Friday, September 10, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH VICKIE MCDONOUGH
I am delighted to welcome Vickie McDonough to my blog today. Vickie is a fellow Oklahoman, a good friend, and a collaborator on the Christmas anthology, Wild West Christmas.
As far as I know, you have written historical romance exclusively. What draws you to that genre?
Women of the Old West had to be tough and resourceful to survive, and I enjoy reading their stories. I’ve always loved horses, and as a kid and young teen, I read any book I could find that had a horse on the cover. Also, my dad and I watched the westerns of the late 1960s and early ’70s, and I suppose it was then that I fell in love with ranchers and cowboys. Also, as I discovered Christian fiction in the 1980's, I gravitated toward historicals with western settings. It’s still my favorite genre to read, and I guess it just comes natural that I’d write historicals.
I do have a contemporary book out: A Wagonload of Trouble, which is a Heartsong Presents novel, and I’m also in a contemporary novella in a collection called Kiss the Cook Bride.
Earlier this year (April 25) I reviewed The Anonymous Bride, the first book in the Texas Boardinghouse series. What inspired these stories?
I was searching for a new book idea, and asked myself a question:
What if a mail-order bride arrived in town to marry a man who never ordered a bride?
Then I took it a step further and asked: What if three women arrived to marry the same man?
I wondered how such a thing might feasibly happen, and the story kept growing until The Anonymous Bride was birthed. It just made sense that in future books, I let readers know what happened to the mail-order brides who didn’t get married.
You had the unique privilege of an editor approaching you about writing longer books. Did you have any plans for longer books?
Yes, I had hoped to one day move into writing longer books and am very grateful for the opportunities Barbour Publishing has given me.
What adjustments did you have to make between writing Heartsong length novels (45-50K) and writing trade length books?
In The Anonymous Bride, I told the main story, but I also let readers see the mail-order brides in their normal lives before they came to Lookout(my fictional town) and once they arrived, so that gave me several extra points-of-view, which increased my word count. In Second Chance Brides and Finally A Bride, I had two plot lines going that wove in and around each other. Basically, there’s more to the story and you can developed situations better in a longer book.
What are you currently working on?
I just turned in Finally A Bride, book 3 in my series and then I completed copy edits on a South Carolina historical called Mutiny of the Heart. It’s the first in a Heartsong series and releases in December. Next, I’ll be writing the second book in the SC series, which is called Indigo Dreams.
What has been your most satisfactory experience as a writer?
It’s hugely rewarding to see my books in print and to know that after I’m gone, my books will still be circulating and hopefully touching people’s hearts. Something I didn’t anticipate when I first became a writer was all the friends I’d make in the writing world, like you, Darlene. I’ve been blessed to get to know some of my favorite authors and have made some very dear friends.
I know what you mean. I've been privileged to be one of your friends. Julia Cameron talks about the concept of “artist dates” in her book, The Artist’s Way. What are some things you do to revitalize and reenergize your writer’s soul?
I definitely pray a lot that God will give me creativity and allow my books to touch hearts. I’m almost always reading a book. I love to go to movies and watch my favorite shows on TV. I tend to get all kinds of ideas when I’m in the shower.
In what ways has your success changed you, both personally and as a writer?
I think writing and getting published has given me more self-confidence. A long time ago, I went through some difficult things that left me wounded and feeling almost worthless. When I first started writing, I didn’t know if I could even finish a book. Then I did and wondered if I had it in me to write another one. Honestly, I still wonder that every time I start a book, but now I have the assurance that I’ve done it in the past, so I can do it again, with God’s help.
The added income has enabled me to fix some things around the house and to be able to travel more, which is something I never got to do much and always wanted to. I’ve gone on a number of research trips and been able to attend some out-of-state conferences like the ACFW one, which I attend every year.
Other than that, I don’t think writing has changed me much. I’m still scared to death if I have to get up in front of a group and talk. I’m still primary caregiver for my mom and babysit my granddaughter. Still mom to four mostly grown-up boys, and as of October, I’ll have been married 35 years to a sweet computer geek.
Is there any aspect of writing that hasn’t changed much?
I still have to work hard. Have to keep thinking up new ideas. There are no guarantees in the writing world, so I have to keep trusting God to open doors.
How do you stay inspired as a writer, when the daily grind threatens to wear you down?
Prayer helps a lot. I ask God for strength to keep going, especially in the rough times.
Deadlines are a powerful motivator. I’ve never been late for a deadline before, so that motivates me to keep working, to get my book finished, and turned in on time.
Take-out food is my friend, and I’m grateful that my family doesn’t whine about eating pizza when I don’t have time to cook. Brainstorming with my friends is a huge help when I get bogged down and need to look at a story from a different angles.
Did I mention prayer?
What can readers expect to see next from you?
Second Chance Brides releases this month, followed by Finally a Bride, the last book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, next April. I’m also in a Christmas novella collection called Christmas Mail Order Brides, which also releases this month. Next comes my historical South Carolina series from Heartsong Presents. I have a couple of other things in the works but can’t talk about them yet.
Where can people find you on the internet?
My website is www.vickiemcdonough.com
I’m also a regular contributor to a western-themed Christian blog called Bustles and Spurs. www.bustlesandspurs.com
I’m putting together a email mailing list for a newsletter, which I hope to start soon. If anyone would like to be on the list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here with your email address.
Darlene, thanks so much for letting stop me by and be a guest on your blog.
**REMINDER: LEAVE A COMMENT ON ANY POSTS THIS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF DARLENE'S BOOKS, AS WELL AS SECOND CHANCE BRIDES BY VICKIE. THE MORE COMMENTS YOU LEAVE, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES.**