Welcome Victoria! I enjoyed reading Three Weeks Last Spring. The characters were so interesting and I could not get enough of them! Sit back and relax while Victoria not only shares more about the story I mentioned above but just maybe a few secrets about herself as well.
Were there any parts in the book that you found difficult to write?
Yes, the scene where Walker is rescued from the waters of Puget Sound. Fortunately, having worked for the National Health Service here in the UK, I already had a thorough knowledge of medical terminology, which helped enormously when searching the Internet for information about the effects of cold water immersion. I also needed information on military search and rescue techniques, and found both the US Navy and the Royal Airforce websites very helpful.
Did you find a favorite character in writing this story?
Actually, there are two. Joe McCabe and Skye’s friend Debbie. Although they are only minor characters, they are essential to the plot. McCabe and Walker met in university and have a strong friendship, as well as a good working relationship. McCabe knows that if anyone can find out who is responsible for dumping chemicals illegally, it is his old friend Jedediah Walker.
At the start of the novel Skye is vulnerable. I felt she needed a strong minded friend. However, I didn’t want that friend to be someone who lived round the corner—someone Skye could drop in on and have a cup of coffee with, so I came up with the idea of giving her an American girl friend. The two have holidayed together, but Debbie is quite savvy when it comes to the American male psyche, whereas Skye has major trust issues.
I feel they both have great potential for further development, and could easily become major characters in future stand-alone novels.
In your research, was there something you learned that you found fascinating?
Yes, I became fascinated by the setting, and in particular with the San Juan Islands. It may surprise you to know, that I had never visited Friday Harbor until September 2007! Previously, my travels had taken me to such places as Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Dayton Ohio, New Paris, Indiana, and Shreveport, Louisiana. The San Juan Islands were somewhere I have always wanted to visit. I would love to rent a cabin, as Skye did, and spend time exploring the islands.
When you were done writing this book, did you wish you could continue it?
Yes. In fact, I was discussing this with a writing colleague only yesterday. I’ve often thought there is potential for at least one stand-alone sequel. I think Skye and Walker would assume more minor roles, perhaps as part of a subplot, with McCabe. Over the coming months I plan on exploring the possibilities, and hopefully working on a suitable plot.
Were you stuck somewhere in writing this book and how were you able to resolve it?
Odd, that you should ask this question. I actually started writing Three Weeks Last Spring, while living in Scotland. I wrote the first three chapters and then moved to South Yorkshire, in England. The manuscript was boxed away while I settled into my new life. And there it stayed for a couple years, until one day I happened to mention to a work colleague that I had started writing a book. She asked to be allowed to read the manuscript, and after much pleading on her part, I finally agreed. If it hadn’t been for her encouragement and that of other friends, Three Weeks Last Spring would still be languishing in a box in the attic.
Do you write in silence or do you have music you like to listen to?
On the whole I prefer not to listen to music when writing. I find it too distracting. However, there are occasions when it helps to free the muse. I prefer to listen to mainly instrumental CD’s, such as Kenny G, Sam Riney, Jonathan Cain, and John Barry to mention a few.
Is there something you can share that we do not know about you?
I was born in Liverpool, home of the Beatles and I remember them playing a gig in the local club. They were still relatively unknown at that time.
In your experience as a writer, how have you dealt with rejections?
I suppose the same as any other writer—I try not to take it too personally. Of course it hurts. I would be lying if I said it didn’t. But you have to remember, the editor isn’t rejecting the author personally, merely showing the author that his or her manuscript simply isn’t right for that publishing house, at that time.
The publishing industry is fickle, and there are any number of reasons why a manuscript is rejected. For example, you may have submitted your manuscript to an editor who only buys paranormal fiction, and you write romance, or the editor has already spent their budget for that quarter.
I file away the letter. I then get out my copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book and look for another publisher/agent who accepts submissions for romantic suspense. I go through my manuscript again to ensure I’ve not overlooked anything. I write a query letter aimed specifically at that publishing house or agent and send it off, ensuring that my manuscript is formatted as per their guidelines. If they ask for a synopsis and the first fifty pages, then that is what I send them, nothing more, nothing less.
Editors and agents are busy people. They don’t want a synopsis on flowery pink paper in a fancy font. They want something that is easy to read, so my advice is always to follow the submission guidelines.
Right now is there anything exciting going on in your world as a writer?
Yes. I have recently finished my second novel, set in the Highlands of Scotland, and have been submitting it to agents. One agent has suggested I make a few changes, which I am in the process of doing. When these are complete, I shall re-submit the manuscript to her.
About a month ago I finished outlining the plot for a third, as yet unnamed novel, which will be set in the steamy heat of Florida. It’s very early days, but I’ve just about completed my research, and have developed the characters. I hope to start writing in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your world with me. I really appreciate it and know readers of this interview will appreciate it too. It has been a privilege.