Saturday, April 26, 2014

Regency and suspense top of Vonnie's list

Hello Vonnie and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
Actually, it was a very long time ago. I cut my teeth on poetry for magazines and periodicals and for the occasional newspaper. I believe it was when the NZ Herald paid me handsomely (even by today’s standards) for a poem for their Saturday magazine edition. I was about 22 and it was prior to our having kids. But I got paid!

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
It’s a tug-of-war. I’m known for my Regencies, but I prefer writing suspense, either contemporary or historical, but preferably contemporary suspense. I seem to discover things as I go that add to the story. Every day an alternate track glows in the dark and I lose myself in a maze of “what ifs?” That’s fine. It’s all about layers. My favourite authors all write some type of suspense or mystery.

What books influenced your life?
 I’d have to say L.M. Montgomery’s Blue Castle. Yes, the L.M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables. I was about 14. It was one of the first romances I read, although I don’t believe they were termed ‘romance’ then. It was a battered hardback and I can’t remember where I got it; maybe from a secondhand book shop. The Canadian background and plainness of the heroine drew me in. I’ve lost my copy and never found another.

The other book that influenced me most was Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room. Woo-hoo! Roll out women’s lib! It brought to the surface of my mind things and attitudes that had lain dormant and never been expressed. I’m not saying it turned me into a rabid feminist (I was always quietly one beneath the skin), but it did give me the courage to (politely, and with facts to back it up) disagree with a few males such as bosses who had never been disagreed with.

What are your passions apart from writing?
Reading, obviously. I like to read mysteries, non-derivative romances, true crime and dark fictional suspense. If I read paranormal I prefer to have it expertly linked to reality in readable ways i.e. I prefer a writer like Jayne Ann Krentz (or Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick to give her her more correct name when she’s writing a paranormal series). I also exercise a lot, even though I’m no chicken. I began jogging when I was 39, but I’m now down to jog/walking but it’s brisk stuff. Plus I go to the gym once or at the most twice a week. It’s right here on our premises so why not? The arms and body need exercise, not just the legs. Plus I do water aerobics twice a week. Great stuff. The workout without the pulverising damage that running causes. (But I still love running most of all). I also sing in a group that puts on shows, but I don’t do solos. I know my limitations. Oh, and I play the piano/organ.

As a child, did you want to write?
Yes. In fact, I was writing then, from about the age of seven. Later, I wanted to become a print journalist but for our generation ‘nice girls did not become journalists.’ Apparently that was for middle aged men who smoked incessantly and wore gaberdine raincoats.

Who are your favourite authors?
They have remained constant over the years, with just the occasional new person I’ve picked up through the industry. Jayne Ann Krentz in all her pen-names is my standout favourite because she always delivers. Nora Roberts’s latest books (not her earlier ones) and also her J.D. Robb ones. Clever. Although I’ve loved Georgette Heyer for many years, along with thousands of others, I actually like her detective fiction every bit as much as her Regencies and other historicals, whereas most people don’t seem to rate her so highly as a mystery writer. I understand her little divisions of class because of having read her Regencies first. I like some Sandra Brown books, particularly the ones set in the south, and I enjoy all of Karen Rose’s beautifully researched scary stuff. My most recent discovery is K.M. Rockwood (Kathleen), an ex-parole officer, machine operator…you name it, whose trilogy about Jesse who is on parole is brilliant.


A kidnapper makes a grave mistake and faces a revenge he never expected.

Annis's new husband investigates crimes, and Caroline's new husband is a capable ex-Army officer. When their ladies are kidnapped in an effort to suppress evidence of pilfering and murder, Giles and Fort fight their way through all the lies and subterfuge to not only rescue them, but also to avenge them.


     Fort approached the person on the seat. “Mr. Young, we’ve been looking for you.”
     If that was Mr. Young, why was he listing to one side like a ship at sea?
     “Is he injured? Has John hurt him?” She hurried towards them.
     Fort’s peremptory order stopped her in her tracks. She watched as Fort examined Mr. Young’s head and neck. He lifted Mr. Young’s hand. It dropped laxly.
     “He’s dead,” Fort said, turning towards Caroline. “Sweetheart, do you know your way out of the maze? I must stay here with the body. There’s been enough moving of evidence already.”
     Fort gesticulated with a finger across his throat.
     “Oh! I’ll fetch Giles. Sir William Harding will have to be notified too.”  Caroline cast her husband an anxious look. “Please be careful, Giles, in case John comes back.”
     “You be careful too, my love. Walk slowly and listen for footsteps on the other side of the hedge. And if you meet anyone—anyone at all, man or woman—scream. Scream loudly.”
     Caroline nodded and plunged back along the gravel paths surrounded by greenery. To her great relief she met nobody, although she was so rattled by events that she took a wrong turn and had to retrace her steps. “Hurry,” she told herself. “Fort is alone there, and John is on the loose.”


Vonnie is a New Zealander living in Australia. When she returned to the workforce after having children, she first went into the legal field, then found what she really wanted to do—-executive search. The research required appealed to her. Though now retired from that field, recruitment is still one of Vonnie’s interests from which her friends and relatives occasionally benefit.  

Her hobbies include jogging with her dog, water aerobics and singing. Writing is now her job and the business research experience from her working years helps her considerably.

Vonnie primarily writes Regencies and suspense novels, although she also writes many articles for blog sites and magazines (both on-line and hard copy) and she is open to fresh genres such as boomer lit and mainstream.


  1. Hi there Jean. Thank you for having me here. I like the vastness and clean crispness of your site. I'll see if we can drum up some troops.

  2. OMG - The Blue Castle? By Lucy Maud Montgomery? Really? Lucy wrote that book based in a town near where I live! The town (Bala) still has a special day in the summer to commemorate L.M.'s visit! If I find you a copy of Blue Castle, I'll send it to you! Hugs and great interview, Vonnie!

  3. Wonderful, Sharon. I'd love to re-re-re-re-read it.

  4. I am such a huge Vonnie Hughes fan! Great interview!

  5. Vonnie! Thanks for the "shout out."

    I always like to hear what you have to say, so I visited the website, and was pleasantly surprised to see you mentioned my books.

    I love your Regencies, and I have your latest suspense on my TBR list. Now I'll have to add Sisters in Jeopardy. Your stories always make me wish I could write Regency (I'm not patient enough for the research, I fear!)

    Brothers in Crime, the 5th Jesse Damon crime novel,is due out this Friday, May 2 in ebook form.

    Keep writing!

    Kathleen Rockwood

  6. Nice to learn more about you, Vonnie. Your many interests must keep you busy. Boomer lit? Haven't heard of that one. Regencies, mysteries and suspense are my favorite genres. I'm keen to read 'Sisters in Jeopardy'. All the best with the launch.

  7. Nice to read about you, Vonnie! (and your book sounds wonderful!)

  8. Nice to meet you, Vonnie! Best wishes with your book!!

  9. Great interview, Vonnie. A passionate life is always fun to read.

  10. Wonderful interview, Vonnie! Congratulations on your new release. I look forward to reading it.:)

  11. Great interview. Congratulations on your new release. Off to get a copy!

  12. Loved learning more about you, Vonnie. Great job on the new release!

  13. Loved this interview,Vonnie! Congrats on the new release.

  14. What a nice interview, Vonnie! Good luck with your latest book.

  15. Oh, that tug between genres! May you never have to choose just one road.

    Enjoyed learning more about you, Vonnie. Great interview.

  16. What an interesting interview, and how lovely to meet a fellow feminist under the skin! Really nice to learn more about you, and as for favourite authors, I'm completely with you re. Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown - two of my own personal favourites. Good luck with your latest title.

  17. Thanks guys. And thank you Jean. Well away on a romantic suspense at the moment. It's set in Maine, just for a change.

  18. Fun interview, Vonnie! If you were any busier (or more eclectic), I think you'd have to be twins!

    BTW, I looked up The Blue Castle on our U.S. Amazon site and they have lots of copies...hardback, paperback, new and used. :)