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!'"
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:
"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.