After reading and reviewing Wicked Ambition, I managed to slow my breathing and my fluttering heart long enough to interview the very marvelous Victoria Fox, author of Wicked Ambition, Hollywood Sinners and Temptation Island. There’s my summer reading set for this year!
While reading Wicked Ambition, I definitely was able to match up real celebrities with the fictional ones in the novel. Did you use any celebs or celeb gossip as inspiration for any of the characters or scenes in the book?
Definitely. I’m intrigued by the secret lives of the super-famous. We live in a world driven by a strange and seductive media machine, and I think those who survive it at the top of the game must have to make enormous personal sacrifices. I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist at heart so putting these ideas to fiction is a fun and salacious way of exploring that. Many of the characters in Wicked Ambition are inspired by real-life celebs and I’m glad you spotted a few – I always think that’s so much of the fun in this kind of book. When I see a strand in the press that hooks my imagination, whether it’s a hint at scandal behind closed doors or a full-blown outrage playing out on the public stage, I love to fill in the blanks and weave it into a story.
Did you have a favorite character in Wicked Ambition? If so, who was it and why did you latch on to them?
Turquoise is my favourite of the girls – she’s feisty and fearless and she gets the most amazing revenge on a real asshole of a man. But overall I’d have to say Jax Jackson. He just wrote himself. Actually he belonged to a different book a while ago (an unpublished one) so bringing him back and giving him the spotlight at long last was excellent. Jax is one of those characters that seldom come along for an author – he just popped up, already a person, already formed, with a story of his own, and all I had to do was follow.
Which character was the most challenging to write?
Puff City, my LA hip-hop crew. There’s a complex dynamic at work within the group because of their sketchy history, and it was a challenge to position them just right. I wanted to hint at latent menace without giving too much away.
Moving away from Wicked Ambition (because I hate spoilers more than anything!), which of your books have you enjoyed writing the most so far?
I’ll always have a soft spot for ‘Hollywood Sinners’ because it was my first. I kind of threw everything I had into it, everything I loved about those glossy 80s bonkbusters and wanted to bring back in my own. Because I didn’t have a book deal at that point it was a massive leap of faith. I wrote the book in a manic fury over three months and the first draft was really awful. It needed completely pulling apart and reassembling, so it was a valuable learning curve as well. No matter what state my first drafts are in now, I always think, I drew ‘Hollywood Sinners’ into shape and if I can do that then I can do this.
After reading Wicked Ambition, I think it’s safe to say you’re an authority on writing a good sex scene. Wicked Ambition definitely has a little something for everyone, no matter what your taste! What is it that makes for a good sex scene?
Confidence. When I read a sex scene I want to be the one blushing, not to feel as if the author has beaten me to it. Euphemisms don’t work – I like an author to say what they mean, and members and loins and all that just aren’t erotic. Bad sex is nervous and fumbling, and so is a bad sex scene. Good sex is capable and sure of itself, and the same goes for the writing: it should be smart and bold and know what it is doing. All great sex scenes break taboos. I love being shocked! If I read a sex scene that makes me gasp, that genuinely surprises me and makes me want to tell all my friends, then I know I’ve found a special book.
My favorite saucy read has to be Shirley Conran’s classic, Lace (goldfish have never been the same since). What writers or bonkbusters can you recommend when people are starved for more after Wicked Ambition?
I love ‘Lace’ too. The goldfish! Exactly what I mean about breaking taboos – people are still talking about it thirty years later. Also ‘Savages’ by Shirley Conran is a mega book – an epic, brutal, brilliant feminist romp about jungle survival; it’s intelligent and political and sexy all at once. All the best bonkbusters are about strong women. For me it’s the main difference between bonkbusters and erotica: the fact that the women in bonkbusters come out on top, they’ve outgrown the notion that the Alpha male will solve their problems because they are perfectly capable of solving those problems themselves. The queen of writing strong women is Jackie Collins. She’s my favourite author in this genre and always has been. ‘American Star’ is a great place to start with Jackie, as is ‘Lovers & Gamblers’. Her ultimate feisty female is a ball-busting beauty called Lucky Santangelo – try ‘Lady Boss’ for a taste of the magic!
Last but not least, my favorite question and possibly the most revealing! Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”). What would be your six word story for your life so far?
Dreamed of writing…so I did.
You can find out more about Victoria and her books on her website. Victoria is also one of the lovely writers featured in this summer’s hottest getaway anthology Sunlounger along with London Diaires regular (can I actually call her that?) Lucy Robinson!