Victoria Wells is a Philadelphia native and has been an avid reader since childhood. Wells’ interest in writing took root while taking a creative writing course in college. Her most memorable assignment was the rewriting of the last chapter of The Color Purple. Though she did very well in this course it would be years before she would pen a novel.
Using writing as a tool to escape the hassles and worries of everyday life, Wells decided to pen a novel. In November 2006 she released her self-published debut romance novel, A Special Summer. After receiving positive feedback and believing her story portrayed strong, intelligent, self-sufficient African American characters dealing with and working through relationship issues, Wells decided to submit her manuscript for traditional publishing. In August 2007, Xpress Yourself Publishing made an offer to re-release A Special Summer, March 4, 2008.
We had the privilege of interviewing Victoria to find out more about her hot book, A Special Summer, and also to find out more about the author behind the book.
Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Can we begin by asking why you decided to write A Special Summer?
You’re welcome. I decided to write A Special Summer because I wanted to share a story others would enjoy about a couple working through some tough, heavy-duty relationship issues. Also, I wanted to create a romance, which depicts strong, self-sufficient African American characters. Although the characters are African American anyone reading this story can relate to the real life issues the characters find themselves battling.
Why did you choose the romance genre? Did you choose it or did it choose you?
I choose romance because I’m a sucker for happy endings. I just love that euphoric feeling I get when the hero and heroine ride off into the sunset. With all the madness going on in society today being able to temporarily escape is like recharging a run down battery. As an author, I want to be able to help others experience this same feeling of euphoria even if it’s only for a few hours out of a hectic day.
How long did it take you to write and, even more important, how long did it take for your book to be published?
It took me about eight weeks to write the rough draft and then another four months to get the story exactly the way I wanted it. My book was initially self-published in November of 2006. After receiving positive feedback from readers I decided to submit my manuscript to three publishing houses (actually four, but I never received a response from one of them) in February of 2007. About three months after submitting one of the publishing houses rejected my manuscript whereas the other two were interested. In August of 2007 Xpress Yourself Publishing offered me a contract to re-release A Special Summer.
You are a strong advocate for patients with sickle cell disease. Can you tell us why and what you do to help others with the life-threatening disease?
I’ve dedicated my seventeen-year career to taking care of patients with this disease. Unfortunately, many people suffering from this disease live below the poverty level. Because of this they fall into what is known as the “underserved population.” I run a unit that is similar to a day hospital where patients come for the day to receive treatment when they’re experiencing a painful episode instead of going to an emergency room waiting hours before being seen by a doctor. During my assessment of the patient I evaluate them for complications that may have brought on a painful crisis. Also, as an advocate I educate other nurses and healthcare providers on how to care for sickle cell patients, participate in research and present research findings at national conferences.
You have won many awards in your profession as a nurse. Would you like to tell us about them?
Sure. The Nursing Spectrum Award is an award where another nurse nominates a colleague in a specific category. The nurse is judged based on service and dedication to the nursing profession. Hundreds of nurses are nominated usually in tri-state areas throughout the country. In May 2005 I won the regional award for the Clinical Care category because of my work with sickle cell patients. The nurses who win in their category are automatically entered as finalist at the national level.
In October 2005 I went on to win National Nurse of the year. The Movers and Shakers Award is given to a person who is active in their community. The American Women’s Heritage Society, National Association of University Women, National Association of Phi Delta Kappa, Top Ladies of Distinction and Two Thousand African American Women present this award. On March 19, 2006 I was presented with this award along with a Citation from the City Council of Philadelphia. This honor was bestowed upon me for organizing and running a free hypertension clinic through Refuge Evangelical Baptist Church since 2002.
How do you combine the daily pressures of nursing and writing novels?
I try really hard to leave work at work. Writing really helps me to forget about everything else as I step into the world of my characters. Inside this world I let them take charge and do what they tell me to do.
What’s next for you?
Currently I’m working on my second novel that’s due for release early 2009.
Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Any final words?
You’re more than welcome. Thanks for giving me this wonderful opportunity to talk about my book.
Victoria Wells is the author of the multicultural romance novel, A SPECIAL SUMMER. You can find out more about her and her book at her website at www.victoria-wells.com .