Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Interview with Victoria Thompson

1.Victoria, tell us about your writing schedule?
I write from January to June 1, my deadline (and past that if the book isn't done!). I work full time so I write in the evening when I get home from work. My goal is a 20 pg. chapter per week. If it's finished by Friday, I take the weekend off. If it isn't finished, I work on the weekend until it is.

2. How many books have you written?

31; 20 historical romances and 11 mysteries. I wrote a few others that never got published, but we won't talk about them.

3. Tell us about your latest book the your plans for 2010?
The next book is Murder on Lexington Avenue and the murder involves the Deaf community and the school where Malloy's son Brian goes. I learned some fascinating things about the Deaf which I included in the book.

4. What writing advice can you give other historical writer's who want to have their books published?
Choose a time period that's fascinating to you and a location that's not too "foreign" for your readers to identify with. Then create main characters who have unique professions and will easily encounter a lot of murder victims in the normal course of their lives.

5. What are some of your favorite, books, holiday movies, and ways to spend your free time?
I enjoy reading, of course, but I also enjoy movies of all kinds. My husband and I decided to schedule a movie night every week, so on Wednesday nights we either go to the theater, watch something on TV or rent a movie. We take turns choosing, and we choose what we want to see, without regard for the other's taste. My dh does know I can't stand a couple of particular actors, so he doesn't make me go to their movies. Otherwise, anything goes. I don't really have favorite books. My favorite is usually the one I just read! I enjoy a wide rage of authors, from Janet Evanovich to Anne Perry. Same with movies. I rarely see one I want to see again.

6. Tell us some of the highlights you've had in your writing career?
The #1 is being nominated for an Edgar Award by MWA. Selling my first novel was a thrill I will never forget, and selling my first mystery after my historical romance career went down the tubes was another thrill.

7. How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes about 6 months of actual writing. That doesn't count thinking and planning and researching.

8. Do you have a favorite book cover ?
I love the MURDER ON ASTOR PLACE cover. It's so clever, with the skull face in the red shawl. Actually, the original book didn't have a red shawl in it at all. After I saw the cover, I had to revise it and put it in.

9. What would you like to say to your readers?
I love you all! Thanks for loving Sarah and Frank and sticking with them through thick and thin. And the answer is, I don't know when they'll get together! They haven't told me yet.

10. Tell us a little about your personal life?
I'm happily married for most of my life. I have two beautiful daughters who are both married, and three wonderful grandchildren.

11. Where are your favorite places to travel?
I love going to the beach, any beach, during the off season when I have it all to myself. I love Italy, and I'm sure I'd love Hawaii if I can just get there!

12. Okay, now for the creative questions. How do you plot your mysteries?
With great difficulty. I used to plot the entire book before I could even start, but now I make it up as I go along. I choose a victim and then figure out 5 or so suspects and make them all appear equally guilty. I don't decide who the real killer is until the end of the book. That way I don't make it so obvious that anyone can guess.

13. How do you keep track of characters from book to book in your series?
I have an enormous 3-ring binder with character sheets and synopses and maps and ideas in it. Even still, you will notice that Nelson Ellsworth changes jobs mid-series without so much as a by-your-leave. I can't remember everything, apparently.

14. How much research do you do before you begin plotting your mysteries?
I did a ton of research when I started the series. Now I just do "spot" research for each book on whatever subjects I need to know about for that particular book. For example, Lexington Avenue required a lot of research into the history of the education of the deaf.

15. Do you have someone you would like to thank for their support?
My husband Jim. He takes very good care of me. My agent, who stood by me even when I couldn't get arrested, and always believed I'd be published again.

16. What is the most intriguing thing that has ever happened to you?
Becoming a published author. I'm a member of an elite group and feel very privileged to belong.

17. What is hardest for you to write, the beginning, middle or the end of the book?
The middle. I usually know the beginning and the end sort of takes care of itself.

18. Leave us with some historical words of wisdom.
The past is another country. They do things differently there.

19. Do you have a website and if so what is the address? Couldn't be easier!

20. Lastly, do you have a favorite holiday song?
O Holy Night.

Thank you so much for the interview and I am thrilled you agreed to spend some time answering my questions. I wish many many more years of wonderful books and it's a selfish wish because I want to read them.

Happy Holidays,
Pamela James


  1. I am looking forward to the next book. The history of the education of the deaf should be fascinating. I can honestly say, its something I know nothing about

  2. Victoria,
    Thank you for doing the interview for us here on mayhem and magic. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

    Happy Holidays,


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