Tell us about yourself.
I am a 200% romantic who is also a software developer. Thus, I often battle balancing left-brain activity (the creative side) and right-brain stuff (the technical side). You can always talk me into Pride and Prejudice movie or Remington Steel episode as well as any Mythbuster segment. I live in Georgia and when the pollen count is low, I look forward to writing on my porch with a cup of Hot Cinnamon Tea. I am a military wife and a mother of a precious eight-year-old painter.
I write sweeping Regency Romances. These are historical stories set in 1800’s England in a time in which the angst of war, strife among the classes, and changes in religion dominate. My debut release, Madeline’s Protector, is a passionate novel in which two people who should not have met are forced to marry and then must learn to trust each other and God’s provisions to save their family.
What type of jobs or careers have you worked in the past?
My professional career has consisted of engineering research and data analysis positions. Don’t tell anyone, but I have a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and that side of my brain likes to come out and build and tinker with things. Have I put any of you to sleep? I’ve worked for General Motors and Ernst and Young. Growing up, I worked at a 5-and-Dime store, a radio station, and a shoe store.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite Regency authors are Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I love their wit and how they test the societal norms while staying true to how people thought and acted during those times. Now for Miss Austen, it was easier. She lived during those times. All the Regency writers that have followed must do a lot of research to master the culture. I applaud them.
Current day authors that I adore are Debbie Raleigh (A Proper Marriage, A Convenient Marriage) and Laurie Alice Eakes (Lady in the Mist, Necessary Deception, and A Flight of Fancy) and Linda Winsor (Wedding Bell Blues and The Knight and the Raven).
What are your favorite books?
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites. I also enjoy Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. I also love classic tragedies like Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. This blend of romance and tragedy also finds its way into my writing but where else is it better to see faith and mercy at work.
When did you begin to realize you wanted to write?
I have always enjoyed writing and even won several awards in high school. Yet, writing was an escape, and for many years, I put it away and focused on my technical career. What I have found is if it a true passion, it won’t die. It may lay dormant for a time, but eventually, it will heat until explodes and forces you to pay attention to it.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
My journey starts in high school. I often wrote short stories in a diary. Nine years ago, my OBGYN told me I had to sit still if I didn’t want a more complicated pregnancy. She might as well have told me the sky was falling. Bored out of my mind, I found one of those notebooks. In it lay the genesis for Madeline’s Protector. Excited, I started writing the short story into a full novel. It took several years to relearn and shape my dormant gift of writing. Along the way, there were a few of times when I thought I was ready to be published, but God said, “No.”
When the book started placing and then winning writing competitions, that’s when I knew it was ready for publication. It took three months after my first contest win for Madeline’s Protector to be contracted, but the journey of learning the craft took seven years. I’m still learning and improving. I plan on having a long fun writing career.
Are you a full-time writer? If so, describe your day?
I am a not a full time writer, I’m a dedicated writer. Each day, I dedicate several hours to work on manuscripts and to reach out to readers. With hubby, my daughter, and my software firm, I’ve got a lot on my plate so scheduling is important. My dedicated hours are from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. as well as any low pollen day I can escape to my porch.
If all the young men of England leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care. Then she’d have peace. Her nightmares of courtship would end, and she’d cozy up with a Psalm in her aunt’s quiet sculpture garden.
Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound change everything, and Madeline must trust the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire.
Death and pain are no strangers to Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, and he vows his dutiful bride will be kept safe and in her place. Though this compromised marriage is in-name-only, his wife and her unwavering faith both intrigue and allure him. Perchance when he thwarts his brother’s killer, Justain will tempt the unpredictable Madeline with the comfort of his arms.
But can Madeline and the stubborn earl forge a true bond before the next disaster strikes?
About the Author
The Regency and Victorian eras have always been a magnetizing draw for Vanessa Riley. Even as she worked to complete her doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, she made time for renaissance fairs and any novel or cinematographic work depicting these genteel societies of old. Perhaps, the attraction arises from the kinship she feels with the period being brought up in the restrictive Southern Bible Belt with its stringent definitions of decent behavior and life expectations. Perhaps the common dominator to this appeal is her own thirty day Christian courtship or even the arranged marriages of her uncles; each is emblematic of the nuptials of those earlier times.
A technology muse like Dr. Vanessa Riley is probably not the immediate choice to write about haute ton English society set in the 1800’s. With her most recent published work being “Reducing Deformation by Phase Manipulation,” the common visceral reaction is that Providence has given another mule a voice to tell His story. Nevertheless, this mule uses her determined spirit and dogmatic tenacity to master the subject and to discover the hidden nuances of a character making him believable, her human and both ready to be used of God.
Vanessa holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a masters in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. She has been a radio anchorwoman and church announcer. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.
Today, Vanessa juggles mothering an eight year old, her seventeenth wedding anniversary, engineering, writing and speaking at women’s events. She is known for her humorous delivery of poignant truths. Vanessa is currently, editor in chief of an online social network, www.busymama.net.
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