Friday, March 6, 2009

Interview - Victoria Laurie

Today Darque Reviews welcomes Victoria Laurie. She has graciously agreed to share a bit about herself and the books she writes.

KS: Hi Victoria, thanks so much for sharing your time with Darque Reviews! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your work better.

VL: Thank you so much, Kimberly! It’s a pleasure to be asked to participate!

KS: Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing, and what influenced you to write professionally?

VL: Honestly I haven’t been writing that long. I started my first book, Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye, in February of 2003, and it was published in December of ’04 – so it was a ridiculously quick process for me. And at the time of its publication, I didn’t expect to write more than three books. I thought I’d write a trilogy and be done with it, so it’s rather hysterical that I should be in the process of writing my fourteenth book right now with five more under contract. We plan and the Big Guy Upstairs laughs, right? :)

I will also say that what motivated me to begin writing in the first place was reading the first few books in the fantabulous Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I think I had just started in on her third book when I had that “Eureka!” moment and I thought, “I could TOTALLY write something like this!” I then promptly called my sister and told her that I was going to write an amateur sleuth novel. Her response was, “Okay, Victoria….good luck with that!” She thought it was just another one of my crazy ideas. Ha! I guess I showed her, huh? :)

KS: For those readers who haven’t experienced the Ghost Hunter Mysteries series, can you tell them a little about M.J. Holliday and her friends?

VL: Well, M.J. is a character that was first introduced in the Psychic Eye Series in the book A Vision of Murder. Ms. Holliday is a psychic medium and ghost hunter. Her sidekick is her best friend, the extra light-in-his loafers Gilley Gillespie. Together, M.J. and Gilley help de-spook haunted locations, while assisting the dead in crossing over and in the process, they also solve a mystery or two. M.J. is a bit more mature than Abby, with an extra dose of guts – not much scares her – so she’s a blast to write – and I will admit that I also enjoy trying to scare you a teensy bit in the process! :)

KS: With your March 2009 release approaching, the third in the Ghost Hunters Mysteries series, can you give fans an idea of what to expect from Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun?

VL: Certainly! Haunt is set in one of San Francisco’s most haunted hotels. M.J. gets roped into doing a television show called, Haunted Possessions, which is set around the premise that certain items can be possessed by evil spirits. M.J. starts out thinking that the show’s premise is a lot of baloney until she participates in the production and she and a fellow medium encounter an evil spirit inhabiting an antique knife.

All sorts of chaos follows, so I would say that Haunt is a cross between Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None and the movie, The House on Haunted Hill. It’s a bit spookier than previous M.J.’s, but I think that there’s enough levity there to help temper it.

KS: The series that first got me hooked on your writing is the Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye Mysteries. Can you tell readers a little about Abby and her friends?

VL: Absotutely! Abby Cooper is a professional psychic, but she doesn’t go for the bangles, headscarves and crystal balls. She’s a very non-traditional intuitive; incredibly down to earth, very girl-next-door – and if you called her a witch she would be highly offended!

So, in the first book, the Abster meets her main squeeze, a police detective named Dutch Rivers, who doesn’t think much of her sixth sense, until she uses it to help solve two local murders. From there on out Abby is sort of constantly getting involved in solving crimes, much to her own chagrin. Although, after six books, I believe she might finally be getting used to it. :)

KS: When can fans expect to see a new Psychic Eye Mysteries release?

VL: You know, I kept wondering why so many people were asking me this until I noticed that my own website is woefully absent of any future launch info on the Abster….my bad! :) So, for the foreseeable future, (at least the next 3 years) the official schedule of release dates for each series are:

Each March a new Ghost Hunter Mystery (M.J.)
Each May a new Oracles of Delphi Keep adventure
Each September a new Psychic Eye Mystery (Abby)

KS: You have an all new series coming up, and the first release will be Oracles of Delphi Keep. What can you tell us about it, and who is the series geared toward?

VL: Ah…thank you for mentioning Oracles! This series is my lovechild. I adore it and I’m beyond excited about it – it’s official release date is May 26th, 2009 by the by.

While most of my adult novels take a month or two to craft – this book took EIGHT months to write! Sooooo much love, research, and attention to detail went into it, and like any proud parent I’m so excited to send it out into the world and watch what happens!

So, the premise of the series is this: Three thousand years ago a great Oracle of Delphi named Laodamia foretold of a time in human history when the world would be brought to its knees, and a dark and terrible force would inspire such a battle between good and evil that the fate of all mankind would hang in the balance. Laodamia also foretold that the only way for good to conquer evil lay in the gathering of six oracles – all orphaned children –each bearing a unique intuitive gift that would be needed at the time of the final encounter between these dark forces and our orphans.

Fast-forward to the story’s main setting, Dover, England, August 1938; Ian Wigby is living with his sister Theo in an old fortress turned orphanage called Delphi Keep. One day while exploring an underground cavern along the White Cliffs of Dover, he stumbles upon an ancient silver box which contains a prophecy written by the Phoenician Oracle Laodamia, and within the prophecy, the Oracle names both Ian and his sister directly and sets them on a rather epic adventure to gather the other oracles from around the world while dodging sorcerers, evil beasts and a particularly nasty underworld god. Oh, yeah, and also while trying not to become a casualty of World War II!

The overall story arc is rather humongous….I seriously bit off a tad more than I can chew here – but I have another five books to try and tell the giant tale, with plenty of adventure, mystery and yes, even laughter in between. The series is specifically targeted for the Children’s Middle Grade age group of 10 and up, but, really, as we learned with Harry Potter – it could very well appeal to adults too.

KS: What are you working on now? What will readers see in the upcoming year?

VL: Well, I’m just wrapping up the second book in the Oracles series….which is proving to be every bit as challenging as the first. Then I’m off to pen another M.J. mystery, (for release in March of 2010) and of course immediately following that I’ll have to dive right into another Abby Cooper, (for release in September 2010)

This March, however, readers can follow M.J. to San Francisco where she’ll fight a force of evil greater than any she’s ever encountered as she rids a haunted hotel of its spectral tenants in Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun.

This May they’ll get their first glimpse of Ian Wigby in The Oracles Of Delphi Keep, (see above for a description.)

Then, in September 2009, they can follow Abby Cooper to Washington D.C. as she officially goes to work for the FBI on a missing persons case that has her embroiled in politics and danger in the release of Doom With A View.

KS: With several great series going, do you work on more than one project at a time?

VL: Ha! Always!!! :)

Yes, it’s impossible not to because every book gets revised or edited at least twice, then of course there are the page proofs to review etc., etc. I remember a few months ago I sat down for a phone conference with my agent as we went over the various deadlines coming up in 2009, and about ten minutes into it he actually asked me how the heck I juggled it all. I truthfully told him, “I have no idea!”

And yet, somehow the work always gets done, and I truly believe that it does so because I have such an amazing support team of editors, copyeditors, and my wonderful agent. They keep me on track, upbeat and focused; otherwise I’d be bald (from pulling my hair out) and sniffling noisily into my Cocoa Puffs about now…

KS: You have an amazing ‘day job’, can you tell us about it, and what made you decide to share your talent in a professional capacity?

VL: You know that phrase, “Write what you know?” Yeah…that is really true for me. Like Abby and M.J., I’m also a psychic medium.

I was always an intuitive kid – I just knew when things were going to happen, and the fact that they weren’t usually “big” things is what kept me skeptical about my own abilities for so long. Also – a lot of the hype you see around some of these famous “psychics” just turned me off. In my opinion, a lot of them thought they were “special” and “gifted” and the way they sort of lorded themselves above other people really soured their appeal. I wanted nothing to do with the profession – I mean, those people were strange!

Anyway, I didn’t feel very “gifted” when I would play around with friends and predict their futures, but enough of what I predicted came true and enough of them finally convinced me to start charging for what I could offer on an intuitive level that I finally – and quite grudgingly - took their advice and hung out my shingle. One friend told another, who told another, who told another and soon I had a small following that turned larger year by year.

I’ve remained pretty practical about the whole thing since then. I still don’t believe I’m “gifted.” It’s really not a gift in my opinion, and no, it’s not a curse either. :)

Being a professional psychic or medium takes skill, and like any skill, the more you practice it the better you get at it. So, I try always to remember that I can be wrong – ‘cause I can – and that people who sign up for a reading with me have waited patiently for at least two or three months, and that they are spending their hard earned cash for my intuitive input – that’s a really special trust when you think about it, which is why I try so friggin’ hard to get it right and to “see” as much detail for them as possible in each and every reading. I truly give it my all.

Pretty much, my readings are very much like the ones Abby gives to her clients; down to earth, practical and with real information – not some hippie-yippee-airy-fairy-fluff that you can’t quantify. I hate that stuff, so I don’t incorporate any of it into my readings. My sessions are about who from the Other Side wants to stop in and say hello, and then I do a future forecast of the next 12 months and what my clients can expect to come down the pike. I cover stuff like career, relationships, family, finances, travel, etc., etc., etc. I want you to be able to take the information I give you, and not only know what kind of a year to expect, but use that information to your advantage to make good choices and dodge the occasional bullet if need be.

KS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers, or do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?

VL: Wow, okay, so the number one thing I’d like to say is THANK YOU, Kimberly for this fantabulous opportunity to stop by and say hello to your readers, (waving!) and also, thank you to each and every person out there who has supported me over the years. It means more than you can know.

As for advice to aspiring writers…hmmmm. Well, I would say that I think the best advice I can offer you is to write every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. You should learn to get into writing as a habit. If you do, and are ever lucky to land a book contract, then it won’t feel so much like work. By that time it’ll just be second nature.

KS: Thanks so much for sharing your time with us Victoria, it’s been a pleasure!

VL: Huge hugs and a bajillion thank you’s, Kimberly, it’s been a blast!

To learn more about Victoria Laurie, her writing and her work, please visit her website: HERE
To learn about the upcoming Oracles of Delphi Keep series, please visit the website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews


samantha.1020 said...

I've read the first two books in the Abby Cooper series and really enjoyed them. I'm looking forward to getting to the next one soon. Great interview!

Kimberly Swan said...

I got hooked on the Abby Cooper series and have really enjoyed every one of them! You should check out her Ghost Hunter Series as well. :)