Welcome to Coffee Times Romance! Are you ready for some romance? Romance from the sassy side? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m talking to Vicki Batman, master of short and sassy romance. We’re talking about her recent release, Little Birdie Who…and Other Stories. Welcome, Vicki!
First, let me state that I’m in awe of anybody who writes shorts. I mean, a whole story with believable characters in the same number of pages some writers use for a chapter or two! Is this a conscious decision on your part to write short stories or is that something that happens naturally for you?
Thanks, Gail, for the compliment. When my critique partner asked me to look at six of her shorts, something strange happened. I think it was osmosis because next thing I knew, I began churning out story after story. I haven't stopped! I'd written three books (not yet published) and committing to another year to write a new one wasn't appealing at the time. I'd begun traveling with Handsome after he recovered from cancer and needed a break. Shorts work for me.
They're in and out and no sagging middle. I toss in some fun dialogue and humor. My greatest hope is people will not avoid the stories because they are "short."
Well, if they ever read the first one, they’re hooked. Trust me. One thing that struck me was that all three of the stories in Little Birdie Who are written in first person. Are most of your stories in first person? And why?
Yes, I love writing in first person! I like the intimacy, and frankly, it is natural for me. I've written one book in third. Some people complain about first person pov and I'm like why? Lots of mysteries are written in first.
I’ve never understood that, why some people don’t like first person. I love it myself. And believe that there’re some stories that scream for first person, just as there are others that couldn’t be told any way other than third person. Another thing I loved about the three stories in Birdie is that romance bloomed in some strange and diverse situations. Is that Vicki Batman’s philosophy of life and love? That romance blossoms at the strangest times and places?
Romance blossoms when you least expect it-right? I used to say go to every party, event, etc. you're invited to because you never know who you might meet. Maybe more of the Life is an Adventure philosophy-Go. Do. Live.
It comes through in your work. Trust me. Okay, personal curiosity’s got me. Your bio says you’re married to “Handsome” and have two big boys. Considering the circumstances in which your heroines feel the first tinges of “possibility” – how’d you meet Handsome? Has that made its way into any of your stories yet?
LOL. I wrote the Handsome and How We Met story for True Romance. Here's a quick version: His co-worker and I lived in the same apartment complex. Our friend was supposed to go to the movies with me, but I knew he'd had too much fun in the sun and went to check on him. While we were chatting, Handsome showed, concerned he'd interrupted "something." I told him about the movie thing and how that wasn't working which was fine. Then our friend blurted out, "You take her." I said he didn't have to, but Handsome said he would. He picked me up, wearing a flannel shirt which I wondered about in hot May. I did all the talking.
Six weeks later, I'm throwing a surprise party for my girlfriend. Handsome called, wanting to know if I had plans. Being the nice person I am, I invited him to the party. He showed wearing a sweater…in July. My cousin, college chum, and another girlfriend all took me aside and said I should date him. I thought they were crazy, mostly because of the clothing issue. (I later found out he traveled a lot and had a four-foot mound of dirty clothes in his closet.) Anyway, Handsome persisted, and I let him carry me along. Good move on my part.
The sweater in May and July made it in a story. And sometimes, he says the oddest things and they go in. But that's true for almost anyone. Ideas are everywhere. lol
Aren’t they though? Your bio also sports a long list of past jobs, including but not limited to: ride attendant at an amusement park, hardware store, department store, antique store clerk, administrative assistant at an international real estate firm, “Gal Friday” at a financial services store. Other than being a writer, which no writer really has much control over, we’re kind of born that way, what was your favorite job out of that long list? Tell us about it! And how many plots came out of it?
Like everyone, I've loved different things at different times. I loved working at an amusement park and am still close to many friends I met there. That is background for the heroine in my (unpublished) romantic mystery. The antique store was a blast. Same heroine works in one in (unpublished) Book 2. I adored working as an assistant buyer in the men's division of a local department store chain.
They say writer's put experience in their books. I'd say I do. LOL.
I'm not so sure about plots as much as background, setting, and characters. They definitely show in my work.
Yes, they do. They make it very real. What was your least favorite of all those jobs? And how many plots came out of it?
The insurance company was my least favorite. I was the assistant to the new marketing guy. The old-timer and his assistant disliked us from the get-go. The pay was crappy, but I got a lot of good stuff from that job which filtered into the books.
No writer ever wastes any experience. I know you’re very active in a great group of bloggers and writers known as the Plotting Princesses. What have the Plotting Princesses meant to you as a writer?
A group of us gather to plot, critique, eat, and socialize two times a year. One of us began referring to our group as Plotting Princesses. Something hit my head and I thought what if we band together? It has been awesome. There is so much talent there--award winning authors, GH finalists, indie published. Everyone helps each other. Whenever I have a need, they are there for me like I am for them. To quote WANA: we are not alone.
And isn’t that just the greatest thing? To have a group of true friends? What’s next for Vicki Batman? More shorts? Or is there a longer work, a novella or a novel, just out of sight there over the horizon that we can look forward to?
Working on publishing another short story now-San Diego or Bust. Getting critiques on a holiday short, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off.
I have a few things on the computer I haven't sold. Just waiting and watching. Probably do another collection similar to Man Theory and Other Stories and Little Birdie Who… and Other Stories for next February.
And I still submit my books. They'll find a good home one day. J
They absolutely will! And we’ll all be there to greet them! I know anyone who grabs a copy of this collection of shorts will enjoy the stories as much as I did. Drop back in at Coffee Times whenever you have a chance! The coffee’s always brewing over here at Coffee Times. And you never know who you’ll meet next!