Please welcome Victoria Pinder to my blog.
Have you had other careers, Victoria, before becoming a writer?
Yes. I worked in engineering at VERIZON (okay, New England Tel which became NYNEX which became Bell Atlantic which became VERIZON). I worked there in high school through post college, full time. I worked and went to school full time. At age 24 I was overworked and hit a mid life crisis if you will. (I was such the overachiever at this age. Did I mention I graduated from Harvard, and during 9/11 I had to pull 80 hour weeks at work to restore service while not letting my studies fall.) I decided I had enough and went to law school. The thing is at law school, I knew I did not want to be a lawyer, but I signed those damn student loan papers. HUGE mistake. I finished, not knowing what else to do. But I couldn’t be a lawyer. My energy was being sucked out of my body. I became a school teacher with the intention of moving out of Florida with a transferable certificate, then set up somewhere new. This was the plan. But all my life to escape, I told stories. I posted fan fictions. Writing calmed me when nothing else did. In teaching, which is a fun job, I realized I’d be a hypocrite if I don’t follow my own passions.
How did you get started writing?
I am going with the professional here. I wrote a manuscript, then googled what to do in the literary world. I saw in Orlando RWA Nationals was going to be there. My book was romance, and thought that would be a good place to start. LOL, I jumped right into the fire. But I love the journey this started and my local chapter.
I know you write in more than one genre. Tell us about that experience.
Greta Buckle writes Science Fiction and Fantasy; Victoria Pinder writes Contemporary romance. I have two different personalities going on. Growing up, I read science fiction and went to every movie and convention. I grew up talking to my father about the books he loved to read. Hard science fiction is my first love. Then as a teenager, my best friend, Christine, had a love affair going on with regency romance. She still reads them. I read her books to talk with her, and I loved them. I moved to contemporaries to read in addition, though she stuck with historicals. I consider romance my ‘oh look I am a girl after all’ books, and stories with Happy Ever After are the best.
I agree! What is your next project and when will it be released?
My publisher of contemporary called me last week and there is a regime change going on there. My book, Two Weeks In Miami, publication date was pushed back till spring as people are more patriotic over the summer. Makes sense. Bobby is a Marine Officer. They have the second in the series and I’m writing the third now. I will hear soon on that. Out of my control.
I have my science fiction romance out on submissions at the moment, so hopefully I’ll hear back on that soon. Space Opera Romance is so genre specific, and there are not that many publishers in that area. I should have word on that one in March or early April. If not I’ll indie pub it. I’m cool with that option though I prefer to work with people.
Now the sequel to Mything You will be out end of April or Early May. I’m combing over the book, sending it to my editor, we’ll do two rounds. Then it will be out.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Discounting everything else, it’s the freedom and the ability to create something. I love it.
Me too. How does your family feel about your writing career?
One sister reads everything and loves romance. She’s the best help as she can be specific on what she likes and doesn’t like. She’s a Scorpio and won’t lie to me with the ‘oh that’s nice.’ My brother, also a Scorpio, is the one with business advice and general ‘get it done’ attitude. My other sister was the English major and never wrote anything for publication, though I guess I jacked her plan. Whenever she does do it though, I’m sure it will be much darker than my worlds. My mother has never read anything I wrote, and my father.. err… I don’t want to give him my books. Romance is not science fiction and I’m the daughter.
Interesting! What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
After your first book, do not just jump into the water the day after you finish. It’s not done or ready. There is work to do. Join a writing group. Get active in the community. Learn how to make it better. Talk to the professionals who do make their living at the profession. Old school method was get an agent. Sell to the big houses. But with the market in turmoil, those with drive to push ahead, should. Just do it right. Look at it as a business. Editing is key. Hire people. Run a business.
I think that’s great advice, Victoria. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions?
Emotion. In life I tend to seek to avoid emotion. It’s a coping mechanism. I heard a navy officer tell us the difference between fearlessness and bravery is facing the fears. Fearlessness gets you killed. In battle, I could go either way, as I don’t enjoy facing my fears. Avoidance is easier. In writing, I’m forced to face whatever fears the characters have. For me, this is hard. I’d so rather world build then layer emotional intensity. When I do face the emotion, everything is better. The story is better.
Was your road to publication difficult or a walk in the park?
Anyone in this market who says it’s easy hasn’t examined all avenues. Or they are amazingly lucky or that book is so awesome. I’ve never sold my first manuscript. I have well over a 100 rejections. Probably closer to 200. I don’t like to count, but I have the folder that tells you how many documents are there. I learn from my mistakes though, or hope I do. Perseverance is the key, and I’m so not there yet.
Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
Let’s see, this is out Feb 13th. I’ll talk about my Valentine Novella which I had people asking for a sequel where Beth faces down Loretta. More holidays are coming for Beth and Nathan. So let’s talk about Nathan Sommers in Returning for Valentine’s.
He’s been in love with Beth for a long time. He didn’t always know it, but her kiss at the eighth grade dance affected him. He’s never lived his life without her, until the last year. He believes Beth doesn’t love him, but he’s going to face her one more time, and tell her. Beth is stubborn and doesn’t listen well, so he’ll have to plead his case.
What genres are you drawn to as a reader?
Historicals and contemporaries. I miss the awesomely cool chick lit stuff of the late 90s for the woman’s journey before it became all real housewives novels. Sophia Kinsella and a few of her ilk really made me laugh and go on the journey.
Do you have any rejection stories to share?
For the science fiction one two weeks ago, I received a revise and resubmit rejection. Those are so much nicer than the you are a horrible writer, rejections or the even worse ‘form reply’ without any reason. Even a form can have ABCD inserted to state why. But houses are houses and who knows. Wait, I received a rejection from a house I submitted to years ago and forgot all about last week on that first novel. No reason listed there, so that needs to be added to the older computer file of ‘no.’ Rejection is useful when there is a why. I loved the revise and resubmit one because honestly, they might be right on how to make it better. I can’t ask for more. But if you give up, you give up on who you are and what you want… that’s the true issue.
Victoria Pinder also writes science fiction and fantasy as Greta Buckle. She grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, then became a lawyer. After realizing she hates clients, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is fun, but writing is a passion. She wrote one hundred and one fan fiction stories online before deciding to transition into writing her own stories. Never ask her to republish her fan stories from age eleven- horribly written stories of princesses. Victoria dreams of writing professionally, where her barista can make her coffee and a walk on the beach, can motivate her tales. Theseus story came to her when she was a freshman in high school as her English teacher, the nun, told her how life was hard and tragedy teaches lessons. Victoria’s love of writing has kept her centered and focused. How is she crazy? The voices in her head are characters in novels and she’s not insane.