Monday, March 22, 2010

A Visit with Vicki Lewis Thompson

Vicki Lewis Thompson’s romance writing career has given her many wonderful things –New York Times bestseller status, an appearance on LIVE with Regis and Kelly, the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America, thousands of readers, many dear friends, and the cutest little yellow convertible in the world. Her career has also given her work she loves.

Although she’s written more than 100 books, she continues to be fascinated by the many ways that a man and woman fall in love. The age-old story remains a challenging puzzle to be solved anew with each book. That makes her a very lucky person, indeed.

DRose: Welcome Vicki, it’s an honor to have you with us. Let’s start by telling us a little about yourself. Where are you from? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

VLT: Because I moved to Arizona as a kid, I count myself as an Almost-Native. I had dreams of becoming a ballerina, but I’m short and the least flexible woman on the planet, so I flunked dance class. Fortunately, I’ve always loved to write!

DRose: Are there any authors who have influenced you and your work?

VLT: I didn’t discover romance until my thirties (gasp, choke!) but I distinctly remember reading D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover at an impressionable and hormonal age and thinking it would be cool to write about sex. I like unpretentious writers. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn was a favorite. Once I discovered romance, I was definitely influence by Nora (who needs no last name). There’s not even an ounce of pretention in her writing. It’s clean and compelling. I admire that.

DRose: Do you have a favorite book or series?

VLT: I’ll always be partial to Nerd in Shining Armor because it was so pivotal in my career, but my favorite book or series is usually the one I’m writing.

DRose: When you're not writing, do you have any hobbies or interests?

VLT: When I’m not writing I usually indulge my hobbies of sleeping and eating. But sometimes I can eat and write at the same time. Sleeping and writing hasn’t worked out so well.

DRose: Tell us more about your book. What's it about and what inspired you to write it?

VLT: If it’s okay to talk about both Blonde with a Wand and Chick with a Charm, I’d say I was inspired by the dynamics of sister relationships. Two sisters, both witches, get into trouble using their magic inappropriately. Their predicaments are similar, but their reactions are not. Anica, the heroine of Blonde, and Lily, the heroine of Chick, are as different as two people could be, just as I’m different from my sisters and they’re different from each other. The interaction of siblings and the effect of birth order are subjects that have always fascinated me.

DRose: How long did it take for you to get published and what was the journey like?

VLT: From start to finish was about a year, which seems fast now but seemed to take FOREVER back then. Soon after I started writing romance I quit my day job, which meant I had to sell within that year or go back to the day job. I was extremely motivated, because I LOVED staying home to write. I still love it and am pretty much ruined for any other kind of employment.

DRose: Any current projects you're excited about and can share with our readers?

VLT: You bet! Thanks for asking! I’m writing a nine-book cowboy series for Harlequin Blaze that debuts in June. Three books will show up this summer, three more in 2011, and the final three in 2012. Currently I’m also writing a series for NAL that features comic werewolves. The first book comes out in February, 2011, and is called Werewolf in Manhattan.

DRose: Do you plot your story before you write it or do you sit and let it flow?

VLT: I plot as much as I need to so that my editor won’t panic. Editors have this crazy need to believe that the money they’re paying will result in an actual book with a plot. What’s up with that? But at heart I’m a pantser and prefer to discover the book as I go along.

DRose: Do you write to music or the TV?

VLT: Definitely not TV. I’m not hooked up to TV at home, although I love watching movies and TV shows that come out on DVD. But a thumbs-up to writing with music. One of my all-time favorites is the score to the first Pirates movie. Love. It.

DRose: Do you consider yourself eccentric as a writer? Is there something you must have or do before writing?

VLT: Someone’s been spying on me. They caught me wearing my lucky sweatshirt with crystals hanging around my neck and my creativity bracelet on, and the music cranked up to jet-takeoff levels, not to mention the glass of merlot and the plate of Seriously Sharp cheddar, plus my favorite spice pillar candle burning.

DRose: Most people see writers as hermits, closed off in a room, clacking away at the keyboard until the final page is typed. Do you consider yourself this disciplined as a writer?

VLT: Yes.

DRose: They say you can learn a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your work area look like?

VLT: It looks like my living room, because I write there on a laptop. I pretty much hate desks.

DRose: What do you consider your guilty pleasure?

VLT: Reading People magazine.

DRose: Can you tell us about the workshop you’ll be doing for the Desert Rose Conference?

VLT: I’m presenting two workshops, one by myself and one with my assistant Audrey Sharpe.

My solo act is “Just Ask,” in which we’ll discuss how a writer can get what she needs from editors, agents, and even her family.

The duet with Audrey is called “Rescue Me.” We’ll talk about delegating non-writing tasks using both love and money as rewards.

DRose: Is there anything we didn't cover that you'd like to mention?

VLT: My cat Eve thinks she should get a plug because she’s my muse and I couldn’t write a lick without her. That’s probably true.

DRose: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. It’s been a pleasure.

VLT: Thanks for asking!

For more about Vicki and her work, visit her website at http://www.vickilewisthompson.com/

3 comments:

  1. Vicki, I hope Eve gives you an extra-good purr tonight as a thanks for the mention...although, heck, she probably figures it's only what she's due. :)

    Loved your thoughts on siblings -- for that matter, loved the whole interview. And I can't wait to see you and Audrey!

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  2. Vicki,

    There you are. I'm looking forward to seeing you again. I think the last time was the 09 Chocolate Affaire. Great interview.

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  3. Hi, Laurie and Connie! Yes, it's been way too long and it's time for me to come out of my cave and see my buddies. Looking forward to it!

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