Please welcome Vickie Fee to our Guest Author questions and answers. Vicki is not only a fellow member of the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime, she is a fellow Yooper (person who lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). Vickie says of herself that she is kind, funny, awkward, smart and caffeinated. Her writing is authentic, Southern, humorous, cozy and readable. It’s about this time of year that she probably wishes her location were Southern as well. Here are her choice questions and answers.
What is your most productive time of the day (and do you need caffeine)?
I’m brain-dead in the morning and routinely write in the afternoon. But my most productive writing time often ends up being in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. And yes, caffeine in the form of coffee is a major food group for me.
You have a table for four at your favorite restaurant and can invite any three people, living, dead or fictional. Who are your guests (and why) and where are you eating (and why)?
I’d have supper with the late Anne George, whose Southern Sisters mysteries are the gold standard for humorous Southern cozies in my opinion. I’d ask her for writing advice and to tell me all about the adventures of Mouse and Sister she never got the chance to write. I’d invite Elvis, since I’m from Memphis and don’t have a good Elvis story and because, Southern gentleman that he is, Elvis would surely pick up the tab for dinner and maybe even toss me the keys to a new Cadillac. My husband would also join us—I love sharing experiences with him and he enjoys seeing me happy. We’d have ribs at The Rendezvous because I don’t get to feast on real Memphis BBQ as often as I’d like.
Describe your most productive writing venue. What makes it best for you?
My computer lives in a computer armoire in our office/guestroom. It’s the most practical and productive place for me to write because the desktop is a handy spot to stack the scraps of paper I’m constantly scribbling notes on. And the armoire doors provide space to tape up index cards on top of which I affix multiple Post-It notes. This is a very sophisticated system of organization, and it’s not portable.
How many books do you read in a typical month? Do you read in your genre while you are writing? What’s your most recent “great” book?
I’m always writing something and I do read a lot of mysteries, but I’m not sure what a typical month would be. My best guess is I read from two to eight books a month depending on what else is going on in my world. Louise Penny’s most recent novel, The Nature of the Beast, was a great read because—Louise Penny. It’s a signed copy that was an anniversary gift from my husband, which is also pretty great.
What themes do you regularly employ in your writing?
The strong bonds of family, friendship and community are major themes, as is the case in many cozy mysteries, along with the desire for justice.
What motivates you to write?
The short answer would be deadlines, but that’s not the whole story. I wrote fiction for years without any real deadlines—or much encouragement for that matter—and have two awful, unsold manuscripts and a stack of rejection letters to prove it. So I must be motivated by something beyond deadlines, like stubbornness or insanity, or maybe a little of both!
What motivates your protagonist (if not a series, then use the protagonist of your most recent novel)? What influenced who they are today?
My main character, Liv McKay, is motivated by love, friendship and a fierce protective streak for those she cares about. Besides her loving, if somewhat crazy family, Liv is also deeply influenced by the strong sense of community in her hometown of Dixie.
What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received and why was it so valuable?
The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write or don’t be afraid of a bad first draft. It’s been said a lot of different ways, but it all adds up to the same thing: Start writing and keep at it!
To connect with Vickie and learn more about her books, visit www.vickiefee.com or find her at www.facebook.com/VickieFeeAuthor and on Twitter: @vickiefeeauthor. And here is a teaser blurb for Death Crashes the Party
Killer parties, Southern charm
In the quirky, close-knit town of Dixie, party planner Liv McKay has a knack for throwing Southern-style soirées, from diamonds-and-denim to black tie affairs — and her best friend Di Souther mixes a mean daiquiri. While planning a Moonshine and Magnolias bash for a couple of high maintenance clients, Liv inconveniently discovers a corpse in the freezer and turns her attention from fabulous fêtes to finding a murderer. Together, Liv and Di follow a trail of sinister secrets in their sweet little town that leads them from drug smugglers to a Civil War battlefield, and just when they think they’re whistling Dixie, Liv and Di will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the least likely killer of all…