Elizabeth Chats With…Victoria Cornwall
Victoria Cornwall is having a busy time of it this month. Last week her debut novel was published and she’s been indulging in a heady round of interviews ever since, so I’m delighted she has found the time to drop by. She can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and she is therefore the most appropriately named guest I have chatted with so far.
Hello Victoria and welcome. We’re going to start in the time-honoured fashion. What is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?
Thank you, Elizabeth, for having me on your blog today. My earliest memory is walking hand in hand with my father. I say hand in hand, but in reality my hand was wrapped around just one of his fingers. I remember thinking how big he was as my fingers barely met around the other side of his single one. I was probably only about three or four years old at the time.
What was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?
I didn’t really have a favourite subject at school, although I enjoyed attending the after school dance club. The teacher thought I was quite good and often cast me in the more prominent roles. She encouraged me to continue dancing, but peer pressure, a high volume of homework and exams took priority and I stopped attending. I wasn’t keen on chemistry or physics and was glad when I could drop these in favour of biology.
Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?
…that I taught teenagers how to put condoms on carrots as part of their sex education. Thanks to my input, there are several generations living in Cornwall, who cannot look at a carrot without suffering from traumatic flashbacks.
Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
The North Coast of Cornwall on a sunny day. The dramatic coastline is beautifully majestic and the turquoise sea is very calming. Add in the odd seagull, sandy bay and rock pool teaming with life and you have everything you need to keep you entertained as you forget your troubles.
How do you relax?
As I don’t live near the sea, I relax by taking my dog, Alfie, for a walk on Bodmin Moor. We have been walking the moor since he was 8 weeks old, so the sheep and moorland ponies know him well and are not frightened of him. They continue to graze while I get lost in my own thoughts (usually the plot of my current novel) and Alfie sniffs out every hawthorn bush and granite rock in the vicinity.
If you knew you only had 24 hours left, how would you spend them?
I would contact everyone I love and tell them how special they are to me and thank them for making my life a richer one for knowing them.
What would be in your ‘Room 101’?
It would have to be novels with unbelievable or frustrating plots lines.
There is a saying: to make the punishment fit the crime. Which character from fiction would you like to punish — and how?
I would like to punish Heathcliff. Television adaptations have depicted him as a romantic hero. However, Bronte’s Heathcliff is violent, vengeful and very cruel. He may have died an unhappy man in the novel, but he has emerged as an iconic romantic hero. In my opinion he should have been imprisoned for domestic violence, grievous bodily harm and animal cruelty.
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?
I enjoy all of those things. However, if I must chose I would go to the theatre. I don’t do that very often so it would be a special treat. I love musicals and Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera are my favourites.
Have any of the above answers influenced your writing?
I often feel childhood experiences and family relationships influence the adult you become, either in a positive or negative way. Therefore, I often feature these influences in my writing to give the main characters depth and a reason for their adult behaviour and the choices they make. In my debut novel, The Thief’s Daughter, the heroine, Jenna, has resolved to stay on the right side of the law. However, when her only brother, Silas, is sent to a squalid debtor’s prison she is compelled to help him in any way she can. Family loyalty is tested to the limits and Jenna begins to wonder who she can really trust, the brother she has always known, or a man she barely knows.
Teaching teenagers how to put condoms on carrots has not influenced my writing to date, but perhaps, maybe, I will use it in a contemporary plotline one day!
Thank you Victoria, and good luck with the debut. Readers, you can find out more about Victoria and her writing on her website. You can also find her on Twitter; on Facebook; on Instagram; and on Pinterest. You can download The Thief’s daughter from Amazon; from Kobo; or from Apple iBooks.