!
Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

A copy of Victoria's A LITTLE BIT WILD
1 of 5 custom bookmarks

**US/Canada shipping for books**
**International shipping for bookmarks**
*MUST leave contact email**
(otherwise how will we tell you YOU WON?)


Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. During the summer she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time). During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 

Her first published novel, the winner of the coveted Golden Heart for best long historical romance, debuted in 2007. As of the end of 2012, she will have seventeen books and novellas in print in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance.

Victoria's first contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both the Romance Writers of America® Rita Award and the National Readers' Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the contemporary anthology Midnight Kiss!


Robin 9:51 PM  

What a great interview! I like the Twitter cave comment, and making bargains with yourself about getting work done - I do that too! Your book looks excellent, I want to read it!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes 10:01 PM  

Wonderful post!Victoria, I love the mountains as I live on one up her in Alaska north of Fairbanks. I imagine its wonderful place to be inspired simply because of it's quiet and beauty. I get so lost in thought myself when I wandering around our 10 acres, well except for the mosquitoes that is...:)
Thank you for the wonderful contest, and post!



jnewberry 2:50 AM  

Hi Joan, Thank-you this is a great interview, Could you ask Victoria Please, Where she gets the idea of character names from? Are they friends or family names and if they are someone she knows, are they happy to have their names in print, Thank-you x x

Mollie Bryan 3:21 AM  

Talk Me Down is one of my favorite contemporaries. And your historicals are extraordinary. I wondered about your process of switching between contemporary and historical. They are so different in tone, vocabulary, and so on. Do you work on them at the same time, like, contemporaries in the morning, historicals in the afternoon?

Maureen 3:40 AM  

Congratulations to Victoria on her new release! It has to be difficult to write books in a series and make each one stand alone. You don't want to bore people who read previous books but someone who hasn't read them needs to know what already happened.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

ClaudiaGC 6:09 AM  

Congrats on your new book, Victoria!
I've only read Victoria's contemporaries and I love them! Have to get her Historicals, too. They sound awesome!

claudigc at msn dot com

Obscured Vixen 7:37 AM  

Hi Victoria! Great interview and thanks for the awesome giveaway!

ReneeRearden 7:39 AM  


It's Always Been You has an intriguing premise. I live tortured heroes and dangerous secrets. I can't wait to read about Aiden and Kate...AND look for your paranormal work. I read several genres, but I am fascinated that you write several genres. Do you favor one over the others?


ReneeRearden 7:41 AM  

Oops...I love tortured heroes!

Raonaid Luckwell 8:48 AM  

I've yet to read any of Victoria's books; however I do follow her on twitter and she always entertains me on there.

Friend of mine got me some of her books at a library sale and I'm impatiently waiting.

I'm curious about the rituals you go through to get ready to write either your historicals (you know get you in that time period mind frame) and contemporaries

raonaid at gmail dot com

Victoria Dahl 9:24 AM  

Wow, so many great questions! Thank you for the warm welcome.

Julie, I get most of my character name ideas from a certain baby name book I found years ago. It's called the Baby Name Survey book & it notes what characteristics people generally associate with names.

From there, I go with characterization. For example, in this series, the matriarch of the family is theatrical and extravagant. I knew she'd choose unusual names for her children, hence Marissa and Aidan, which are hardly common for the period. But the oldest son of the family is named Edward, because I didn't think her husband would allow her to be theatrical with the heir. ;-)

I occasionally name secondary characters after friends and family. My sister is still mad that I named a maid after her in my fist book. But it was a FRENCH maid!!!

Anonymous,  9:38 AM  

Thanks for the great post. I love the name Aiden.
I love when I read books with names of people I know in them but I have never seen my name used in any books. I guess it's just to boring. LOL
Do you ever try to find out the most popular names in a location/time period so that you can use those for the misc. characters in a book? I am always curious if the names fit the period. I would love to win and thanks for the giveaway.
Patti P
musicalfrog at

Victoria Dahl 9:43 AM  

Mollie, thank you for your kind words about my books! I only work on one book at a time, copyedits and proofreading aside. It's actually refreshing to switch from one genre to another. It helps stave off burn out, I think. Like cleansing the palate. I do have to be careful though, as my critique partner points out that my language is sometimes too formal at the start of a contemporary if I've just finished up an historical!

Renee, I don't really have a favorite genre to write. Contemporaries flow a little faster because the dialogue and situations are familiar and easy to imagine. But with historicals, it's soooooo easy to come up with conflict. All I need i one stubborn/evil/uptight parent and all the heroine's choices are taken away. Or one mistake and hero has to choose between marriage and destroying his honor! So both genres are deliciously fun to write.

Kelly S 10:09 AM  

Hi Victoria,

I'm very much looking forward to the Donovan series! I bought a copy of A Little Bit Wild last Friday. So, if I think I'm suppose to let someone else win or something like that. ;)

As for a question, hmm, what is your favorite organic-grown, made-from-scratch meal that you love to prepare for your family? I'm guessing nachos or something in a crock pot or carry-out. ;)

See you on twitter!

Debra 10:14 AM  

I just love your books!! Why did you decide to write? And Why Romance books? Would love to read your latest.

*The Purple Witch* 10:32 AM  

Comment comment comment...want to win cool stuff...LMAO Victoria is AWESOME POSSUM! and i bug her on twitter like a stalker so i cant think of a good question i havent already asked when shes hiding out in her twitter cave making the best dirty jokes EVER. :-) (which seriously..twitter CAVE?)

The.purple.witch21188 at gmail dot com

Connie 10:48 AM  

What a great sounding book. From reading the review, I'm sure it will keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seat with a box of tissues close by. I look forward to reading it!

Connie Fischer

Diane P. Diamond,  11:34 AM  

Thank you for such an enjoyable interview and for giving us all a chance to read an excerpt of " It's Always Been You".

This excerpt is simply awesome. I absolutely adore and love a good love story. I'm literally chomping at the bit to read this story as it contains everything that I love, passion, intrigue and romance. I love to be carried away to another time and place where people lived, loved, and were finding their way to each other.

I'm always grateful for being so delightfully entertained whilst being enriched & enlightened at the same time.

My question for you is:- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I love the cover art and the colors on the cover. Simply stunning!!!

Congratulations on your new release and, for this awesome opportunity.

dpd333 (at) aol (dot) com

Joan Swan 11:35 AM  

I listened to Talk Me Down on audio on my way to and from work and laughed my ass off. People driving by me probably thought I was insane...then again...they'd be close! But I also loved the way Victoria wove in suspense with the humor and enjoyed the whole shift in the story. Created a very rich read.

Hmmm...can I enter my own giveaway? *snort*

Oh, and for those having trouble leaving comments -- my sincere apologies. Blogger can be quite finicky...hence my reason for getting a total website redesign to obtain matching WORDPRESS blog. Should be out soooooooon, but until then, thry using various profiles to comment or just name and url or annonymous and put your name and email in the post. Even I have to comment as a name/url on my own darn blog! Grrrrr....

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Victoria, thanks for guesting!!

Anonymous,  11:40 AM  

Oh, you are a new to me author so my question is, what book do you think I should start with. Historicals are my favorite. And your cover is gorgeous.


Laurie Damron 12:32 PM  

Great interview, ladies! I'm a fairly new Victoria Dahl fan - recently read TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN (loved it!) and now have several more downloaded to my Kindle! I'm looking forward to IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU and the new Donovan Brothers series!!

Jane 2:31 PM  

Congrats to Victoria on the new release. I've enjoyed Victoria's contemporaries, but have never tried her historicals.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Victoria Dahl 2:42 PM  

Thanks again, everyone! I'm off to run a few errands, but I'll be back to answer more questions soon!

Lindsey Brookes 2:44 PM  

Thanks for sharing with us. Love the new cover! I have a couple of your historicals on my Kindle. Can't wait to read more from you!

lbhearts (at) comcast (dot) net

Laura 3:40 PM  

Wow, 17 books in four years! That's impressive! This books sounds great and I will definitely be checking it out. I love it when old flames get reunited after years apart. In fact, the one that I am currently working on is the same basic concept with the couple. Just something about them that make that HEA even sweeter.

I'm so with you on the whole discipline thing. You wouldn't think so since I work from home and meet deadlines all the time, but there it is. So here's a question for give yourself rewards to meet your word count - do you mete out punishments on yourself when you don't? LOL And what are they, if you do? Do you have a special, big reward for when you finish a book or an edit?

Great interview/article!
writingwhat (at) gmail (dot) com

Anne R 4:47 PM  

Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway, the book sounds great!

Areeths at new DOT rr DOT com

Kelly-Writer Girl 5:08 PM  

I do the "reward" system with myself, too! My kids make fun of me for doing it, but some day they'll see it works! Love, love, love you, Victoria!

Bec 5:20 PM  

Can't wait for this release! So excited :)

Under the Covers 5:27 PM  

Great interview, Joan!!! Dahl's contemps have caught my eye for some time already. I really think I need to act on this now!

Thanks so much for the wonderful post, ladies.

alltherhage AT gmail DOT com.

Anonymous,  6:10 PM  

Great interview! I follow Victoria on twitter and love her dirty jokes. : ) Love the self reward system- I am going to have to try it maybe I will be able to get more stuff done.


Victoria Dahl 6:28 PM  

Raonaid, I don't have too many rituals. For contemporaries, I sometimes make playlists for the books. I listen to a lot of music for story ideas when I'm brainstorming, though I don't listen when I actually sit down to write. The music will pull my attention away.

Patti, I actually have looked up the most popular names for historical times! Though I admit, I'm usually looking for something unique, so I try to move down the list. I do check to be sure every name I use might have been in use during that period. For example, Marissa, the heroine of A LITTLE BIT WILD, doesn't exactly have a common English name, but it was a variation of the Greek male name Maris, and i made sure that i could find it in literature of the time before using it.

Victoria Dahl 6:34 PM  

Dear Kelly, I knew you were from Twitter before I even finished your question. Very funny. And tonight we had turkey sandwiches. On Wonder Bread. :-)

Debra, I started reading my mom's romances when I was way too young, and from then on my dream was to become a romance writer. I figured it would help legitimize my need to lie about and read all day!

Hey Witchy! Stop following me. ;-) And yes, the Twitter cave. It's like the Bat cave, but with different toys.

Bev Pettersen 7:41 PM  

Congratulations on your new release, Victoria. Love your contemporaries and look forward to reading the historicals. Beautiful cover!

Victoria Dahl 11:48 PM  

Hi Dianne!

I'm afraid I've been a terribe reader this year, as I had four books to write. I'm ashamed of the low number of books I've read! But a couple of new to me authors were Susan Sey (contemporary), Sophie Littlefield (zombies!), and Amanda Stevens (paranormal). I loved them all. In fact, I didn't have time to finish any books this year unless I was 100% captivated.

Catslady5, if you like historicals, I'd say start with A Little Bit Wild!

Laura, I do TRY to mete out punishment to myself for not reaching my daily goals, but I'm not very good at it. I'm easily distracted by shiny things, I'm afraid. LOL

Victoria Dahl 11:50 PM  

Joan, I don't know how you got through Talk Me Down on audiobook. That was too naughty for me to listen to, and I WROTE the book! LOL

Joan Swan 8:52 AM  



#14: Connie
#20: Kelly
#6: Claudia
#10: Pati
#1: Robin

I've sent an email to all winners. Thanks everyone for stopping by and visiting with Victoria!

Sheree 3:55 PM  

Of all the times for my computer to be down; can't believe I missed this interview! I have this book and have been staring at the yummy cover with Paul Marron (so sad I couldn't win a matching bookmark by Joan). I'll have to read it soon!

Anonymous,  4:40 PM  

Thank you so much for the win. I'm looking forward to reading It's Always Been You. And congrats to the other winners.


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