New Releases List

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Writer's Brain: Victorine Lieske

I'm going to be doing some interviews with some of the more successful indie writers. To start, I'm honored to have the always gracious Victorine Lieske, one of the first and most enduring indie superstars, whose book, Not What She Seems has sold over 100,000 books and continues to sell thousands of copies more than a year after its release.

When I began, I quickly discovered that in addition to being a fine writer and a savvy marketer, Vicki was a great person as well, always willing to help her fellow writers with advice and encouragement. I started a pricing experiment in February to draw attention to The Righteous, which I called The Victorine Method, as it was drawing on her experience with Not What She Seems.

Michael: How long have you been writing? Is writing a calling for you, or did you fall into it by accident?

Vicki: I’ve been writing for about 5 years now. I was an avid reader growing up. Loving books as I did, I always thought it would be cool to write a novel. But I didn’t have the time, and I didn’t make the time, until I injured my back and had nothing else to do. Why not write that novel I had always wanted to write? (I’m that way, I kind of jump into things with both feet.) I wrote the first draft of that book, Not What She Seems, in one week. I didn’t know anything about writing, so it took four years of research, critiques and revising to make that into something good. I was shocked when that book took off and sold over 100,000 copies and made the New York Times best seller list. I didn’t really think of myself as a writer, it was just something I did for fun.

Michael: What is the work you are most proud of having written? Is there a particular scene, chapter or POV that you found especially challenging?

Vicki: The Overtaking was more of a challenge for me to write. There are people in the book who can read minds. It was difficult to show what the character was thinking, what he heard others think, what people were saying and what their faces were showing without confusing the reader. I had to play around with it a bit before I felt like I was on track with it.

Michael: What do you hope they will take away from reading your books?

Vicki: My main goal while writing is to make the reader not want to put the book down. I try to build suspense and throw in clues to the mysteries of what’s going on and string the reader along. I’ve never tried to put a huge philosophical or metaphysical message in my work. It’s all about entertainment for me.

Michael: What would you like to accomplish as a writer? Do you have any specific goals?

Vicki: I would love to be able to live on my writing. I enjoy doing it and I know people are waiting for my next book. I manufacture rubber stamps for a living. It’s very fun but time consuming. If I could hire people to take care of my business and write full time I would love it.

Michael: What is your writing process? Do you write by outlines or fly by the seat of your pants?

Vicki: I’m definitely a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I tried to outline but couldn’t get a grasp on what I wanted to have happen because I didn’t know how the conversations would go. I wanted the characters to be able to drive the conversations and the situations forward. Without knowing what they were going to say or how they would react to things, I wasn’t sure what would happen next. So I threw them into the situations and they did all the work for me.

Michael: When you start a new book, do you like to talk about it with friends and family or keep it to yourself?

Vicki: I will share it with anyone who wants to know. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m annoying to be around while I’m working on a project. I’m always sending out my stuff to my mom, and then changing scenes as I go, so I’m sure by the time I send it to her again she’s confused. I’m trying to get better at this, and only sharing stuff if I’m pretty certain I won’t be switching around major things in the book.

Books by Victorine Lieske:


1 comment:

  1. Great interview! Vicki's definitely been a trailblazer. I love seeing success from people who are genuinely nice and who love to give back--like Vicki.