The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Author Interview: Vicki Hinze

Today I get to welcome Vicki Hinze to my blog. Vicki is the author of nearly 30 published books, and she's still going strong. Today she'll share a little about herself, her latest book, and her new series. Stick around for the whole interview because Vicki also has some wonderful words of wisdom for us new and aspiring writers.

Vicki, for starters, would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a wife, mom, gran and a writer. So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to see 24 of my novels, 3 of my nonfiction books and hundreds of my articles in print. I mentor through a program I started over a decade ago called Writer’s Zone (previously Aids4Writers), serve as VP on the International Thriller Writers Board of Directors, acted as a consultant to the RWA and Emerald Coast Writers boards, and do lots of other writing-related stuff that I totally enjoy. There’s a ton of information on programs and awards and such on my website at

Wow! Thanks for sharing that. When did you first become interested in writing?
I used to write political essays for my dad. I had to earn the privilege of reading the Sunday funnies in the newspaper. I developed a real interest in politics. Later I wrote poetry, and then moved into writing fiction and nonfiction books. That was over two decades ago now, though it seems much longer and shorter than that, depending on how the writing is going at the moment. I’ve always loved books and reading, and when we played school as kids, I was the librarian. That should have been a big hint on what to do when I grew up, but I didn’t get it until much later in life, after a healthy stint in the corporate world as a director of operations.

Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
There have been many. Most of the downs have been self-inflicted. I wrote the kind of books I most wanted to read and couldn’t find, which meant I wrote a lot of books for which there was no established market. I wrote my first “romantic fantasy” which now would be described as a paranormal, in 1988. I went on to write fifteen novels that didn’t fit in a specific place on a bookshelf. Then I decided I wanted others to read what I wrote, and so I studied the market and discovered that if I wrote with the three elements I liked most, I probably could sell. Those elements were, suspense, romance and mystery. I’d been writing for six years then. I wrote using those elements and sold the next book.

After my first book was published, I was orphaned, meaning I lost my editor. It took two years to sell another book, but I then sold four more within six months. I’ve been writing and selling steadily since then, though there still have been many ups and downs during the journey, and a lot of flexibility has been required. I learned the value of developing a sense toward your writing early on, and from that sense I developed one rule: I will not write a book I don’t love. To that, experience has me adding that I can’t love a book that isn’t infused with purpose. I must have a clear vision of some value being gained in writing the book. So far, it’s been a magnificent journey and I still feel a bad writing day is better than any day doing anything else.

Very Inspiring! How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
I don’t have a set way of writing. I think that can hamper the process because it can lead an author to believe that’s the only why s/he can write. Books come in different ways. Some spring from a subject or a snippet of conversation. In 1994, I changed the entire path of my career because of a conversation I overheard in a grocery store. Some novels start with a character or an emotional reaction to a person, an event, a situation. And still other novels well from the unlikely marriage of something that is fascinating, perhaps marrying disparate elements discovered in magazine articles. Scientific American, for example. An article there coupled with another led me to write ACTS OF HONOR.

Research at times comes first, and can feed plots and develop characters, but there have been just as many other times when those things were clear and I had to research to reinforce not to develop. So it really depends on the specific book and on the purpose for writing it, which significantly impacts what one writes.

I'm discovering this. The process for the book I'm working on now is nothing like my previous one. Tell us about your latest release?
FORGET ME NOT is my latest release. It’s the first book in a new series where the novels are tied to Crossroads Crisis Center. We follow the story of a woman who is carjacked, beaten and left for dead. A woman who doesn’t know who she is or why people are trying to kill her. She also doesn’t know if she’s a good person, if she has family, and that no one seems to be looking for her makes her wonder even more about her worth as a human being. What kind of woman is she that people want her dead? That no one—no one in the whole world—misses her? But she does recall that she’s a woman of faith. And she relies on that faith to help her answer all the questions she has about herself and those around her. Help comes to her in the form of a man with every reason to hate her as much as he hates himself. And yet hatred can’t stand up to the power of love. And love fiills those dark places where hatred and worry and doubt and fear dwell. I just love this story. Guess you can tell.

But like you said, you woundn't have written it had you not loved it. I think that's great! What inspired you to write this story?
I wondered if a person could ever get to a place beyond faith. If you lost everything—everything—including your identity and the lifetime of memories and experiences that make you remember who you are, would you then be beyond faith?

I discovered that even when we don’t know who we are, we know whose we are.
There’s strength in the knowing to help us through any and all obstacles we face.

Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them, and what endears them to you?
Looking at the heroine, you’d think she had it all. But get to know her and you see that she had many trials and challenges and obstacles and little support. She had one woman who loved her: a woman with whom she had restricted access. All the way through the book, we see new sides to her. Ones that make us see her differently. She isn’t who we think she is—and that’s the case with all of us really. We wear different hats, and others perceive us to be only as they see us—through their eyes. And that’s all they perceive us to be. But we’re more. Far more. Complex and at the same time simple.

The same can be said of the Crossroads owner, Ben. He seems to have it all—looks, money, position and the respect of those in his sphere. But inside he’s tortured and lonely and eaten alive with guilt that he doesn’t own and regret that was thrust upon him. He stumbles and falls. But he’s a good man and he does get up. And during his dark time, where he wanders lost in the desert so to speak, he discovers the path out must be sought to be found, and that life beats us up but it also offer us tubes of glue.

Lisa Harper and Mark Taylor have minor roles in FORGET ME NOT. She’s got problems and so does he, but they don’t wallow in them. They do what they can and then focus on helping others. I so admired these two that I made them the main characters in the next book, DEADLY TIES. It’ll be out in February 2011.

What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long-term goals?
I write healing books. By puberty, all of us are scarred and/or broken in some way, and often we don’t know how to get through our challenges constructively. So I have characters face challenges that are relatable to ones we all face. They find constructive solutions. Not without struggles or pain or obstacles, but they do overcome them and heal. My hope is that readers see that constructive solutions exist, and that if the characters can find them and heal, then readers can, too.

I love what you just said. Fiction may be a made up story but that doesn't mean that there's no truth involved. Wisdom is just conveyed in a different way, and I think it's often more powerful because it allows us to see how that wisdom might affect a person's life. Okay, there's my 2 cents for the day. I do this every interview, btw.

Back to you. Any ideas for future projects?
I mentioned DEADLY TIES, Lisa and Mark’s book. I’ve just finished writing it. And now I’m workng on Beth and Joe’s story. Readers meet them both in DEADLY TIES. I’m loving these related books and I hope readers will, too.

I also ask a little trivia in every interview, so here it goes. What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, what other hobbies do you have?
Movie? Depends on my mood. The American President and The Hunt for Red October are always enjoyed. But I loved Pilgrim’s Progress, Fireproof, Out of Africa and K-Pax, too. And I always enjoy Kate and Leopold. If I had to pick just one, it’d be that one.

Food? Chocolate. I love chocolate. And coffee.

Place to vacation? The beach. I love the sight, smells and sounds. Mostly, I love looking out on the vast horizon. No matter what’s going on in the world or how troubling it is, I see that vast horizon and it pulls things right into perspective for me. The sights and sounds are a soothing balm. I totally love the beach.

Hobbies: I’ve had many over the years, but they all fall to the passion of writing, save reading. Oil painting, home renovations—I’m on a moratorium from knocking down walls—and I LOVE watching baseball games.

Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along? Recommendations is a broad topic, but I’ll share a few things I think are pretty valuable:
In your work: Love what you’re doing or change what you’re doing until you do love it. Nothing fosters excellence more than love.

In your life: Seek wisdom over knowledge, contentment over happiness, and respect over desire. The first things are enduring; the second things depend on circumstance, change and fade.

In your family: Love first. And on those days when loving takes work, remember everyone else has hard-to-love days, too—and that even stopped clocks are right twice every single day.

Overall: Know where you stand and what you most want and why. That keeps you from drifting through life, and that negates the odds of at life’s end, you looking back and being overwhelmed by regret. Also, immerse yourself in the worthy, admirable and noble. You will rise or fall to the level of what’s around you.

For writers: Write each book as if it will be your last. To invest in it, it should matter that much. It requires your time, everything you have to give it to make it your best, and your time is your life. Read, observe, study and grow. The deeper your creative well, the more you have to share.

And most importantly on everything: No matter what you face, how hard life seems at times, how many times you get knocked to your knees, never settle for the half-hearted and never forget that you are a child of God and His royal blood flows through your veins. He gave all to bless you and will provide what you need; He promised. So remember who you are, whose you are, and stand up. You’re never alone and hope in Him is yours. Claim it.

Vicki, thank you! This was a fantastic interview. Vicki is also giving away a copy of Forget Me Not, so leave a comment.

For more about Vicki Hinze and her books:
Her blog


  1. Vicki is the most fantastic human being. She has always answered my emails since 1999 when I first wrote to her. Amazing lady, great writer, good person, and never loses her faith. God Bless Vicki. Janet

  2. Janet, thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment for Vicki!

  3. I enjoyed the interview. I am just meeting Vicki Hinze through your blog and would enjoy reading her book.

    sumballo at

  4. Thank you, Kathy! So glad to introduce you to Vicki!

  5. I enjoyed the interview and the book sounds like a fantastic read with all the elements Vicki mentioned, romance, suspense and mystery.
    Gail pallotta
    pallotta [at] gailpallotta [dot] com

  6. I've seen Vicki's name, but I couldn't say where. This was an interesting interview, very thorough and well done. Congratulations on so many published novels--that is something I admire and respect.I enjoyed learning about you and your writing life. Celia

  7. I loved this interview! I don't need to be entered to win since I already won Forget Me Not in a previous drawing. Just wanted to say hello and I am looking forward the the discussion!

  8. Vicki's wisdom, insights, respect and love for those whom and what she believes in has kept me going through ups and downs where I might have given up. The first novel of hers I read was the one where she mentions that overhearing a comment in a grocery store changed the direction of her writing to military romantic suspense. She wanted readers to understand the honor and sacrifice of family and life that people in the armed forces give every day they are on duty. Her faith, her enthusiasm, her energy, her unconditional love -- I've never known anyone else quite like her. In my book, she's the brightest star in her own celestial galaxy, and those she embraces glow in her reflected light.

  9. Great interview. Don't know how I've missed Vickie's books. This is one book I'd really like to read. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. I would love to read Vickie's books...she is a new-to-me author. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you! I enjoyed the interview, and see that she is a fellow beach lover, and loves chocolate and coffee!



  11. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love the fact that the main character has amnesia, but still knows her faith. I suppose that is how it would actually be, how could you forget something so fantastic.


  12. Haven't had the chance to read any of Vicki's books yet, but am looking forward to it. Love the wisdom she passed along. Invaluable.

    Kara Hunt

  13. Please toss my name into the hat.


    Ann Lee Miller


1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)