Mary: Before we begin on the writing, tell us a bit about Vivian the person. Where you grew up, etc.
Vivian: I was born under the flight path at Randolph AFB, Texas. However, I grew up all over the world. Even though I started school in San Antonio, Texas, second grade found me on Guam. Third grade I attended two schools in Enid, Oklahoma. By the time I graduated from high school in Limestone, Maine, I had 22 school changes, including almost two years in Morocco. For the past thirty-some years, I’ve lived in the Edmond, Oklahoma area
I’ve always been a story teller since I could talk. I entertained my siblings and friends with stories. When I learned to write, I began to put the stories and poems on paper.
I taught English and writing for nearly 30 years, with poetry, articles, and short stories published along the way. I attended writing workshops, classes, and clinics every year – not only to be a better writing teacher, but also to hone my own skills. After “graduating” (retiring) in 2001, I had time to write longer works, and my books began.
Mary: I see you wear many hats, not just an adult mystery writer. Tell us about all that you do, included 4RV publishing.
Vivian: What all do I do? I edit other people’s writing; I do some book design work, but little; I have final say over what 4RV publishes; I care for a disabled husband; I try to care for a disabled me; I travel to book festivals; I head a writing group; and then I squeeze in some writing every chance I get. My brain is always “writing” even if not my fingers.
4RV Publishing keeps me rather busy, and much of what I have to do has little to do with writing or book, except maybe accounting books. I had no idea how busy the business would keep me. Other than keeping books, the hardest part of the publishing business is rejecting manuscripts, knowing that someone will be hurt. That’s why when we do reject, suggestions go with the “We’re sorry but” message that will help the writer improve his/her work.
Mary: Tell us a bit about your hobbies—other than writing. Do you travel? Sing? Sew? We want to know it all.
Vivian: I used to sing in the church choir, but can’t stand long enough or climb the steps now. I read, read, read, read. I attend as many of my grandchildren’s ball games and activities as possible, and great-grandchildren’s, too.
At one time, my husband and I traveled every summer. We’ve covered most of the United States, including Alaska, and some of Canada.
Let’s take a stretch your legs break. Pour some more ice tea if you need some.
Mary: Everyone has something they’d like to do before they pass on to new adventures in the great beyond. However, is there something on your bucket list you need to do?
Vivian: Other than have enough time to finish the 30 books still in my head? One thing at the top of my list is to have all of my family together at least one more time, and I don’t mean at my husband’s or my funeral. I want to see all my children, their spouses, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren together with my husband and me, at least one more time.
Mary: Do you have a favorite food and would you like to share a recipe with us today?
Vivian: My favorite food any more is something someone else fixed. *laugh* One recipe that is soooo good and sooo easy is slow-cooker lasagna.
1. brown ground beef (and onions if desired) and add to favorite spaghetti sauce.
2. cover bottom of cooker with thin layer of sauce and about 1/8 cup water
3. place a layer of lasagna noodles on bottom of sauce layer, break into sizes that fit if necessary.
4. add layer of grated mozzarella cheese
5. add layer of noodles
6. add layer of sauce
7. add layer of cheese
8. at last, add a layer of noodles and then top with cheese
9. cook on slow heat for 6 – 8 hours.
Mary: I love Lasagna, I'll need to try it. What do you tell young writers who come to you for advice?
Vivian: First learn your craft and read as much as possible. Read good books. Read bad books. Learn the difference between the two. Don’t be afraid of criticism, learn from it. Know correct grammar and use it. Continue learning how to write even as you write. Don’t give up.
Vivian: When my ex-son-in-law “stolen” two of my grandchildren, I had to do something with the pain, frustration, agony, and hopelessness. So, I began to write, giving all that emotion to characters, who became real people to me. It’s not a true story, because I fictionalized it, but the emotions and tears and heartaches are true.
About the book: When the joy is ruthlessly ripped from Torri’s life, she has two choices: dwell in torment and regret, or pick up the pieces and live. However, when a nightmare invades her world, leaving her battered and torn, she doesn’t know if she can continue – her children are stolen.
Vivian’s blog: http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com
Vivian’s website: http://VivianZabel.com
4RV Publishing http://4rvpublishingllc.com
Orders (other than from bookstores, online suppliers) http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com
Thank you, Vivian, for joining us in the garden today. I hope you come back to visit often.