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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

INTERVIEW: VICKI BATMAN

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Vicki Batman, whose latest release Man Theory and Other Stories was released the first of the month. It's a collection of three very short romantic stories Vicki likes to call "quickies." For more about that, see her guest blog from yesterday.

In the eighth grade, there was one book she sees as a huge turning point in her life: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

"I'd given the dreaded, oral book report and the teacher chastised me for not picking something more challenging to read. I was like…what? So I asked my friend in front of me what she'd read, and she said Rebecca. I read it, and the rest is history."

I asked her what inspired her to start writing.

"I was on a girlfriend trip and one friend wanted to play her version of car games. One question was 'pick one: Englebert Humperdink or Tom Jones.' I went with EH because he seemed more romantic. The others picked TJ. Later on, she asked, 'Write the opening paragraph of a book using the word window.' I had nothing. So she said to send something later on. I felt compelled to do this task and two days later sat down and wrote eight chapters. My friend read it and said to keep writing. I have!"

Vicki loves writing short stories and is currently working on one that was inspired by a true life incident. Once upon a time she was Miss Oak Lawn Moped and, when she confessed this in an interview, several people posted they wanted to know that story—her head went "bing!!" and she wrote "Raving Beauty."

"How do you come up with the titles to your books?" I asked.
"That's so funny! I don't always have one at first. Sometimes, I put anything just to have something. Finally, one sticks. 'Man Theory' came about because the hero says, 'I have a theory'," she told me with a laugh.

Vicki's had sixteen stories and one novella published. She loves all her stories for different reasons, but the one she personally finds the funniest is "Drive My Car."


"Who is your favorite author and why?" I asked.

"When my son was a baby, I was casting about for someone new to read. I picked up a book about mysteries. It categorized the authors and said, if you like so and so, you'll like so and so. My so and so became Dick Francis. I adore him. Dick Francis was a jockey, even for the Queen. He moved into writing columns and then mysteries. They centered on the many aspects of the racing world. I am totally captivated like...chocolate."

Vicki is very lucky in her writing space—she converted a small room downstairs into her space. She has five book cases with a cute desk in front of three of them. Across from the desk is a leather loveseat and, above it, Vicki has hung her story covers. Scattered throughout are trinkets, photos, books, CD boxes, and a player.

"What do you like to do when you are not writing?" I asked.

"I honestly believe my writing is better from my other indulgences. I do needlepoint, embroidery and make fun crafts. I am big into yoga and have Jazzercised for twenty-something years."

Having fun with her men, reading a good book, watching TV and doing needlework are the simple things that make her happy.

I asked, "What is your most embarrassing moment?"

"Oh, gee, is this where I confess how I asked seven guys to a dance and got turned down seven times? Or my senior prom date dumping me a week before? Or Miss Oak Lawn Moped?"

I wondered if Vicki was a plotter or a pantser. She told me that a friend of hers developed a new term for what she does: (plot)ter + (pant)ster= plotster.

"I get an idea and run with it. We all know in romance there is an HEA; so that is the ultimate goal. Each story has a black moment. But what happens in between is the fun."

Vicki told me that while she has never eaten a crayon, she has nibbled on an eraser. And, she fed her sister mud-covered ants (remarkably, her sister forgave her.)

"What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?" I asked.

"You know that book I started because of the car game? I kept on writing and writing. Eventually, I needed some criticism and entered contests. But one nearly did me in. A judge wrote, 'Why are you writing?' I took it to mean I was not good at it and to stop. I cried buckets of tears. Called a friend and she calmed me down. Then I determined no one could dictate my life. If I wanted to pursue this career, I would. I kept on writing, and a year and a half later, that story took third," she said with a laugh.

Vicki decided she was going to attend the Citizen's Fire Academy that her local fire department was putting on as research for her writing and the men in her life nearly died laughing. She did it anyway and loved it.
"I rappelled off a building, scaled a big ass ladder, and went in a burning building dressed in gear. Then I did the Citizen's Police Academy."

"Do you use a pen name?" I asked.

"Please! I have the best name ever. No one forgets BATMAN." She laughed. "I married a superhero."

Finally, I asked her if she had a favorite quote or saying she could share with us.

"From Eudora Welty-All serious daring starts from within. And this fun one-Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WooHOO, what a ride!'"

About the Author: Like some of her characters, Vicki has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm. The list is…endless.

Born in Dallas, a graduate of Texas Tech, she is married to Handsome, has two big boys, an attention-demanding cat, and two adorable poopies.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. She is a member of RWA, and the DARA, Elements, and RWA-WF chapters. In 2004 she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. Recently, she was awarded the 2010 Robin Teer Memorial Service Award.

Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"

Find her online at:

http://vickibatman.blogspot.com
http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com

Man Theory and Other Stories

"Ouch" - Who knew a yoga class would be so dangerous...and romantic?

"Man Theory" - When a geeky co-worker espouses his theory on love, a friend risks her heart.

"Tommy and the Teacher" - A young boy steals from the school’s book fair causing interesting possibilities to arise.

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26 comments:

Robin Covington said...

Vicki - You crack me up! great interview with a funny, talented lady!

Vicki Batman said...

Thank you, Robin. You know I like my funny. hehehe.

Cara Marsi said...

Vicki, great interview. You know how much I love your stories. Your office sounds a lot like mine, a desk surrounded by bookcases. It's nice to have a private space. I loved your firehouse episode.

J.A. Garland said...

You are hilarious! What a great chance to get to know you better! I'm heading to the kindle now. You're on my TBR list.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Cara: climbing that ladder was a real test of being height challenged, but I did it! And in the rain and snow. LOL AND when I rapelled, somehow my rope twisted, and landed on my a-s-s. Those guys were so worried. I shook it off, wiped the back of my pants off and said, "Cool!"

Hi, JA Garland! Thank you for stopping. I had no idea I was funny. As a kid, I was EXTREMELY shy. Somewhere in my adult years, I was on a girlfriend trip (I have lots, esp during the child-rearing years), and during a heart to heart with the gals, one said, "You are so funny." When I began writing, it just flowed along with my words. Thank you!!!

Sasha Summers said...

Great interview Vicki!! Nothing like a morning laugh to get the day going on the right foot :)

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Vicki
It's great to get to know you better! Your tenacity is amazing. :-)
Heights don't bother me, but ladders do.

Congrats on your success with your great stories! Wishing you many more happy readers. :-)

Cynthia D'Alba said...

seven guys turned you down? FOOLS! Or blind. You're lovely...inside and out!

Great interview.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Sasha: What a way to start you day--with me??? LOL. Thank you.

Hi, Jeanmarie! I have two sons and a very manly man hubby. No wusses allowed. LOLOL

Hi, Cyndi: Can you believe it? No victims in high school. LOL. And thank you for the loverly compliment. I'll tell my mama you said so.

Liz Lipperman said...

You always make me laugh, Vicki. And I agree with Cyndi--those 7 guys must have been blind. I'm sure Handsome thanks them for that!!

And I love your short stories. Keep them coming.

Charmaine Gordon said...

Getting to know you-getting to know all about you. And what a delightful interview, Vicki thanks to LASR. I look forward to reading your stories.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Liz: Could you tell I was desperate to go to that dance and ASKED seven guys? Unbelievable. Handsome dies laughing over this story. He would. Thanks, sweetie.

Hi, Charmaine! I know!!! LASR girls did me proud and I'm so glad you stopped by to get to know me. I'm probably getting an awful reputation. LOLOL

Harlie Reader said...

You crack me up. I didn't realize that you were that close to me. I grew up in Dallas but now live in Gun Barrel City.

BTW, Batman is my favorite Superhero.

Marika

LJ Garland said...

Vicki, great inteview. Love the way you started writing. The car game was brilliant...and I would've picked EH, too! :)

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Harlie! Thank you so much for posting. Yep, born and bread Texan, goes back to the Revolution. And I've been to Gun Barrel City. Batman is the best superhero, but then, I'm prejuidiced. LOL

Hi, LJ! My friend and her car games--she's hilarious. If I had time,the stories... There is one word which really sets us off--bacon. Thank you so much for posting. :)

Karen Cote said...

Hey Vicki, you are seriously funny and sexy, just like your writing style. I do have to admit to getting a little upset over that judge only because I've entered many contests and know what a true judge with constructive criticism is versus those who have no business being put in a position to taint the process. Maybe it made you stronger but there are better ways for a writer to achieve that result without a horrendous memory to complicate our growth. So glad you were as strong as you are to overcome and now...we have the privilege of knowing you and your beautiful craft. Great interview but then you always deliver that.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Karen, my honeybunny friend! I can still feel the pain from the judge's comments. And as a result, I always worry when scoring contest entries "Am I being too harsh?" I certainly hope not. And if so, I hope those aspiring writers pick up and march onward. After all, there is a lot more reward when do march on. Thanks, my friend. ox

Kathleen Baldwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen Baldwin said...

Dear Miss Oak Lawn Moped,

Now that's hilarious! Where can I read this Raving Beauty story?

BTW enjoyed Man Theory and Other Stories.

Misspelled your title hence the previous deleted comment. I are a writer.

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Vicki! Great interview! It's amazing what you can learn about an author! When I was a young mom home with my two oldest boys, my aunt belonged to a book club and would send her read books to my mom, who'd then send them to me. I read quite a few Dick Francis books.

I always have trouble coming up with story titles too. I think your new title is an eye catcher. Best of luck with it!

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Kat: I are writer, too. I thought my keyboard was wonky; so I bought a new one. Still have issues. Me thinking Oh dear I'm really that bad. Raving Beauty is just about done. I'll let you have a sneak preview. LOL.

Hi, Susan! See? We had to be writer friends cause we bond over Dick Francis. I can't say enough how much I love his work. "Man Theory" seemed natural for the story. Of course, my men are saying "What do you know about men?" Huh, if they only knew what living with them taught me. Oh yeah, already did that post on the topic. LOLOL. Thanks, Susan!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Vicki,
Great interview! I love your books! They crack me up. Keep up the writing!

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Karilyn! Thank you so much sweetie. And happy writing to you. oxox

J.M. Powers said...

This interview was fantastic. I love the conversational tone, the funny stories and especially the wit from you,Vicki Batman. Seriously, that is the best "real pen name" ever.
I give you a lot of credit for the whole firehouse thing. Yep, writers will do anything for research! You're a brave person, because research or not, I would never enter a burning building. Ha!
Going to check out your books now.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, JM Powers! and THANK YOU! I can only take credit for marrying the name, my superhero, she says while clasping her hands to her chest and gazing into his eyes. LOL

I hope you like my stories. I have written a bunch for the Trues and have two more coming this fall from MuseItUp Publishing. And yes, they're funny. Let me know what you think. Thank you for posting.

Vicki Batman said...

It's beddie bye time for me. Thank you LASR for hostessing me today. I had a blast meeting all the new folks too. I can only hope you'll invite me back!