Victorine E. Lieske is a phenomenon: a self-published, indie author, who sold thousands of copies of her debut novel, Not What She Seems, and made the New York Times Bestseller List for eBook Fiction.
I met Vicki on Kindleboards, my fave forum. She is always kind and polite (unlike me--sometimes the ex-New Yorker kicks in) and helpful to other writers. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for Vicki's new release, The Overtaking, the first book in a series that combines science fiction with romance. I loved the book.
I wanted to ask Vicki a few questions, and she's been kind enough to answer them. This is the first interview I'm posting in a series called: 5 Questions
Please welcome my guest, Victorine Lieske:
It's funny because The Overtaking was a story I had started working on quite a long time ago, when I was first married. Like many things, I started the book, got a few pages in, and then got busy with other things. It never went anywhere. After having some success with Not What She Seems I dusted off the old beginning and took a look at it. It was horrible. I tossed the whole thing. However, I liked the concept, which was basically to have a population of people who didn't remember who they really were. I couldn't really take this concept and change it to a contemporary romance, so I added in the romance into the science fiction background.
If you're talking from when the concept started, I suppose it took fifteen years to write. However, from when I threw out the old and really started working on it in earnest, I'd say it took eight months. The process was very different, because when I wrote Not What She Seems I wrote the first draft in one week, not knowing what I was doing, and then took four years to learn about writing and how to tell a good story. The part that took the longest was submitting chapters to a critique group and critiquing others. I submitted one chapter a week, and probably critiqued twelve other people per chapter that I submitted. And I did do this with the entire novel, twice. After doing all that, I found myself with the proper tools to write a much cleaner first draft of The Overtaking.
3) How does your own life experience influence the stories you write?
I think my life experience really does influence what I write. I'm a picky reader, and I like to be on the edge of my seat as I read, so that's what I aim for as I write. I also like romance in the books I read, but the characters have to have tension in their relationship, and I only like reading clean romances. All of these things reflect how I am in real life, and what I like to take in, from the television shows that I watch to the movies I go see.
4) I also read, recently, that you may be writing short stories. In the past, I believe I read that you aren’t a fan of the short story form. What has made you change you point of view?
You're right, I feel very inept when it comes to short story writing. I'm not a huge short story reader, and writing them seems intimidating. However, there's a story that won't leave me alone, but I'm not sure I can flesh it out to a full length novel. So it's sort of an experiment for me to see if I can write a shorter work and be satisfied with it. Although it might turn into a novella or a novelette instead of a short story.
5) What is the greatest disappointment you have had as a writer, and what did you learn from that experience?
My greatest disappointment came after finishing the first draft of Not What She Seems, and then seeking approval from other authors that what I had written was good. I was lucky to find some very kind and honest authors who guided me in the decision to join a critique group and try to work on my writing. Of course I was disappointed that they didn't love what I had written, and didn't give me the praise I was seeking. But that's also the best thing that could have happened to me. I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote the novel, and looking back at it I'm glad for the guidance I received.
The Overtaking is currently available as an eBook for $2.99