Thursday, May 2, 2013

20 Questions with Victorine Lieske

I am so excited to be sharing with you today 20 questions with Victorine Lieske.  Vicki is the author of 3 books, 1 self-help (for authors) and 4 hidden picture books for kids.  I have read all of Vicki's books (except the self-help) and I strongly recommend them to you.


You can find out more about Vicki at:


1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 

Writing was just kind of a fluke for me. I mean, I've always loved to read, and at one point as a kid I thought it would be cool to write a novel just to be able to tell people I wrote one, but I was never very serious about it. I started a few books here and there, got about three pages in, and gave up. The catalyst that propelled me into being a writer was when I injured my back and couldn't work on my rubber stamp business. I was on bed rest for a week and had nothing to do. So I decided to write that book I'd always wanted to write!

2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
My first book, Not What She Seems, I wrote in one week. Now, before you get all impressed, I confess I knew nothing about writing, so I just typed the whole story up as it flowed into my brain. (And I had nothing else to do, because I was on bed rest, and I'm not used to doing nothing!) After I wrote the book, I decided to see if it was any good. I joined an online critique group. ( It was there that I learned I had a lot of reworking, revising, and rewriting to do on the story to make it worth something. I then spent four years working on it in spare moments.

My second book took me 18 months to write and revise.

3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?

I've got a million ideas for books. They usually come from the usual places - I get ideas when I'm reading, or watching television or movies. Or in the quiet times when I'm doing dishes or laundry, ideas sometimes come then, too.

4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?

I really don't. I'm so busy, I usually do what screams the loudest. Many times writing takes a back seat. However, I've been pushing myself to get a novel done, so I try to have at least one chapter a week to bring to my local writers group. Having deadlines really helps me.

5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?

I juggle a lot! Like I said, if it's screaming, I take care of it. Laundry usually gets done when the kids are out of jeans. I design book covers, and try to get those done fast for people. I also make rubber stamps and take care of four kids. It's kind of crazy around here!

6. What elements do you think make a great story line? 

I love a little romance in my stories, so many of my stories will have a little love story woven in. I also adore suspense. There must be tension and conflict. The more breathless the reader, the better. I like to read on the edge of my seat, so I enjoy putting that feeling into my own books.

7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?

The hardest thing is when the story goes flat and you start boring yourself. Then you must decide what to do about it. Usually I back it up, toss whatever I've written that bores me, and then throw in something to liven up the story. (Conflict!)

8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 

I've written two novels, two novellas, and a non-fiction guide for authors wanting to self-publish. It's so hard to pick a favorite. Each one is like a child of mine. I love them all equally, yet differently! If you'd ask which one I'm the most passionate about , it would probably be the one I'm working on right now, which is another romantic suspense novel.

9. Do you have a favorite character?

Hard questions! This answer will be different each day, because I'm just that way, but today I'd say my favorite character is Richard, from Not What She Seems. I just like bad boys, what can I say? He's the kind of guy you love to hate, but deep down, you know he's just trying to protect Emily... in his own twisted way.

10. Where do you write?

I write in the basement, where my computer is, or on the laptop. If we have errands to run, sometimes I'll bring the laptop and write in the car while my husband drives. It's relaxing.

11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 

I looked at my options, sent out a few query letters to agents, but wasn't very serious about getting an agent. I knew that agents get thousands of query letters a year, and only take on a handful of clients. And even then you're not guaranteed to sell the book to a publisher. If you do sell a book to a publisher, most likely you'll get a few thousand dollar advance, and if you're lucky your book will be in print for 9 months. Being an unknown author, I figured I'd have a better chance self-publishing eBooks and pricing at a lower price than publishers can sell - trying to compete in that way. It worked for me. I've earned more than ten times a typical first advance, and I'm still selling books!

12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?

My family is very supportive. I think my mom is my biggest fan! She loves everything I write. She even loved that first draft of Not What She Seems, even though it wasn't very good at all. :-) Yay for moms!

13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?

I enjoy graphic design, reading, rubber stamping and other various crafty things.

14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Jump in and do it! Then, when you have a chapter or two written, join a critique group and learn how to polish it up and make it shine. Reading books about the craft of writing also helps. Stephen King's book On Writing was good.

16. What is your favorite book? Favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 

My favorite book changes all the time. I really love mystery, suspense, and romance. I read a lot of young adult, too. Today, I'd have to say my favorite book is Aliens Are Real by Sabrina Sumsion, because she's letting me beta read the third book in the series and I'm all excited to continue with the story. It's very creative, suspenseful and mysterious, and of course a little romance in there. Just how I like it.

I enjoy many authors, but the one that inspired me to write in the first place would be Mary Higgins Clark. I love her suspense, but most of her books are clean, which I appreciate.

17. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 

Yes, I have a wonderful local writers group. We meet once a week and I'm always bouncing ideas off them. We bring chapters to read in front of the group, and we pick apart each other's work, helping everyone improve. It's great fun and a wonderful learning experience.

18. Are you working on anything now?

Yes, I'm working on a Romantic Suspense novel that has the working title of Witness Protection. The basic premise is a woman who sees a murder, and is put into witness protection. But they find her and kill the US Marshall that is protecting her, and she must go on the run. She ends up taking a man hostage, who she later falls in love with. (Of course.) Kind of awkward, falling in love with the man you're holding at gun point. But it sure makes for a fun story!


  1. Thank you so much for the interview, Tanya! I enjoyed stopping by your blog. :)

  2. My first trip to your blog, Tanya, and very enjoyable it was. You did a great job with "20 Questions with Victorine Lieske." I never get tired of hearing her talking about her writing. She is an amazing and gifted woman....and a wonderful daughter. Oh yes, I am definitely her biggest fan!