1. Can you tell us about your current projects?
I’m working on a sequel to my young adult novel Polarity in Motion, published under a different name, Brenda Vicars. More serious than Faking Lucky, it’s about a teen whose mother has a borderline personality disorder.
2. When can the readers expect your next book in print?
Polarity in Love by Brenda Vicars will be out early in 2019.
3. Why do you publish under two different names?
Faking Lucky by Q. D. Purdu (my pen name) is a romantic comedy, and it would be rated R or even X if it were a movie. I decided to not use my real name, Brenda Vicars, for my YA books because I don’t want to risk a YA reader accidentally being steered to an adult book.
4. Are you working on something new at the moment?
I’m working on a novel, currently called This Hour’s Term, about Phillip whose sister was sexually abused by their grandfather when they were children. Phillip, although totally innocent, carries feelings of shame about what happened to his sister, and he falls into the self-destructive behaviors, including handling rattlesnakes.
5. Have you received any awards for your literary works?
Faking Lucky was awarded First Place Romance in the Texas Writers League competition of 2014. The book had not yet been published and was called Desdemona Finds the Big O in Love.
6. Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
Yes. The I wrote the first draft of the book This Hour’s Term about fifteen years ago. It’s written from three different perspectives, and I when I finished the manuscript, I felt that one of the perspectives didn’t ring true or didn’t carry the message I had intended. I put the work aside and wrote three other books, all the while carrying This Hour’s Term deep in my heart. In recent months the book has pushed up from its deep level and into my consciousness, demanding to be finished. And the perspective I had struggled with has become clear.
7. Although all books say that all the characters in the book aren’t real or related, but are they really all fictional and made up?
Desdemona and her co-characters are totally invented. But an odd thing happens after I create a character. The character starts to “talk” to me. For example, I might start writing a scene with a concept of the ending, but the characters take the scene in a totally different direction. I love when this happens. It’s magic. If I’m having trouble with a character or a scene, sometimes I interview the character with questions such as, “What do you yearn for? What would you do if you could be free of the page? What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you? What’s the best thing?” I’m always surprised at the answers characters come up with.
8. How possessive are you about your work?
Not at all possessive after the book is published. It’s sort of like rearing children. During the pregnancy and childhood, I’m a fierce lioness. But once my children (or books) are mature, I want them to go out into the world completely independent and free of me!
9. Did you have a lot of differences with your editors in the beginning while you were still becoming used to getting your work edited?
None! Working with editors is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love nothing more than the deep level reflection that a writer does with the guidance of a good editor. I can honestly say, every editor I’ve been privileged to work with has been awesome!
10. What inspires you to write?
I love trouble—not the inciting incident of it but its aftermath. After people have experienced the most hellacious, unbelievable thing they could ever have imagined, there’s a healing period of time when survivors tap into their deepest reserves of strength and find a path to their new normal. This is the part I love especially when their new normal is more authentic than the old was. Bringing this healing period of time to the page is what inspires me to write.
11. Faking Lucky has 80 five-star reviews already! Are there any reviews that have particularly stood out for you?
I’m grateful for each and every review. The heartwarming glow that reader feedback provides has been an unexpected bonus of publishing. Because of your question, I reread the entries on Amazon, and each one is special. Here are a few comments that span the range: “I laughed, gasped and could not put this one down seeing how it would resolve in the end – and if our fearless heroine who was facing down her own ruined reputation and faults would get the happy resolution she sought. Truly one of the most unique, and well written romantic comedies I have read in a long time.”
This review made me laugh. “I laughed and I hoped for her and Hunter to reunite. You think you’ve figured out about the past that went so wrong but in the end, you finally find out right along with Hunter and Desdemona. I would highly recommend the book for comedic relief and for a sweet love story. It’s down to earth, funny with some sweet romance along the way. You’ll love it!”
I also appreciate the negative reviews, especially when they are specific, because they give texture to my understanding of what readers need. For example, one reviewer said, “I was irritated by the decisions Desdemona made, and found them to be out of character for her (sleeping with different men in two consecutive nights, for example).”
12. How do you deal with writer’s block?
Sometimes I just give into it! Take a break from writing.
13. Any tips you would like to share to overcome writer’s block?
I love the book THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron. She recommends that writers go out and experience something totally new at least one hour a week. For example, spend an hour trying to play a harmonica, take a salsa lesson, go to a woodworking shop, or do anything that’s totally new to you. I’ve used this trick before and find that after a breather and exposure to new stimuli, for some reason my brain kicks back in and is ready to write. Another trick I use sometimes is to turn away from the project I’m stuck on and work on a different project for a while.
14. What is the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is being totally immersed in fiction. I’ve always loved to read and discuss books with others. Writing takes that love to a new level.
15. How often do you write?
I wish I were organized and had a structure, but I’m not and I don’t! In a sense I’m writing every minute of the day because my current story or scene or character is never out of my mind even when I sleep. Sometimes I fall asleep with an issue in mind and wake up with the solution.
16. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I’ve done some of my best writing in airports and other busy places. But I also write in the quiet of my home, most often at my walking treadmill. I find that walking while I write makes me much more productive. I do not have to feel “inspired.” But I love the magic moments when I do feel inspired!
17. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read constantly, via audible, e-book and paper books. I generally have two or three books going at a time and love all three formats. There’s not enough room to list all of my favorite authors! Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is in the top ten. I rarely read a book twice, but I’m listening to all eight Outlander books for the second time. The first time I listened to the series, I grieved when it ended. Oh, Jamie, why can’t I have you in real life! Another book I’ve read more than once is Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. For romantic comedy, I love Emily Griffin. I think her early books set the standard for the genre.
18. Do your novels carry a message?
Always! The message is always something close to my heart. Desdemona had to learn that she needed to be true to herself. When she finally trusted her own melody, the music of her life flowed. The message in my YA books has to do with the fact that the playing field is not even for all kids, but teens have to navigate around and through the hurdles.
19. What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?
In the romance genre, I’m always very surprised at the wide-range of books that have the label of romance. Sometimes people try one romance book and make assumptions about all the books in the genre. Elements of romance can be found in most literature, from ancient to contemporary.
20. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer from the moment I learned that there is such a profession! I started writing little poems and making up stories as a child.