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.