A few fun facts about my guest, Vickie McDonough.
1. She is a triple finalist in the ACFW Carol Award
2. She is married with four boys and her favorite color is green.
3. When it comes to snacking…popcorn and chex mix are her favorites.
Romance and adventure sure go great together. When did you know that you wanted to write romance novels?
I’ve loved reading Christian romance novels ever since I discovered them back in the 1980s, when they first started being published, but I never dreamed I’d write one. I honestly believe that God “shoved” me into the writing field. One day, a story idea started running through my head and wouldn’t go away. The story kept growing and developing, and it got to where it was affecting my sleep, and I was only getting about 5 hours sleep a night. I thought that if I wrote the story down, it might go away and leave me alone. It did, but right on its heals came another idea. I wrote that whole book too, and then began to wonder if God was trying to get my attention.
After talking with my husband and praying, I felt writing was the direction God was leading me at this time in my life. I had hated English class way back in school, so I pretty much had to learn everything about writing. I jumped in with both feet and joined ACFW (American Christian Fictions Writers) and some local writers groups, took local and online classes, read books and listened to tapes, and attended writers conferences whenever I could. Writing Christian romance was an easy choice since I love reading them. I also like exciting books with lots of adventure and try hard to make my books adventurous. My brand emphasizes that: An Adventure into Romance
Vickie, you have been a busy lady writing up a storm because you have not one, but two books coming out in September. Can you tell us about each of the books?
Sure! Second Chance Brides is the sequel to The Anonymous Bride and the second book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. It tells the story of two mail-order brides who were losers in a bride contest to determine who would marry the town marshal. (The Anonymous Bride). Neither woman can return home, and both are stuck in a small Texas town without any means of support. They must find a job or find another man to marry. Both women hope to marry for love, but will desperation force them to settle for less than the best?
Something cool, The Anonymous Brides has received 31 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order—and just in time for Christmas. Annika arrives in Wyoming to discover her intended is missing. Jolie’s journey to Nevada is derailed by disaster. Elizabeth carries a load of secrets to Nebraska. And Amelia travels to California to wrap up her final attempts at matchmaking. Will the holiday season be the ticket to spark love in unexpected ways?
The other three authors in this collection are Susan Page Davis, Therese Stenzel, and Carrie Turansky.
So how many books do you tend to write in a year? Have you ever experienced writer’s block or a mental drought where you struggled to come up with new plot ideas?
That all depends on how many contracts I have and what the deadlines are. I generally have more time for a longer book than I do for a novella. I think the most I’ve written in one year was four Heartsongs, which are shorter novels, and two novellas.
Sometimes I do struggle with mental drought (love that term) and finding new ideas. For drought, I’ll usually call up a writing buddy and do some brainstorming, bouncing ideas back and forth. It often helps me look at a situation from a different angle.
For new plot ideas, research is what helps me the most. I read true-life stories of pioneers or study a specific location and find something interesting to write about, which was especially true with my North Dakota series, when I discovered a French marquis, who had a vision to ship refrigerated beef back east in 1883. The Marquis DeMores started a small town and named it Medora, after his wife, and it’s still around today, as is his 26-room home and many of his personal belongings. I set a 3-book series in and around Medora. Research can lead you off on many exciting adventures.
Do you think non-writers have a misconception about what it’s like to be a writer? If so, what is the most common misconception that you have encountered?
Yes, most non-writers have no idea how much work writing is. They often think because you’ve sold a book that you’re making a ton of money or that you lead a glamorous life, when you’re actually sitting at home in your pjs tapping away on your laptop for hours at a time. I’ve also had nice Christian (older) ladies tell me there’s no such thing as Christian fiction.
On the flip side, there are definite perks to writing. I love the research trips and attending conferences and being able to deduct those from my taxes. Probably the best thing about writing is all the friends I’ve made in the Christian fiction writing world. Also, there’s a great satisfaction in knowing that after I’m long gone from this earth, my books will still be circulating, and hopefully, entertaining readers and inspiring them in their faith.
I have often blogged about my quirky habits. What quirky writing habits do you have?
Hmm. . .I can’t think of anything particularly related to writing, unless you count writing in my pjs and house shoes in my recliner. This might count as a quirky thing, when I autograph my books, I like to use green ink. Oh, and I love using all different kinds of sticky notes and would much rather go in an office supply store than to go shopping for clothes. I like to munch ice, especially from Sonic. And just so you know, Sharon, all my clothes in my closet face the same direction too. 🙂
Has there ever been a time in your writing life when you felt like giving up? What made you keep going?
My friends will laugh at this question. They tease me that every time I think about quitting writing and say I’m going to get a regular job, I get another contract.
There’s a lot of insecurity with writers, even ones who have been writing for decades. Few writers are guaranteed to have “the next” contract. You don’t know if your editor will hate your book and require massive rewrites or decide to choose another author’s proposal over yours. I think I struggle with giving up less these days than I used to. I believe writing Christian fiction is what God has for me for this time in my life, and that’s what keeps me going in the hard times.