Culture Street

Books

Women Who Dare: Victoria Fox

On September 21, 2016

Picked by Look magazine as one of their Shooting Stars when she published her first novel Hollywood Sinners and nominated by bestselling author Jane Costello, as one of the UKs most exciting new writing talents, the last five years have seen Victoria Foxís stratespheric rise as one of the UKís favourite authors of womenís fiction. The Santiago Sisters is Victoriaís sixth novel following Hollywood Sinners, Temptation Island, Wicked Ambition, Glittering Fortunes and Power Games.

Victoria attended boarding school where she learnt that you can get up to all sorts of things when your parents aren't around. Parts of The Santiago Sisters are based on Victoria's experience at boarding school in Bristol. She joins us today for the first of our features on daring women.

What makes a daring woman?

The same as makes a daring man: a person who is unafraid to speak their mind, to think beyond limitations and to decide what they want and go and get it.

As a novelist did you have a defining moment when you knew you had to be brave?

My first novel was rejected by eleven publishers. I re-read it after submission and forced myself to see its faults and what I needed to change. Iíve never worked as hard as I did on that book. I completely gutted it and put something totally different back together. It was a leap of faith and I knew when Iíd finished that Iíd done the best I possibly could. I thought, if thatís not good enough then itís not meant to be. My agent called the following week with an offer.

What has been your most daring move?

When I quit a job in the middle of a recession, to follow a dream Iíd had since childhood. I had an idea for a book and I knew I had to try writing it. An agent agreed to represent me after reading a partial manuscript, but I had no book deal. I gave myself five months to complete the novel and secure a publisher because that was all I could afford: I didnít want to live off my boyfriend. Money was a good motivator, and for weeks I was up at five and writing through until ten, to get it finished. People had raised eyebrows when I left my job and I wanted to prove to them as much as to myself that I could succeed.

Has fiction, written by women, changed since you penned your first novel?

Fashions change and trends come and go. Psychological thrillers are having a moment in one area of the market: I think women readers are enjoying darker, grittier material. On the other side, though, thereís the soft, cosy appeal of novels about teashops and baking. Make of that combination what you will!

Your style has changed in your latest book. Is this to reflect the readerís latest expectations of women writers?

Thankfully, women writers are challenging the Ďchick-lití definition more and more these days, and accordingly I donít think those expectations are there. My style is changing to reflect my own growth: Iíve now written six Ďbonkbustersí and my first was published when I was twenty-seven. Itís now a few years on and I feel ready for something new.

Tell us about your latest book Ö

Itís a Gothic time-slip saga set in Florence. Think the creeping atmosphere of Rebecca meets the escapist glamour of Santa Montefiore. Itís called The Silent Fountain and itís out in March.

santiago-sisters_smThe Santiago Sisters by Victoria Fox is out now. You can buy it in Australia here and in the UK here.

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