Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Authorsday - Vicki Lane

Critically acclaimed author Vicki Lane visits my blog today to talk about her Elizabeth Goodweather mysteries.

1. How did you pick the genre you write in?
In 2000, on a whim, I signed up for a writing class called “Writing Fiction That Sells.” The teacher encouraged us to begin a novel in the class (which met 6 times) and suggested we pick a genre we were familiar with. I’d always been a reader of mysteries and I figured that with a mystery, at least you had a pattern to follow – X is dead and A, B, C, or D might have done it. It was in this class that Elizabeth Goodweather was born.

2. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
I wrote Whose Revenge? – in which Elizabeth Goodweather is on vacation at the NC coast. She finds a body on the beach at Cape Lookout and gets involved with a handsome direct descendent of Blackbeard the pirate. This book landed me my agent but she couldn’t sell it – all the NY editors said ‘Great protag, good writing, but you can’t start a series with the protag on vacation. Series readers want to fall in love with a place as well as a character.’ So I wrote Signs in the Blood – with Elizabeth back in the mountains where she belongs and my agent sold that to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell.
3. Describe your series.
Elizabeth is a widow in her fifties, an outsider in the rural mountain county where she and her late husband established the farm she now operates. In spite of the herbs and gardening, the dogs and quilts and cooking that pop up now and again – these books aren’t cozies. They are psychological suspense – with a touch of middle-aged romance and a bit of woo-woo here and there. The series is set in the present day but each book has a secondary story set in the past and tied to the present.

4. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I think I do characters and setting very well.
5. What do you consider your weaknesses?
I kind of hate working out plots. Makes my brain hurt.

6. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I’d like to experience the time between WWI and WWII – in England, as a member of the upper middle class. Oh, heck, I’ll admit it – I really want to be Harriet Vane and go to Oxford and be pursued by Lord Peter Wimsey.
7. What’s your favorite thing about your book?
My favorite thing about In a Dark Season is the historical story set in 1859. It’s like one of the old love ballads they still sing around here. I’m pretty fond of the touches of magic in the present day too – like Chapter 18 . . . and 52 . . .
8. What do you do when you are not writing?
In the summer I’m tending the garden, putting up food, bathing dogs, vacuuming up dog hair. And I always have a book going to read at lunch or before falling asleep. Sometimes I teach writing classes; I walk in the woods and I’m always taking pictures that will show up on my (pretty much) Daily Blog.
9. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
Really learn to use my new Nikon D90 digital SLR camera – a step up from my little digital point and shoot number. And also learn to speak French. I wish I could learn to play a musical instrument but after trying violin, piano, dulcimer, guitar, and mandolin, I have to admit that I haven’t the ear for it.
10. What’s your favorite quote?
I have to tell the story it came from to help make some sense of it.
A city fella is walking along a country road and he passes an orchard. The apple trees are heavy with ripe fruit and a farmer is standing under one, holding up a pig so that it can eat all the apples it wants.
“Hey, there,” says the city fella to the farmer, “that must take a lot of time, feeding your pig that way.”
The farmer just smiles. “What’s time to a pig?” says he.
Something about the silliness of this has always enchanted me and whenever I find myself having to do something I don’t want to, I repeat to myself: “What’s time to a pig?”

Author Bio: Vicki Lane is the author of the critically acclaimed Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell -- Signs in the Blood, Art's Blood, Old Wounds, In a Dark Season (Anthony Nominee), as well as The Day of Small Things, a standalone coming in 2010. Vicki draws her inspiration from the past and present of rural North Carolina where she and her family have tended a mountainside farm since 1975 Book Blurb: (no more than 100 words): In a Dark Season Anthony Nominee Best PBO, Romantic Times Nominee Best Contemporary Suspense. Margaret Maron calls it "a suspenseful tale of love and lust." The old house on the Drovers’ Road is haunted by evil – a suspicious death, a brutal rape, a suicide attempt, and the legend of a handsome youth, hanged for murder. “A haunting, lyrical tale of the Appalachians, as heartbreaking as it is magical,” says Julia Spencer-Fleming.

1 comment:

KM Fawcett said...

Nice Interview, Chris. Vicki I wanted to stop by and say hi. Our book club had met with you via SKYPE to discuss Signs in the Blood back in May or June. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!