4/5/14

Interview with Victoria Trout

 
First why don't you tell us a little about yourself?

I have been married for almost twenty years, and we have one child each from a previous relationship and four together. Yes, the math is correct, six total. My stepdaughter, the oldest of all the kids, has 3 little girls of her own. So grandmother is a title I now claim as well. My stepdaughter lived the whole country apart for her whole life, but the other five have been homeschooled until high school graduation.
My oldest daughter I’ve given birth to has finished her first degree from our local community college and has started on the next level of education. Her ultimate goal is to be a marine biologist.
My next oldest daughter will be graduating high school this May and plans on getting a Small Business degree. She has already started selling handmade, specially designed jewelry, sometimes off her body.
My son is a junior in high school and also taking classes at the community college. We are still discussing what his goals for college are, but he will be attending college one he has finished high school.
My babies are twins that are thirteen years OLD. They are so grown up already! The older of the two wants to start a studio for teaching art to kids that are interested, but don’t have a program in their school. She really wanted to be an art teacher for kindergarteners and first graders, but I explained that there have been many cutbacks in what the political systems considers “non-essentials” so teaching art may not be possible for the public school system by the time she graduates college. She also very much wants to be involved in volunteer work, so I suggested combining the two things she loves, art and volunteering, and see what can develop from there.
My other baby wants to be a rescue diver. I am originally from Nebraska, so the idea of two of my kids jobs being in water is disconcerting. But if they are happy, that’s what is important to me.

Newest release? 

My newest release is Legacy From Yesteryear. My mother/co-writer and I wrote this story first. We made many, many mistakes, and it was so big it was overwhelming to fix. We tried, and have been through the editing process a couple times. Mom was trying to edit it again, take it apart actually, when she passed away four and a half years ago. Once I was able to pull myself together enough to write again, I asked for help from our mentor and friend JoEllen Conger. She has been a godsend and, well I am very grateful she helped me with this Herculean task.

What can we expect from your stories, action, drama, romance, sex, blood and guts? 

My stories, so far, have been historical set, sweet romance, adventure stories with mystery elements. Once I have all the manuscripts Mom and I wrote published I will see how well I do on my own and if I will continue with historical stories or switch to contemporary.

Do you have a favorite character in your stories? Who? and Why? 

I don’t have a favorite character, it would be like picking a favorite child. But the characters I have learned the most from are the Adams family from Ethan’s Flight and the Duke and Duchess of Sommerville from Legacy From Yesteryear. The Duke and Duchess are very family oriented, and something unusual rare in their time in history, very much in love.


Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Our very first story Legacy From Yesteryear weighed in at 280,000+ words, and when we tried to break it up we added another 150,000+ words. Thus it takes a lot of sifting to see what is necessary and what can be cut during this editing process.

When we started writing Legacy we didn’t start at what became the beginning. When we first started it was with the clues that would lead on the scavenger hunt. Once we had the clues worked and where they would be located, then we started in what would eventually become the middle of the story. As we discovered the need for back-story, our actual beginning got further and further back from where we started.

It took us about two years to write, and finish, the manuscript for Legacy From Yesteryear. We knew it needed editing, but no one would touch it since it was so big.

Mom and I had a pact that we would never put the words “The End” on one of our stories. We loved the adventure our characters took us on, and we were not sure the story was truly over when we got to the end. Mom had a major depression when we finished Legacy From Yesteryear and typed “the end”. We’d lived and breathed these characters for two years and she couldn’t stand the thought of not working with them anymore. For her the words “the end” meant it was all over and done. I told her we wouldn’t use those words, because there are characters that still need attention. She was able to recover from after that, not immediately, but eventually another story grabbed us and we were off to the races again.

Has there been any other authors who have inspired your work or helped you out with your stories?

Diana Gabledon inspired us like no other author. We loved the epic stories she told and the way she mixed genres. Mom and I love (d) big stories that can’t be told in one book. There are many authors and series we could talk about, but I will mention Terry Brooks since he is a favorite of mine. He has written epic books from the beginning. He also wrote a book about the writing process that became a text book Mom and I used quite a bit. For those interested in the writing process the title is Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

I love this question! There are two things readers of my books can do to help. First: write a review! And post it on Amazon.com. If people want to know what the book is about, they can read the blurb. What helps me as an author is what YOU loved about Legacy From Yesteryear (or Ethan’s Flight for that matter.) Each story touches each reader differently. I want to compare note and see what is the same and what is different to how these stories effect me.

Secondly, I am Indie Publishing, which is a very exciting journey. I would greatly appreciate any help I can get paying for the essentials: like proofreaders, covers, and marketing. My Grand Plan was publish Legacy From Yesteryear and take the money I get from there and fold it into making the next book available. But life has a way of changing the order of things, and now I am truly an Independent Author. (In other words, I am now unemployed. J) There is a way for other’s to help. It’s called crowdfunding. Anyone interested in more information can go here:
http://bit.ly/1cTuUyq

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

My best advice for other writers trying to get published is this:
1.     Get constructive criticism. I mean from the people that have been through this publishing process and can give you the critique you need to have a fantastic book for the world to see.
2.     Pay for an editor. They are worth their weight in gold. They make us look good, and keep our readers coming back for more.
3.     Grow a thicker skin. Be able to accept what people tell you needs to be fixed. If you don’t take it personally you will be able to take what they say and make your work the best it can be.

For readers, other than give reviews, please keep in mind writing is a process. Writers/authors need your input, however forethought would be appreciated. Is your input done in a way that is easy to understand, even if it’s tough to hear? How would you feel if someone made that same comment about something you put your heart and soul into? Be truthful, but be kind. Please and thank you.

Do you have a favorite author? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work? 

I have several favorite authors, too many to list here. But I will mention Eric Flint, who has written a mind bending series that gets into the whole what if scenario and fires my own imagination. But I’ve come late to the party, meaning he has several books in his series, so I can read with confidence. Another way an author is attractive to me is how much they make me care about their characters. I don’t really look at an author until they have more than one book out, especially if they are writing a series. I hate waiting for the next book. (Oh, the irony.) LOL

Can you remember one of the first things you wrote? What makes it memorable? 

Writing for me was always a struggle. English was my worst subject all through school. I discovered when I was working with my own kids in homeschooling, that I am dyslexic. (What an awful word for someone with this kind of issue to spell!) I am still figuring out the grammar stuff, as you can probably tell from the rest of this interview. It’s another reason I advocate getting an editor. Be your own best friend and tell the best story you can and get an editor!

(Stepping off my soapbox) So for me writing was not something I was really interested in, BUT telling stories or having movies that played in my head. Yeah, that was what interested me. My family gatherings were generally story after story being told in the living room, while the tv was off I might add. So good stories are my best memory, not the actual writing process.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?

I will see an interesting tidbit of history or something that is so outrageous I have to write about it and fix it, at least in a fictional, self-satisfying way. For example, in Legacy From Yesteryear, Meg’s situation took extraordinary measures to get her out of her cousin’s clutches. In this day and age someone not being able to care for themselves because the law says a female isn’t able to care for herself?! But she can run a household and raise the children?! But history did happen that way, and we need to learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. I love historical fiction because I can go back to the history books and see what happened. When I was in school, history was so boring and uninspired. Fictional history makes me see the people behind the events, makes me wonder, what if? That’s what inspires me…what if?

Do you have any other interesting hobbies, pets or stories you would like to share? 

When I write I have a song list that blocks out what’s going on around me so I can concentrate on writing. It’s about two hours worth of music and ends with very emotionally impactive songs that let me come back to real life in a good mood. This is great except for when my Chihuahua decides that my lap is the only one that will do. He is very persistent and very pathetic until he gets his way. He has a very distinct personality, and when I include animals in my writing, they all have very strong personalities as well. Besides, who can resist a cute animal story?
 

Favorite places to travel or visit? 

When I was growing up my grandfather loved to take us on trips every summer. I believe I have been in every state west of the Mississippi except Nevada. I have lived on the east coast for 20 years and still haven’t been all the way north. I have relative in Florida, so I’ve been there a couple times, but I would love to take my kids on a 50 state tour. 



Thank you for visiting today.  We wish you much success.

Julie Ramsey,
ADM, JBR




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