I’m pleased to have author Vikki Walton from Colorado Springs here to speak about her writing and new release, the first of her Backyard Farmland cozy mystery series, Chicken Culprit, which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.
Hi, Vikki. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.
I published my first book in 2017. My first book is nonfiction. Work Quilting: Piece Together Diverse Income Streams; Live an Insanely Awesome Life. My first fiction book is Chicken Culprit which is the first in a series of backyard farming mysteries.
They both sound interesting. Tell us more about them.
My cozy mystery, Chicken Culprit, was released on March 1, 2018. The second book in the series is a WIP and is anticipated to come out late fall. I also have a women’s travel book I expect to release in April/May.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I love teaching and helping others. I do this through classes as well as through writing. I expect to continue that trend. Right now I have four mysteries in the “chain,” three nonfiction books and one novel. In the next few years I hope to help 1) people start doing the work they love and living the life of their dreams, and 2) write a good mystery series that people enjoy. Finally 3) I want to be a small cog in raising the status of self-publishing.
Those are worthy goals.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
My readers are primarily women and that is to whom I write. Work Quilting is for those who need some vocational and lifestyle guidance. My cozy mystery will appeal to those who enjoy the genre, small town life, and the aspects of backyard farming.
It seems you have your target audience well defined.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Write, write, write. b) Develop a thick skin and join a critique group. c) Read, read, read in your genre as well as outside your genre. d) Edit, edit, edit. Hire an editor. e) Know it will take longer and cost more than you think. f) Know that not everyone will like your writing. It’s okay. Move on. g) Call yourself a writer when you meet others. h) Celebrate milestones. i) Publish your work. j) Repeat.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I think the biggest struggle for any writer is wondering if they’re a decent writer. For me I came to the conclusion and contentment that I write simple stories in simple language. I won’t win any awards for my literary prose or my extensive lexicon. All I care is that people can easily read my book and enjoy it. So I can’t compare myself to anyone else. The second thing was making the time to write. My first mystery came about because my daughter had to write a novel in a month. To help her I wrote the draft of my mystery at the same time. This year I’ll be housesitting in Mexico and my focus is going to be getting the rough draft of the second book in the series complete.
My readers also tell me my books are easy to read, and I’m glad they find them so. I don’t believe cozies should be difficult to comprehend. They are more about characters and their interaction with one another and the mysteries in their plots.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
Yes, I’ve been involved in local ones and started one when I lived in Texas. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime.
I, too, am a member of that group. I’ve interviewed many other authors who are members also.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Probably way too many to list here but I’ll go with my favorites which are travel, gardening and hiking. I love to travel and have a travel site for women (www.girlswantago.com). I’m a certified permaculture designer and a suburban homesteader so my yard is all food forest guilds and gardens along with chickens. I’m also a bee guardian. I love walking and hiking and Colorado is perfect for getting outdoors. As for interests, there’s not much that doesn’t interest me to some extent and I’m a lifelong learner.
Wonderful. You have many varied interests which I’m sure helps you in your writing.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
There’s just something about holding your book in your hand and thinking “I did this.” Writing is hard work, editing harder, publishing still harder and marketing excruciating. The best part is visualizing the story, the worst part is all the rest.
LOL. I totally agree. You’ve summed up my feelings and, I believe of other authors, very well.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
Cozies have always been my favorite genre. I like how authors all create fun stories around specific themes whether that is a craft, a setting, animals or other theme. I wanted to create a theme around backyard farming and my interests. I didn’t realize that it would be so fun for me to create this world. I want to go visit there!
I share that feeling, too. I’d love to travel to Cobble Cove and spend time on Cove Point or in the Cobble Cove Library and town shops.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
Anne yawned and stretched her hands over her head. She unlocked the kitchen window, taking in a deep breath of crisp Colorado air and sighed loudly. No longer would she have to deal with divorce lawyers or Duke. She could finally live her life as she saw fit.
Anne surveyed her domain. Even though boxes cluttered every available space, it didn’t matter to her. What she cared about was that it was all hers. While the work ahead might seem daunting, the prospect of transforming the old Victorian house didn’t deter Anne.
She poured herself a cup of coffee, both hands cradling the mug, before deciding to drink it out on the back porch. Rays of sunshine had risen about the copse at the back of her property, and its golden warmth welcomed the day. Raising the mug to her mouth, Anne took a much-needed sip of the hot morning brew.
“Stop! Stop!” A woman’s voice carried over from the other yard.
Anne sloshed coffee onto her chambray shirt. “Shoot!” She set her cup down on the railing. The liquid turning cold began seeping onto her skin.
“Stop!” The piercing scream came again.
Nice excerpt. Thank you.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
Authors are real people We hope you like our books and are honored when you write us a glowing review. We also understand that our stories or writing style may not be your cup of tea. If that’s the case, please shoot me an email and I’ll see if its something I need to consider changing in my book or doing in the next book. If I don’t like a book I won’t post a one, two or three star review. It has to be something that has a lot of issues for me to do that.
That’s an important message to readers.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
Pinterest: Havensteader and girlswantago
It’s been great chatting with you, Vikki. Best of luck with your series and future releases. I’m including a link to your rafflecopter for those who wish to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792698/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0