Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Writing Life by Vivian Zabel, Guest Blogger

Author Vivian Zabel is my guest today with her story about following our dreams. She has such an interesting background that I won't try to tell all in this little introduction. Her website's "About Vivian" is worth a visit. For one thing, Vivian is a great-grandma, which I suspect ranks right up there with writer in her list of best life experiences.


My Writing Life by Vivian Zabel

My story telling began as soon as I could speak, according to my mother. I entertained my siblings and friends with stories created by my vivid imagination. Poetry from the third grade became my first documented writing. However, I never stopped once I had put pen (or pencil) to paper, even when someone in the eighth grade laughed when I told her I would write a novel some day.

In my twenties through my forties, when time was filled with children, family, and teaching, I couldn’t write long pieces. Articles, poetry, and short stories found their way into magazines, papers, and anthologies, though.

When I retired after teaching nearly thirty years, I had time to write novels at last. I started one titled Stolen the last year I taught, one based on the emotions, despair, and heartache caused by two grandchildren stolen by their father. Finally, after over ten years, it will be published. One thing that caused a detour occurred when I couldn’t find books about athletics for a reluctant reader grandson. Therefore, I wrote two baseball/mystery young adult novels since I love mysteries and know baseball. Knowing that anyone with reading problems or who didn’t “like” to read dreaded page after page of nothing but words, I inserted black and white illustrations of baseball teams and players.

After The Base Stealers Club and Case of the Missing Coach, I wrote my first mystery/suspense, Midnight Hours. I’ve always taken characters and ideas for plots from life, and Midnight Hours was no exception. An online “friend,” very secretive, never shared any of her life, even after five years. My imagination (remember I mentioned earlier my vivid imagination) took over: What if she really wasn’t what she seemed; what if she were someone sinister or dangerous; what if ...? Midnight, an online predator who promised love to disabled men, gave them death instead.

My husband, of nearly forty-nine years, had shared stories of farming, breaking horses, and being a cowboy with the family for a long time. I wanted to include some of those events in a book, so Prairie Dog Cowboy was born. The setting for the book was the last 1890s and early 1900s in what is now the Oklahoma Panhandle, No Man’s Land. Although, originally expected to be a young adult historical novel, many adults have enjoyed the book as well as younger readers.

Finally Stolen will see light of day. I’m sending out ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) as quickly as possible for reviews before the official release of the novel late this fall. I’ll blog about it’s progress on Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap. The novel has its own website, too, called Stolen.

As a writer, I don’t fit into any particular slot. I write whatever interests me, from children’s stories to novels, from articles to poetry. My plots and characters become alive in my mind, like movies playing over and over, until I put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.


Vivian, thanks so much for telling us about your path to publication. Beginning authors often worry about genre-hopping, much as we used to worry about job-hopping out there in the working world. Times are changing, and life is short. If you want to write, write what you want.

In addition to her website and blog, you can find Vivian on Twitter.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks so much for hosting Vivian.

Vivian - Thanks for sharing your story. I really felt a connection to it, since I'm in teacher education and have been for quite some time. And I've wanted you to know that I really enjoyed Midnight Hours. Folks, it's a real thriller with a unique sleuth.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes we have to wait for the right moment before we can pursue our writing goals.

Vivian Zabel said...

Thank you, Patricia, for hosting me today. I'm thrilled to be here.

Margot, I'm so glad you enjoyed Midnight Hours. It was fun to write.

Alex, you're so correct.

Beth Bence Reinke said...

Loved hearing the background on each of your books, Vivian. I found the inspiration for Midnight Hours particularly intersting. It's amazing what our imaginations can come up with and make into a story, isn't it?

All best with the release of Stolen.

Vivian Zabel said...

Thanks, Beth.

I had planned to have a blog book tour for Stolen in September, but surgery and long rehab canceled that idea. Now, if I can find my list of people who volunteered to host, I'll try for November.

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's my pleasure to have you here today, Vivian. I'm really enjoying this series on how writers got started and how they got published. The trouble is, my TBR list is growing so fast I'll never catch up. :)

Vivian Zabel said...

At least I'm a fast reader. I just wish I was as speedy at editing.

Ginger*:) said...

Your imagination and your diversity are so admirable. Now I have another list of books that I want to read... all yours! Mysteries that have the reader guessing and second guessing are at the top of my reading list.
Thanks so much for sharing ... and if you want a place to "talk books" my blog would be happy to host you. I'll save some questions for that *:)

Vivian Zabel said...

Any time, Ginger.

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's great, Ginger. I'll be over to check out your blog as well!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's quite the variety of genres, Vivian!

Holly Jahangiri said...

Having read much of Vivian's work over the past eight or nine years, I can attest to it being enjoyable time well spent. I'm looking forward to hosting Stolen on its debut blog book tour - it will be a refreshing change from hosting her psychotic "Midnight." Oh, yes, the character made an appearance on my blog, and I'm still looking over my shoulder to be sure Midnight hasn't caught up with me. The things that lurk in this woman's mind...

Vivian Zabel said...

Diane, I can't help writing different genres. My mind is so full of ... well, as Holly said.

Holly, you do know that sooner or later Midnight will be back, don't you?