Good morning, blogging audience! How are you this fine morning? It's great to see so many smiling faces. Today, I have a treat for you. I'm interviewing Vicki Taylor. (Carol Ann claps along with audience as Vicki comes into the studio)
CAROL ANN: Good morning Vicki. I'm so honored that you came to visit today. I'm anxious to learn more about you and your books. Your latest release is Trust in the Wind. I viewed the book trailer and it's really good. Please tell my blog audience a bit about the book.
VICKI: Thanks for looking at the book trailer. It helped tell the story, I think. Trust in the Wind is about two people who've had it rough. Joanne got pregnant and then disowned by her parents, while still a teenager. Roy had a family but they were killed during a burglary while he was away on duty. Joanne learns to become independent and not rely on anyone. Roy buries his feelings and becomes somewhat of a "cowboy" when it comes to his job, always volunteering for the most dangerous missions. A call to Joanne's apartment complex throws them together and they begin a journey to discovering what it is that makes them want to be together, all the while as Roy falls hopelessly in love with Joanne's little boy, Joey. Inch by inch, they hack away at each other's walls until a tense hostage standoff shows them exactly what's important in their lives.
CAROL ANN: Sound like a wonderful and heartwarming story. Vicki, you've had several books and novellas published. Which has been your favorite to write and why?
VICKI: That's a difficult question to answer, because each one is special in its own way. Forever Until We Meet brought the Internet romances out in the open and the tragic results of some people getting too intimate too quickly. March Madness was my first attempt at a mystery with a murder and I liked the character development very much. I've always thought that I'd like to go back and expand that story into a novel. Not Without Anna is special to me because the idea originally came from my daughter. She wrote a short story for school that intrigued me. I kept the basic premise of the story and the two young characters, while using the "what if" process to develop a complex and disturbing story of teenagers involved with drugs murder, alcohol, and suicide. Trust in the Wind came to me in a dream. I woke the next morning full of the story and wrote the whole synopsis down in its entirety. That dream is still fresh in my memories. I have a book, Out for Justice, with a publisher right now and it is another attempt at suspense and murder. This book, as well, came to me in a dream. My current work in progress, Good Intentions, takes me away from murder and suicide and puts me into the heart of adopting teenagers and teenage pregnancy. It's a story straight from the newspaper headlines.
CAROL ANN: Sounds like you are keeping very busy. I've never had a complete story come to me in a dream. How interesting! So when you write, do you have your own little corner or space?
VICKI: I have my own space in a spare bedroom that we've turned into my office. Part of the room is still available for guests, but my desks, computer, printers and files are in there as well. It's away from the rest of the "living" area of the house, so I don't hear my husband if he's knocking about. I'm home during the day, so the house is pretty quiet anyway. Except for my parrot, Bailey and my dog, Jack. They tend to want to be with me, so Jack will lay under my desk and look out the window, while I bring Bailey and his cage to my office so he can still see and hear me. We listen to music, and what's playing depends if we're listening for my pleasure or Bailey's. My journal sits near my bed so that it's close by for any time I wake up with a story idea and need to get it down immediately. I've learned to listen to the voices inside of me and stop and write them down when they come. My space is cramped and crowded, filled with all the gadgets that go with a home office. But, I know that when I go in there, it's "my space" and I can do whatever I want and build whatever world I want with my words.
CAROL ANN: I think it's important for a writer to have a place they call their own. I love the idea of you writing with Bailey in the office with you! It's nice that you are home during the day. So many writers don't have that quiet time. But even so you must have a lot of other commitments. How do you schedule your writing around your personal life? Do you have a set time to write?
VICKI: Thanks to my husband, I don't have an outside of the house job. But, I do have a house to run and a husband and pets to take care of so there is a limited amount of spare time to write. I tend to write more in the afternoon, than I do in the earlier part of the day. I'm not the type of person who can just jump out of bed and start writing. I'm obsessive compulsive enough to know that for me, certain chores need to get done first so that I have the mental state to write. I try to get all my writing done before my husband comes home. That's our time. I don't always make my goal, and he's understanding and supportive. I write until I reach a good stopping point and then we determine if it's too late to make dinner or we call for delivery. I like writing on a schedule, because I know there's always something to go back to in the story. Although, I've gone through my rough periods too, and have been abandoned by my Muse. Those days are rough. I go about my daily activities, wondering when the Muse will find me again. But, eventually it does. It may not always bring me back to the old project right away, but it does infuse me with creativity for other fun things to write.
CAROL ANN: I was perusing your website and ran across an entry that you like stunt kite flying. Please tell us more about this! Sounds really interesting.
VICKI: Stunt Kite Flying. It's exciting. Thrilling. Exhilarating. Instead of the one kite string on normal kites, you get two, with handles. The kites are made specifically to gather as much wind as possible. You control the kite with the handles and can put the kite through maneuvers like twists, spins and dives. It's a very popular sport with competition events all along the coast. I don't compete, it's just a hobby for me.
CAROL ANN: Sounds like a great way to get outdoors and release some tension. I understand you have a collection of teddy bears.
VICKI: Yes! A teddy bear gift from one of my children started my collection. From there it grew into a serious hobby. Soon, everyone knew I collected teddy bears so from then on, I could always predict what gift I would be getting. Anything to do with bears. I have a very large Polar Bear collection, including the Coca Cola bears. My Winnie the Pooh collection isn't too bad. I could always use more Poohs. I have some Steiffs which are the pride of my collection, including a large Coca Cola Steiff polar bear. I have some very old bears, even one of the first ones to have a belly button. My husband is a scuba diver, so I even have a scuba diver bear, complete with fins, mask, and air tank.As my collection grows, I am more particular about what I add to it. There's only so much room in my house. They've already claimed most every available space there is. What's not claimed by teddy bears is claimed by books.
CAROL ANN: Oh, I hear you. My grandmother gave me a music box. That started my collection. I have lots of interesting music boxes, but finally had to say to my family, "Please no more!" **laugh** Do you have any other hobbies?
VICKI: Well, reading is a hobby. I love to read. And, I read a wide variety of authors. From Stephen King to Barbara Delinsky to Piers Anthony to Lisa Gardner to Tim Dorsey and so many more it would take up so much space to list them all. I have a lot of books. My bookshelves are overflowing and books are stacked on every space available in my house. Even the floor. LOL I can thank my husband for the other hobby I spend a lot of time with and that's the computer game World of Warcraft. My character is a Night Elf and she's a Hunter. It's a Role > Playing Game played on the Internet with millions of other characters/users. It can be very addictive. And then there are my pets. My parrot, Bailey and my dog, Jack. Do those count as hobbies? I know they're spoiled, that's for sure.
CAROL ANN: Well, maybe not a hobby, but definitely family. I have three very spoiled cats. You mentioned Stephen King first, when you listed authors. What draws you to his writing and since I, too, am a fan, which of his books is your favorite?
VICKI: I have to admit, of all the books I have, there is no other collection bigger than the Stephen King books. Although, Patricia Cornwell is starting to give him a run for his money for space on my bookcases. Stephen King has a way of writing that draws the reader in and > encourages the reader to use their imagination. He will write characters or descriptions in such a way that will leave you wondering later if you read everything you saw in your mind's eye or if he gave you just enough to fill in the details for yourself. That talent to draw the reader in so completely that they live the story in their mind is one I haven't seem among many other writers. I'm not sure if I have a favorite Stephen King book because they all have touched me in some way or another. But, I can tell you that the scariest Stephen King book I've read was Tommyknockers. I had to sleep with the light on for quite a few nights while reading that book. I even had a rule, no reading it after sundown.
CAROL ANN: Oh, I loved that one. My hubby gave it to me for Christmas and I couldn't put it down. It scared the living daylights out of me, too! Okay, time for a serious question. Are you a "girly-girl" or a tom-boy?
VICKI: Definitely a tom-boy. I joined the Marines after high school and in my 30's rode a motorcycle. Well, my motorcycle was red. My jacket was pink. My helmet had an airbrush rendition of Winnie the Pooh, and I rode with a Winnie the Pooh backpack. Was that too girly? **Carol Ann laughs** I like doing girly things sometimes like being pampered or drinking tea, but I don't mind getting into the middle of things either. Uh oh. Now you have me wondering. Am I a girly-girl or a tom-boy?
CAROL ANN: Sorry, Vicki. Didn't mean to give you such a hard question. **laugh** Let's try another. Which comes first? The plot or the characters? Where do you get your ideas?
VICKI: I get my ideas from all kinds of places. Dreams. Newspapers. Magazines. Life. Sometimes I'll have a character and she'll have a story to tell. Then I build a plot around her. It depends on the story I'm telling. Every one is different. Unique. However, come to think of it, I think that my novels are more character led. My stories develop around my characters and their lives. A plot develops from there. I give a talk on where I get my story ideas and I tell my listeners that there are all kinds of ideas, but those that are strong enough to build a story upon take work. They way it works for me is I use the "what if" process. Start with an idea, then ask "what if..." and continue until a story is built or the idea becomes a dud.
CAROL ANN: What does the word "romance" mean to you?
VICKI: Romance? It means a few different things to me. It is an emotion or a mood or a feeling. Romance means a loving relationship between two people who show each other in their own ways how much each means to the other. It could be the way he holds her door open, or it could be the way she folds his socks and puts them away. It's not a holiday or a commerical enterprise. It's the kiss before you go to sleep at night and the little card you slide into his pocket that says "I love you." It's him putting his dirty clothes in the hamper without being asked and it's her gentle touch when she applies aloe vera to his sunburned nose. Romance is all of those things. It's knowing that you wake up and go to sleep next the only person in the world you would want to be there. Some people think romance is flowers and chocolates. It could be for that person. But, for me, it's so much more.
CAROL ANN: Here's a question I ask all my authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?
VICKI: This is a hard one. I believe that there is a time and place for both. It would be wonderful if all conflicts could be solved with words instead of weapons. But, words can be so forceful. They are weapons when wielded with a viper's wrath. They can be as soft and gentle as a puppy's kiss, making you feel comforted and safe. Whatever the case, words stand forever in time, etched in the stone of records forever in our memories. Words as weapons can strike fear and cause chaos in generations. Great thought and care should be considered when words are used. I believe that there are times when words do more damage > than any sword could do. People destroy one another based on words.
CAROL ANN: Vicki, thank you so much for spending time with us today. It's been fun learning more about you and I hope the readers have gotten a glimpse of your warm personality. Please share your website link and any other links or email addreses you'd like our readers to have.
VICKI: Thanks so much for having me as your guest. I enjoyed your questions and I hope my answers helped others learn a little bit more about who I am. The links below are other sites I manage in my "spare" time.