Wednesday, November 20, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Vivian Varlowe

I met up with Vivian at the Simple Treasures gift show recently and we got talking about books.

No surprise there.

What may surprise you is why Vivian began to write and how long it actually took her to put pen to paper. Find out how Deep Space Nine and her mother's stories helped Vivian find her writing muse.


Vivian Varlowe
Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I was a sick kid.  I was born with almost no immune system.  I was virtually allergic to life, and my allergies caused asthma, hay fever, and awful rashes.  I spent hours and hours, days, sometimes weeks in my bed.  I was in and out of the hospital many, many times for oxygen treatments. 


My Mama would read to me for hours.  There wasn't much on daytime television.  (I am NOT old as the dinosaurs.  It wasn't that long since we started having TVs.  OK, maybe I am just a little old!...wink) 

Mama told me about Robert Louis Stevenson.  She explained that like me he had terrible asthma.  He wrote lots of wonderful books in his bed.  Mama then read some of his poetry to me, and I was inspired.

The Swing...

Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing? (I loved it then and still do) Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
(Especially a child that can't breathe very well, but can still swing)
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide, 
(Much better view than from my bed) Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

His was a creative description of swinging that I still love. 

When I was too sick to do what I preferred (running, dancing, singing, anything involving movement), I would spin stories in my head.  Unfortunately it took me over 50 years to believe enough in my own abilities to take a leap of faith, and become an actual writer.  The happy news is that I had all those years of stories saved up just waiting to jump onto the page! 
(Did you know that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “Treasure Island” before he ever was able to see a tropical island)?


How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I enjoy both types of writing at different times.  Computers make life much easier. In many ways.  Anyone who has had to mail a manuscript for a novel to a publishing company the old fashioned way involving printing four hundred pages, finding a mailer big enough to send it,  then trying to find the correct address to snail mail the manuscript to, and then paid postage for the large bulky manuscript will understand.  Now I send the entire manuscript, all four hundred pages by a click of the mouse.  Anyone who has had that experience knows the benefits of technology. 


On the other hand, I watched a Star Trek Episode years ago (Deep Space Nine was my guilty pleasure) where Jordie, who is a writer, is encouraged to write with a pen against paper.  The explanation is that it's similar to an artist feeling the tactile pleasure of oil to brush to canvas, or special types of knives for carving, or sculpting.  So sometimes I cherish the gift of outdoor beauty while I write and I don't want the newness of technology to distract me from the ideas I wish to share. 

I do love the 19th century in the Western United States and I'm pretty sure they had no laptops to use.  I have a journal in my purse everywhere that I go.  I never know when I great idea will pop into my head.  I LOVE the old fashioned joy of writing in a really lovely cursive.  It is sad to me that lovely handwriting is a rapidly dying art.

I do have a Smart Phone but I refuse to type anything longer than 10 letters with one finger.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?


My favorite part of writing is the magical time that you manage to catch the poetry in life, whether you are recording it in poetry format or prose format.  In a line or page you capture something that is rhythmic, musical.  Two days later you read it back to yourself and think, “Wow, did I write that?”

My least favorite part of writing is having to cut sections out of your novel, because to read the entire novel you would need to live longer than Methuselah in the Bible (he lived to be over 900 years old).  The good news is that you can always post things from the extracted parts of your novels on your blogs as “teasers,” to get people interested in your writing!


How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
 

I use snippets from my own life, family history, family, friends, and then there is always my imagination.  I have a terrific imagination!

My characters are always a work in progress.  Readers can relate to their weaknesses, and learn from their strengths.  As my dear Mama likes to say, “There is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us that it behooves none of us to talk about the rest of us.”

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I'm just learning about marketing.  So far I have two blogs, one about the series that I'm writing,
driftinganchorranch.blogspot.com that has snippets from some of the novels. Currently Celeste's Journal is giving a heads up on her character before you start reading her novel, “Celeste, Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch.”  There are also recipes from the 1800s, as well as sewing, knitting, and
crocheting patterns that were used in the 1800s.


Find it at Amazon
 
My other blog is objoyful44.blogspot.com  It is in reference to one of the books that will be coming out around the new year, “Thrive Don't Just Survive.”  It will be a compilation of thoughts and stories about ways to find joy in life even during the hardest times.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Wait, I'm supposed to schedule my writing time?  (hee hee)  I used to write around my two children's schedules.  Waiting for them after school, equaled two sentences.  Waiting while they played soccer, equaled three paragraphs.  While they were watching a movie at home, an entire chapter.  Now I write, whenever I want to.  Often the dishes just pile up in the sink, there will always be dishes to wash, but stories don't always stick around waiting for you to catch them in print.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out? 

I plan on having two books from my series “Celeste, Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch,” and “Angela, Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch,” and another book “Thrive Don't Just Survive,” published somewhere around the new year.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
   
I ALWAYS have a project on the back burner.  Remember that whole lifetime I have spent writing books in my head?  One that I am really looking forward to writing is “Haunted Love.”  I dreamed all of this novel in one night.  When I woke up and related the dream to my husband he said, “It sounds like a good book to me.”  Ghosts, romance, spies, and adorable children.  It will be a real page turner!

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?


My wonderful husband once said, “How will  you know if you are a writer if you never try?  Finish a book.  Publish a book!  How many people can say I've written a novel?”

***
Thank you, Vivian!
 
To contact Vivian you can find her at:
objoyful44.blogspot.com, driftinganchorranch.blogspot.com  (there are links on this blog to take you to lulu.com).  You can purchase the novel or electronic Nook format on lulu.com.  For Kindle format you can purchase my books at Amazon.com. Barnes & Noble also has an online site where you can purchase her books.

If you live in the Farmington area of Davis County (in Utah) you can buy her books ($3.00 cheaper and no shipping charges), at Aunt Addy's Country Cottage on Main Street.  It's a lovely gift shop with beautiful gifts, many of them handmade, and they are sold at extremely reasonable prices.  (Christmas is coming)!


 
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