My first book, CROWN OF ICE, written as Vicki L. Weavil, was published in Sept. 2014. It is a fantasy – actually a fairytale retelling of H. C. Andersen’s The Snow Queen. I republished that title, as well as its companion title, SCEPTER OF FIRE – a “mash-up” retelling of Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Steadfast Tin Soldier – as books one and two in the Mirror of Immortality Series in the spring of 2017 with my self-publishing co-op, Snowy Wings Publishing.
I also had a YA scifi – FACSIMILE, written as Vicki L. Weavil — that was published in 2016, but that book is currently out-of-print.
My first mystery, which was written as Victoria Gilbert, is A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS. It was published in December 2017 by Crooked Lane Books.
Very nice. It’s great that you’re experienced writing different genres.
Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
The Blue Ridge Library Mystery series is a three-book series. (It may include additional books, but I’m waiting to hear about that).
Book One, A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS, was published in hardback and eBook by Crooked Lane Books on December 12, 2017. The audiobook version from Tantor Media released in April, and the paperback edition was published by Crooked Lane on June 12th.
Book Two, SHELVED UNDER MURDER, was published in hardback and eBook by Crooked Lane – along with the audiobook from Tantor – on July 10th. The paperback edition will release in Jan. 2019.
Book Three, PAST DUE FOR MURDER, will be published in hardback and eBook by Crooked Lane in Feb. 2019, along with its accompanying audiobook from Tantor. There will also be a paperback edition that will be published later.
These sound like great books. As a librarian and also an author of a series featuring a librarian, I think I’d enjoy reading these.
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 simply want to keep writing until the day I die. Hopefully that will include publication of all the books I write! Over the next few years I hope to develop, write, and publish additional cozy and/or light mysteries, as well as to continue my current series (if my publisher requests more books). To accomplish that goal, I plan to write at least two books a year, work on enhancing my promotional efforts, attend pertinent conferences and conventions, and keep improving my craft.
Those are great goals. I’d love to meet you at a conference one day.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
As I am a very eclectic reader myself, I would be happy to attract anyone who enjoys reading.
As far as who might be most interested in my books, I would say anyone who likes cozy or light mysteries, anyone interested in a small-town setting in a mystery, anyone who enjoys some (clean) romance in their books, and anyone who likes historical mysteries mixed in with contemporary crime-solving.
Now I’m sure I’d be interested in your books.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Experiment and try new things, especially if you are feeling “stuck” or unfulfilled with where you are now. I started out in one genre, and while I did get published in that genre, I discovered that my real strengths as a writer lay elsewhere. Experimenting with writing mysteries, a genre I always loved but wasn’t certain I could write successfully, opened up a new world to me. I learned that my style and interests fit the mystery genre – something I would never have known if I hadn’t attempted to write in a new and different genre.
That’s a great tip.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
To be honest, I faced more challenges AFTER being first published than before. I really don’t wish to go into details about that, but I will say that all my experiences have taught me a great deal about the publishing business, which I think is always beneficial.
I feel the same. You learn so much after you publish. It’s like on-the-job training compared to going to school.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I am a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. I am also involved in my local Sisters in Crime chapter, Murder We Write.
You belong to most of my own groups except for Mystery Writers of America and the Murder We Write chapter of Sisters in Crime. I joined the Guppie chapter because I don’t have an agent or large publisher yet. I may look into the Murder We Write chapter, too, if I’m eligible to be a member.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love reading, of course. I also enjoy gardening, walking, traveling, drawing and painting, listening to music, attending theatre and dance performances, and watching films.
You have a nice variety of interests that I’m sure also help you with your writing.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
What I like most is the creative process and bringing my characters to life. I also enjoy developing plots and honing my words into something that can make me feel proud. (Even though my writing is never perfect and I am still learning). In addition, I love hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books.
My toughest challenge, and what I like least, is promotion. I am not a natural salesperson so dealing with the marketing aspects of the business are much more of a challenge for me than the creative side.
I think most writers feel the same. I know I do.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
As someone who is not fond of reading books that include graphic violence, language, or sex, I enjoy writing in a genre that doesn’t include those things. I also enjoy being able to focus on characters and everyday life while still being able to include action and adventure. In addition, cozies are fun – something I think we need more of in this world.
I totally agree. As a librarian, even though I need to order books that contain the elements you mentioned, I steer away from them for my own reading because I find they detract from the plot.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
From: SHELVED UNDER MURDER by Victoria Gilbert:
The rest of the body was revealed as we stepped around the table. Crumpled on her side, with her knees drawn up in a defensive posture, was a middle-aged woman. Her eyes were closed and her thin face partially veiled by locks of curly dark hair. I gripped Richard’s fingers tighter. As my mind attempted to process the scene, I noticed that the fingertips of the artist’s other hand brushed a palette knife that glistened as if it had been soaked in the oil and wiped clean.
The woman lay there so quietly, it was as if she were merely napping. For a moment I could imagine her grasping the knife and rising to her feet to resume work on the canvas sitting on the easel. But the crimson stains blossoming like roses against her white painter’s smock told another story.
Rachel LeBlanc would not finish her latest work. In fact, she would never complete a painting again.
Intriguing excerpt. Thank you.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I would like them to know that I am happy to engage with readers on social media or via my website contact form and would also love to talk to them if we meet at any conferences, signings, or related events. So readers – don’t hesitate to connect with me!
I’m adding your social media links below to help readers find you and also the rafflecopter link to your blog tour. Thanks again for the interview, and I wish you the best of luck on your new release and future books and series.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/