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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Author Vicki Hopkins

Thank you, Anne, for inviting me to be a guest blogger! As a fellow author, I appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers my writing journey.

I’ve dabbled in writing for many years, but not until January of 2008 did I seriously put myself into the public eye. It all started with my first blog, which is still active – “Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera.” Out of a fluke, I saw the movie and was immediately engrossed in the story. I devoured Gaston Leroux’s original work and cried reading the Phantom’s words, “All I wanted was to be loved for myself.”

Writing is an outlet for me. I’ve never been a very articulate person verbally, however, give me a keyboard and there’s no stopping me! I started my blog to dump my thoughts about the characters, emotions, symbols, and events. Two years later, my blog has over 46,000 hits from 106 countries worldwide, and in May of 2009, I self-published the posts into a study book format. It’s become a favorite with Phantom fans and has led me to my own Internet radio talk show on BlogTalkRadio entitled, “All Things Phantom.”

My dream, however, has always been to write a fiction novel. I started writing my first book in June of 2008, after taking a local college course on fiction writing. It’s been one interesting learning journey taking me from tears and self-doubts to the joy of finally holding my book in printed form. I decided to go the self-published route again, which I call my personal choice rather than my personal failure. Immersing myself into the publishing world has been an education to say the least, and I’ve ducked my share of comments for going the subsidy/vanity route too.

My book, “The Price of Innocence,” was released on November 10, 2009 through Xlibris Corporation. Already comments are popping up on Barnes & Noble giving me five stars. I do own full rights to the work and am sending it out to publishers in hopes it will eventually get picked up, along with my sequel. If not, I will continue to be thankful that it touches those who have an opportunity to read it in its present form.

The book is set in 19th Century Paris, France, and I spent months researching Parisian life to insure authenticity in my descriptions. It follows the life of a young woman who loses her father and finds herself suddenly homeless on the streets of Paris. Her journey takes her from charity houses, to a wash house, and eventually to the most famous brothel of its day – the Chabanais. The Chabanais actually existed from 1878 to 1946, and it only catered to aristocrats. Research into 19th century life, along with legalized prostitution, was an eye-opening experience to say the least! I attempted to incorporate as much historical information into the story as possible.

When I finished, I held a book in my hands that I believed was “tastefully written,” leaving the majority of brothel life to the imagination. It was indeed a challenge, because the very essence of the book is about my protagonist losing her virginity. Brothels and mistresses during 19th century Paris were a way of life. I can tell you it is not a book expounding moral values – it’s a book dealing with the harshness of life and what many women succumbed to in order to survive the poverty-ridden streets of Paris.

Marketing, of course, is a challenge for all of us. When I started looking at websites to pay for advertising, I cringed at the covers of six-pack abs, sexual poses, bulging breast, and words of “hot and heat.” I felt frustrated there was no place to showcase my work where I felt comfortable, so I started my own website, “The Janes of Romance.” My purpose was to give other authors, who felt as I did, a place to advertise their work in a more wholesome environment. It’s meant for writers who focus on “heart” rather than “heat,” and is dedicated to Jane Austin who penned the most beautiful tasteful romances of all time.

The site has only been up a short time and is struggling to find a voice among many others in the marketplace. I do not plan to charge anyone fees until there is sufficient traffic to warrant. In the meantime, if you are looking for a place to market your book among a more tasteful environment for free, I invite you to join. I also advertise The Janes of Romance on Facebook and MySpace. If you are interested for more information, please visit: http://janesofromance.com

To learn about the “The Price of Innocence” and my other works, please visit my author website at: http://vickihopkins.com

Happy writing to you all, and thanks to Anne for the privilege of sharing on her blog.

3 comments:

Anne Patrick said...

Thanks for your post, Vicki. I dropped by your blog, Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera, and found it very fascinating. It made me want to see the movie again. I wish you great success with your Janes of Romance website, which is awesome BTW, and your books. I have a feeling it won’t be long till a publisher comes a callin’.

Miss Mae said...

Hello Vicki,

Yes, I can only imagine how much research was needed to create the Paris era in your book, and it's true--so many women had no choice except to become a prostitute.

I often think of how Charles Dickens wrote of the hell that orphans endured trying to survive in England. Not everything was rosy, was it???

Your "Janes of Romance" is a great idea, and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

Best to you, and to your career. :)

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Phantom of the Opera,i have bought tickets from http://ticketfront.com/event/Phantom_of_the_Opera-tickets looking forward to it.

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