All, Interview

Interview with Vanessa Riley

Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!!

Today, I’m sharing an interview with the lovely Vanessa Riley. Known for her ethnically diverse Regency novels, Ms. Riley takes us to another time. Have you read her novels? If not, find out about her latest novel, No Hiding for the Guilty.

About the Book


The Blurb: “The military leaders of the fraught Almeida Seige are dying, but not fast enough for a chef with a grudge to bear and axes to sharpen. Using her position as cook to the famed inventor, Lord Hartland, Isadel Armijo learns that one of the butchers responsible for slaughtering her family will sup at Hartland Abbey at month’s end. The chef is determined to serve the guilty man his last meal, one with a cake possessing a controlled detonation so she can watch him die. Only one person can teach her how to whip eggs with black powder, Wellington’s hulking explosives expert, Hugh Bannerman. Can she convince the recluse to return to society to help avenge her family with a dessert to-die-for? 

With his soul in torture for the lives his actions have decimated, Hugh Bannerman is convinced his sins have manifested into leprosy. As the surviving member of his family, how can he take his place in society knowing his uncontrollable anger increases the spots discoloring his skin and puts others at risk? No, he’ll remain in hiding until the Almeida Killer finds him or the incorrigible chef Isadel causes too much trouble, concocting a deadlier course, one part hope, a sprinkle of crazy, and a maddening sauce of desire. 

Can two very different people find the recipe to right the wrongs of the past or forever remain prisoners to guilt?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Thank you so much for joining me today. I can’t wait to talk about your latest release, No Hiding for the Guilty. It has such an unusual plot. What inspired you?

A group of Regency authors led by the fabulous Cora Lee came together to produce a series based upon taking our favorite superheroes making them mortals who lived and loved in the Regency. The time is early 1800’s England during the Peninsula War. Most people have heard of Lord Wellington (at the time known as Commander Arthur Wellesley) and are familiar with Napoleon. Each man frames this war. For Wellesley, it’s a quest to stop Napoleon’s from world domination. Therefore, each of the novels in this series focus upon spies directed by Wellesley to gather intelligence and to foil plots. Each hero embodies the traits that we hope the reader will identify with and root for to overcome evil.

I won’t say who my superhero doppelganger is but, but let’s just say he has an anger management issue and is searching for a cure.

No Hiding for the Guilty is about a hero and a heroine who are dealing with guilt and how that has ruined their lives. Whether superhero or mere mortal, guilt is a worthy adversary that must be defeated to be everything that you are called to be. Past mistakes should not deter anyone from a winning future.

Hugh Bannerman believes the people he killed in battle or in the deadly game of spying has caused him to contract leprosy. His anger is legendary and he has closed himself off from the world as he tries cure after cure. Yet, he believes he will die. He believes he deserves to die.

Isadel Armijo wants to avenge the murders of her family. She’s a tiny chef with big dreams of killing the man who destroyed her world. When she comes to Bannerman for help their very different worlds collide.

Wow! I love superheroes. Can’t wait to read this book! This is book five in The Heart of the Hero series. Are they standalone or do they connect in some way?

Each book is a standalone with occasional mentions of the other superhero spies. It should be exciting for the reader to enjoy each book separately or the complete series.

Awesome! You’re known for writing people of color in Regency England. What inspired you to go that route?

There are stories to be told that simply warden. I have always adored Jane Austen, but when there were ten thousand free blacks living in London during the time of the Regency, why aren’t they more prevalent in Regency tales. These people existed. They had to have found love or we wouldn’t be here. I want to tell their stories in ways that shows the intersections of society, free, enslaved, foreigner, or English or American—all were there, all lived, all have come short of the Glory.

Amen! I’m so glad God has placed this on your heart. What three elements are always present in your writing and why? 

This is a tough one, but I would have to say I love puns so there is usually one or two in my stories and often Biblically oriented. I love Bible stories as much as I love Regency tales, so if you think a line sounds familiar and you’ve been to Sunday school you probably have.

Details matter. I write with an element of suspense so finding the clues or red-herrings should be fun. If I add a description of something, it might be to ground you in the period, or might be that this element has a deeper meaning. Enjoy the journey.

Morals matter. I write for a wide audience but each Vanessa Riley story is grounded in the uplifting principle that love always wins. If I couldn’t let my saintly mother read my books, then it wasn’t fit for me to write.

Love these! Now I want to go back and reread your stories looking for details. 🙂 If you could write in any genre that you haven’t, which would you choose and why?

It would be a contemporary whodunit with a heroine deeply connected to the past or a Jane Austen lover.

I adore Jane Austen so if you swing that direction, I’m so there. 🙂 Do you listen to music or need complete silence in writing?

I zone out when I write. The world disappears, and I take dictation from the characters.

Love when characters talk to us! How about some fun questions?
Pepsi or Coke?

Always Coke. I’m from the South.

I hear ya. Skittles or M&Ms? 
Peanut M&Ms.

Yum! Cake or Ice cream?
Cake, Red Velvet if you have it.

That’s my husband’s favorite so I can make some if I need to. 🙂 What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

I love to cook, so this book with my chef heroine was near and dear to my heart.

We need to be good friends! I hate cooking, but I’ll bake. 🙂 Thank you again for joining me. Before you leave, can you tell the readers how they can support you in your writing journey?

The biggest thing they can do other than trying a Vanessa Riley novel is to spread the word. Many people who love Regencies like I do, don’t know that there are deliciously different Regency with diverse characters.
Thank you so much for having me. Toni, you are the best.

Happy to have you! You’re welcome any time.

About the Author


Vanessa Riley worked as an engineer before allowing her passion for historical romance to shine. A Regency era (early 1800s) and Jane Austen enthusiast, she brings the flavor of diverse peoples to her stories. Since she was seventeen, Vanessa has won awards for her writing and is currently working on two series. She lives in Atlanta with her military man hubby and precocious child. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter

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