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Author Interview with Aviva Orr

Love and Literature is out tomorrow! Aviva was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this delightful historical romance HERE!


Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today? 

As a child, I spent much of my time reading, and I recall attempting to write my own stories, but I don’t think I ever completed any. I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series, and as a teenager, my favorite author was Susan Howatch, who wrote fantastic historical sagas like Penmarric and Cashelmara. The idea of writing a novel always lurked in the back of my mind, but I didn’t prioritize it because I thought I wanted to be an actress. After immigrating to America, I put all my free time and energy into acting classes and performing at community theatres in San Diego. I did Shakespeare in the Park and several other plays, and I loved dressing up in period clothing and getting into character. Because I still loved books, I decided to pursue a degree in English literature, and that is when I fell in love with literature and writing. After graduating with my master’s degree, I went on a “pilgrimage” (it was one for me, anyway) to the Brontë parsonage in Haworth. It was a life-changing experience that inspired my first book.

What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited and has it shown up in one of your books?

I adore England and find the English moors very inspiring. There’s the Pennine Moors in Brontë Country, which I love, and last year I visited Dartmoor in Devon, home to Violet Greyson in Love and Literature. Dartmoor is a stunning, mystical place that has inspired many writers, including Arthur Conan Doyle, and it was thrilling to hike on the moor. I intend to return to Dartmoor this year and plan to set future stories there.

What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? 

The rapid changes that occurred during the Victorian era make it interesting to research and write about. It’s also a little tricky to navigate because new inventions, technological advances, and education reforms separate the early, mid, and late Victorian periods, which can look quite different. The Love and Literature series is set in the mid-Victorian era when technological advances were available to some but weren’t necessarily a way of life yet. For example, while the rich might have started using gas lighting in their London homes, they would still be supplementing with oil lamps and candles, and the poorer citizens and those living in the country would not have had access to gas lighting at all. The same goes for plumbing. It’s challenging to convey life in a period that has just one foot in an emerging technological world.

Change is also what makes the Victorian era so interesting. Love and Literature deals with the issue of higher education for women that came to light during the mid-Victorian period. Too often, unmarried women and widows were left destitute, unable to support themselves and their children. Women started to realize the need for higher education and better job prospects. During this time, the pioneers of women’s education advocated for equal education while facing much resistance. Several pioneers used their personal funds to open and operate the first ladies’ colleges to make secondary education available for girls and young women. I loved learning about these amazing pioneers who refused to give up and eventually succeeded in getting universities to open their doors to women.

What are your favorite kind of characters to write? 

The Brontë enthusiast in me always wants to produce Byronic heroes and feisty, intelligent, independent heroines.

When it’s difficult to physically travel, how do you find ways to escape?

The best escape is through writing—there’s no limit to where your mind can take you. I live in California but feel more attached to England because that’s where my mind is most of the time.