Dames of Dialogue would like to welcome my dear friend, talented fiction and non-fiction author Victoria Taylor Murray.
Hi Christy, It’s very nice to connect with you again. Thanks for inviting me for an interview today.
Tell us about your latest book, The Hall of Mirrors, and the series this book kicks off.
The Hall of Mirrors is a new genre for me. My first attempt at a paranormal-suspense series. And, what a fun series it is at that. There are 4-books in the series starting with book-1, The Hall of Mirrors, followed by The Hall of Secrets, The Hall of Veils and ending with The Rock of Ages. The series is centered around one woman, Marna Lassiter – well at least that’s the name she goes by in this lifetime, and Jacoby Alexander, a handsome dark-stranger and visitor from the ‘invisible’ world, a man who knows the hidden secrets and truths of Marna’s past—the past she doesn’t remember. Jacoby has a mission and he will stop at nothing until his secret mission has been completed. With Jacoby’s seductive charm and manly, Mediterranean good looks, will Marna be able to resist the heated attraction she feels for the mysterious stranger—the very man that could lead to her demise? Can the ‘higher powers that be’ get to her before it’s too late—or will the ‘dark powers that exist’ win their ‘ultimate trophy’? The prize they have been seeking since the very beginning of time…
What a hook. I remember you sent me a snippet of The Hall of Mirrors back when you began working on it and I was impressed with the research you put into it. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
Well, Christy, you know me, I’m always working on more than one project at a time. I am currently working on the last book in my paranormal-suspense series as well as the second book in my family’s favorite recipes cookbook (my personal fav… desserts (yum!) Also, a work in progress, a how-to book on bartending/bar management with a special chapter on my personal favorite drink recipes—recipes I’ve created all by myself….without my famous chef brothers (smile.) Also, a book of poems. You know how I love poetry. Two of my poems are going to be turned into songs on one of my sister’s new music albums. As you might remember she owns her own Conscious Music Company. I also have in the mix of it all a few new romantic-suspense stories I’m pondering around in that brain of mine.
You’re absolutely one of the most prolific authors I know, Victoria. Where in the world do you find the time? I’m exhausted just reading that. You have an amazing and interesting background – a Playboy bunny and business owner to name two. Can you share that with us?
Sure, In the past I was crowned Ms. Fountain Square (in Cincinnati), Playboy Bunny both in the Cincinnati Club as well as the California Club. Offered Miss June Centerfold twice but turned down the offer both times. Later, becoming a mother, I was glad I turned the honor down (smile). I was a model for quite a few years and have done quite a few television commercials. And between modeling jobs, I was a professional singer in quite a few night clubs and cocktail lounges. Later, I owned in my own two-story (high-class) restaurant and night club. The upper level catered to middle-age and upward- types with a piano lounge, soft music, and good food while the lower level of my restaurant/club catered to the younger crowds with loud music, softball teams, bowling leagues, and dart tournaments. My favorite group (one of many that I sponsored) was my softball team “The Master-Batters,” cute, huh? What a great bunch of young guys (and gals) hahaha. I loved that place – we had a blast to say the least. I miss those days (sigh). I also managed several country clubs and high-dollar restaurants and in between all that I had going on in my life I managed to be a full-time mother to my beautiful son Michael. My husband died when my son was 16 years old and so I turned to my love for writing for solace. Later, what started out as a joke between two sisters and one of those sister’s favorite ‘soap-opera’s’ is what led to my love for writing romantic-suspense stories. While visiting my oldest sister during her favorite soap-opera, “Days of Our Lives,” one afternoon, my sister looked at me and said, “You know, Vickie, anybody could write a better storyline than the writers they have now.” She was clearly upset over the way the storyline was heading. She shook her head with distaste and then looked at me again and said, “Hey, I gotta an idea, why don’t you write a storyline for John Black (her favorite soap actor), and send it to the network?” I giggled and replied, “Thank you, I think!” Not quite sure if her remark was a compliment or not… One month later my very first book was complete followed by another three months and three more books. No one was more surprised than I…
I’m sure your many fans thank you sister for encouraging you. You have also published cookbooks and I believe have one or two chefs in your family. Tell us about that experience.
My father was a famous Cincinnati Chef. His father was also a chef. And all of my brothers (I have six) are fabulous cooks but only two brothers are chefs and I have two nephews that are also chefs. I come from a family of four-generations of male chefs. The first cookbook I wrote, Passed Down Thru-4-Generations: Victoria Taylor Murray’s Favorite Family Recipes and How It all Began, was written as a tribute to both my grandfather as well as my father. I co-wrote it with my brother, executive chef Joseph E. Taylor. As I stated earlier I’m currently working on my family’s favorite homemade dessert recipes. There are four books to the set. Soups, Salads, and appetizers are a work in progress.
You’ve hobnobbed with some pretty important celebrities, including Johnny Bench whom I had a huge crush on back in the day (thanks for the signed pic, BTW), actress Sean Young and several well-known producers. Of all the celebrities you’ve known, who is your favorite?
Oh wow…where to begin… Well, in the line of business I was in I have met and gotten to know some very impressive celebs. That much is true…to pick one would be impossible, but to name a few I will start with your old crush, Johnny Bench – what a GREAT guy. He is absolutely one of the nicest guys anyone could ever meet much less get to know. We used to go clubbing together. I was a singer and he loved to sing. I guess you could sort-of say we were like Donnie & Marie—Johnny used to sing a little country while I used to sing a little rock n’ roll. We had such a fun time together. And yes, we dated. I was the original “Vickie” in his life (smile). Johnny once told a movie producer who wanted to make a movie about his life that he couldn’t do it if he didn’t put me in it (singing, of course). He was (at the time) my favorite fan. Johnny has the largest hands of any man I’ve ever met.
Another favorite would have to be the late great Bob Hope. He was Johnny’s best friend at one time. Some of my favorite friends back in the day, the great Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan. Sean Young is also a super lady as is movie producer John Savoy. I’ve met Bill Cosby, Tony Orlando, John Denver, Bob Seiger & The Silver Bullet Band, Liza Minelli, Trini Lopez, and the list goes on and on… such greats as Al Pacino, Hugh Hefner, Leann Rimes and Diane Sawyer and… Guess I’d better stop there, for now anyway.
Well, I’m impressed. Many of those celebs I’d like to meet myself. What has been your favorite job and why?
My favorite job would have to be bartending. I’m a people person and have met many different types in that line of work. Of course, I’ve enjoyed all the many, many, different types of employment I have had.
Okay, getting back to writing: what is a typical writing day like for you?
I usually like to do most of my writing at night. Since my husband passed away, I have trouble sleeping so I write while everyone is sleeping. I have a huge bedroom so I use it as both a bedroom as well as a study. I enjoy writing more in the late fall or winter because I enjoy the fireplace in my bedroom/study. The fire is so comforting and I get lost in my work. I don’t put a time limit on my writing projects. I write for fun. I always have. I enjoy blending truth and fiction. I’ve known so many diverse people in my lifetime that I have no problem creating the characters I use in my stories. When I’m in a creative mode, I can usually pen an entire book in a month or two.
My colorful cast of characters have full rein.
Most of the authors we’ve interviewed are on that side of the fence. I like that your books are a delicious blend of suspense, mystery and sensual romance. Of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite book or character?
That’s a hard one. At the time I wrote each book, I used to think that particular book was ‘the one,’ but I think my Exposure Behind Closed Doors, is probably my favorite. I love the sensual characters in that storyline especially the studly homicide-detective Grieco Storm. One word describes that manly “dick” and that word is simply, “yum”.
Oh, I remember Grieco. He sizzled. Who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?
I suppose you mean besides the sensational Ms. Betty Dravis and the amazing Christy Tillery French (yes?) I enjoy many writers but I most enjoy the gifted pens of James Patterson, Dan Brown, and Vince Flynn. Of course I enjoy Janet Evanovich (she reminds me of you, Christy) except your stories are better. And no library would be complete without the wonderful stories of Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and J.A. Jance. There are a lot more, of course. Too Many to list. I enjoy the bold character-types of the authors I choose to read. And all of the above authors give me exactly what I crave in stories that I do so enjoy reading.
You are too kind, Victoria. Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. I have to share that Victoria is one of the most generous authors I’ve ever met in promoting other authors. She helped me when I was first published and if not for her I’d still be floundering. Thank you, Vickie! In that vein, promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
You’re welcome, Christy. I knew that with the first book you had written, Chasing Horses, you were a writer worthy of making it big and I have to say I’m so very proud of you and your efforts. You’re on your way! Yea… Well, I used to have a lot of connections, people that I could really count on to promote my books. Now, after being on the mend so to speak after almost 4 years, I have a lot of catching up to do in today’s marketing arena. I utilize social networking, book signings, book readings, local newspapers and television and radio station interviews.
It’s still hard for me to figure what works and doesn’t work re; promoting but sounds like you’re doing the right thing. If you could talk for thirty minutes with any author (or person), living or dead, who would it be?
Oh gosh, there are so many! How would I ever be able to pick just one? Oh my… Off the top of my head I would say Vince Flynn. He’s so sexy (smile)…
Thanks, Victoria. For more information about Victoria and her amazing books, visit:
Mailing Address: Victoria Taylor Murray, P.O. Box 825, Covington Ky. 41012
Author of The Lambert Series: “Thief of Hearts,” “Forbidden,” “Friendly Enemies,” “Le Fin”
Other Novels by Victoria Taylor Murray: “The Shadow of Her Smile,” “Exposure Behind Closed Doors,”
“The Scarlet Ribbon,” “The Hall of Mirrors,” “The Hall of Secrets,”The Hall of Veils,” ” “The Rock of Ages,”
“Passed Down Through 4-Generations”
Victoria Taylor Murray’s Bio can be found on Facebook.com or Authorsden.com and her books can be purchased on Amazon.com (or) most any online bookstore