Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with novelist Erica Vetsch, a wonderful writer

Erica Vetsch - Stories that Testify to Love Ada Brownell Blog Interview:

1. How did your style and voice develop with such rhythm, music, and clarity? Are you a musician? I can’t claim to be a musician, though I took piano lessons for ten years or so as a kid. My writing style and voice developed over the course of several years of writing fiction and a lifetime of reading fiction. I didn’t realize my voice had become distinctive until one of my crit partners judged a contest I had entered. (She didn’t know I’d entered, and I didn’t know she was judging.) She was able to identify my writing without my name being on the document. That’s when I knew I’d found my voice.
2. Does vivid description come naturally to you, or have you studied techniques and worked at it? Description is the part of fiction writing that comes the easiest for me. The techniques I have to employ and the work I have to put into it are all on the side of not putting too much in and allowing the characters to interact with the setting instead of just describing everything in great detail. I have to remember that I’m not writing a history book, but rather a story.
 3. Do you need to constantly watch in order to show instead of tell, as you do so beautifully, or is that just the way you write? This takes constant vigilance, though it comes more naturally now. I tend to do more telling in my first draft, then go back and try to take it out and show instead during the editing process. I watch for my ‘telling words’ like felt, wondered, watched, thought, was, etc. Being careful to show instead of tell also helps with the description, because I think about what the character is thinking, seeing, smelling, touching, and incorporate that into the narrative.
4. What method do you use to develop your characters? I am a plot-first novelist. My stories are usually sparked by reading history books or biographies. Then it is a matter of discovering which type of person would have the most difficulty overcoming the story problem. One resource I love is: The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines. This book helps me identify my character’s personality type and how that type interacts/reacts to other types. 
5. What prompted you to write a western?  Some of my historicals have been set in the American West, like A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas, some have been set in the Colorado Rockies during the silver boom there. Another series takes place in 1905 Gilded Age Duluth, MN. My voice and my passion seem best suited for historical romance. I love the research, the richness of the settings, and weaving true historical events and people into my stories. As to visiting Dodge, I haven’t been to Dodge, even though I am a Kansan, born and raised. I have spent time in Old Abilene Town and in the Cow-Town Museum in Wichita, as well as several other western frontier town museums.
6. What are your next projects and goals? I’m currently working on a new “Bride” book titled A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA set to release in November of next year. It’s a World War One era story about a Harvey Girl working in the El Garces hotel in Needles and the man the town has dubbed a coward because he hasn’t enlisted, but whom my heroine finds herself falling in love with anyway.
7. Tell us more about who you are and how you became a writer—condensed version. As I mentioned above, I’m a Kansan, born and raised, and I now live in Minnesota with my husband and two children. I’m a homeschool mom with one high school student and one in college. I’ve always been a voracious reader and constant daydreamer. A few years ago, I started writing fiction, first for my own pleasure, then in pursuit of publication. In 2008, I was awarded my first contract while at the ACFW conference. My first novel released in November of 2009, and since then, a dozen more books have followed. A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas is my first trade-length novel.

About the Book: Hoping to leave the shadows of her shady yesteryears behind, Adeline Reid is focusing on her photography career. But when her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot in crime shows up in Dodge City her entire past is threatened by exposure. Can Addie keep her secrets while helping to catch a killer? Deputy Miles Carr’s investigation into a shopkeeper’s murder leads him to Addie’s door. Will his attraction to this female photographer keep him from catching the true culprit? Or will Addie lead him off course in more ways than one?

 Author Bio: Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
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