Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Friends with Vicki Lewis Thompson

First, Vicki, thanks for being with us on Friday Friends. You have NO IDEA how excited I was to see that your newest novels are from Harlequin’s Blaze line. For those of you who don’t know Vicki’s work, she knows how to write a love scene that will burn the tips of your fingers, but still make you want to hold on to that book.

There is a lot to talk about so let's get started.

HWH: Tell us a little about the three new books you have coming out this year: WANTED, June; AMBUSHED, July; CLAIMED, August.

VLT: Thanks for giving me a chance to talk about one of my favorite subjects, cowboys! Although I've been writing other kinds of books recently, I've missed my cowboys, so I was thrilled when Harlequin asked me to write a nine-book cowboy series. Welcome to the Last Chance Ranch, where the cowboys are hot and the women are happy! The series, set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is called Sons of Chance, and will have three books coming out each summer through 2012. The first round features the three yummy Chance brothers. Nick's story -- WANTED! -- is available now, and it will be followed by Gabe's story -- AMBUSHED! -- and Jack's story -- CLAIMED! I fell in love with these three guys, who are all struggling with the unexpected death of their father the previous fall and the inevitable changes that brought. But each of them is dedicated to preserving the ranch, established by their grandfather and grandmother during the Great Depression. It's a place created to give both people and animals a last chance at love and happiness, and every time I start a new book, I can hardly wait to go back there!

HWH: Your career went from writing contemporary novels to paranormal novels in the past four years. How is that working out for you? Which one do you enjoy most?

VLT: My move into paranormal romance is all J.K. Rowling's fault. I fell in love with the Harry Potter series and realized that magic is the ultimate imaginative tool for a writer. I can do anything, as long as I'm consistent. What a rush! That said, I can't say that I like writing one kind of book over the other. Moving from one to the other helps keep everything fresh, and I love the variety.

HWH: Congratulations on winning the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. What has this award meant to you and has it changed your career at all?

VLT: Thank you! That award means so much to me. During the 2008 RWA Conference in San Francisco, I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I can't say that winning the award had any affect on my career, but it certainly added to my invitations to speak at conferences, and it motivated me to run for the Region 5 position on the RWA Board of Directors. I'm serving the first year of a two-year term, and what a fantastic group it is! I'm much richer for the experience.

HWH: How do you prepare yourself to write three books that are scheduled to be released one after the other? Do you plot or are you a panster?

VLT: I'm definitely a pantser, but writing connected books means some advance plotting, for sure. I have two secret weapons. One is my daughter/assistant Audrey, who reads the books and creates a story bible for the series. She's way more of a left-brained person than I am, so her notes on the books keep me straight. Also, I have two wonderful plotting partners, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson. We all live in different states, but we meet face-to-face for a plotting weekend twice a year. They help keep me straight, too. In other words, I couldn't do this series without a little help from my friends.

HWH: As a writer, I’m always interested in any tips for revisions. Do you have any?

VLT: The best revision tip of all is one I seldom ever have time for. If a writer can put a book away for at least two weeks and then go back to it, problems will be much more obvious. Or so I've heard. I'm usually on a tight deadline and have to revise immediately after finishing the book. I can usually "hear" the book as I read, but if I couldn't hear it in my head, I'd read it aloud or even record myself reading it. That would help with awkward phrasing. And you would probably also become aware of overused words and phrases. Many years ago I listened to John Grisham's THE FIRM and noticed that he overused the phrase "he breathed deeply." In print I might not have noticed but in audio it stood out. I'm sure I have similar phrases I overuse, and hearing them read aloud would make them stand out like a flashing red light.

Thanks so much for being with us, Vicki. Please come back when your next book comes out.

Okay, visitors, Vicki will be here all day. Leave comments/questions and she will answer as soon as she can. For more Vicki information, visit her website at

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  1. I am so glad to know a publisher like Harlequin is still interested in western romance. Of course, a great writer like you would help make that decision a wise one.
    Talking about overused words and phrasing, Vicki, how do you write original sex scenes?

  2. Hi, Ana! Thanks for the warm fuzzies. :-) Ah, the sex scenes. I've probably written at least three or four hundred by now and I'll bet good money I have some similar phrasing in many of them. But I do stretch my creative muscles to make the scenes as unique to the two characters as possible, given that we all have the same basic plumbing. I think that probably starts by imagining those characters as thoroughly as I can. No two people would make love in exactly the same way as two other people, and so if I'm totally immersed in who those characters are, then logically they will make love in their own unique way.

    That said, a glass of wine really helps. :-)

  3. Hi Vicki
    Know what you mean about the glass of wine when you're writing the sex scenes! Helps to overcome any inhibitions LOL.
    And I agree that reading your work aloud helps you to find any awkward phrasing. As for over-used words and phrases, I know I'm guilty of this. I'm aware of some of them, and hit the 'find' link to see how often I've used them. If it's only once in say, 50 pages, I leave it. If it's more often, I try to change some of them!
    Good luck with your new books! 3 in 3 consecutive months - wow!

  4. HI Vicki!

    Thanks for visiting today.

    My favorite line at Harlequin is Blaze and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for cowboys, so I'm doubly excited about your upcoming series...and so excited it will continue for three years! It doesn't get any better than that.

    When I first pulled up this post, I thought I recognized your picture/anme, and then when I read the part about your lifetime achievement award, it hit me...I'd just been looking at a picture of you winning said award on the cover of the new RWR! What a fabulous moment..,

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Yep, Debra, that's Vicki!!!

    When you have several books like you have with these, Vicki, how much input does your editor have? Does she help you plot?

  6. Hi, Paula, Debra, and Toni! Sorry I missed these yesterday. I wonder if the Internet was playing tricks on me, because I kept checking the site and refreshing the screen, but only Ana's comment was there. :(

    Paula, I need to use that "find" link more often. Ain't technology great? Except when it isn't, LOL.

    Debra, I felt so lucky to be given this chance to connect nine books, sort of like my own little continuity series! And yes, that was me on the cover, and that picture captured my feeling of joy so well. It was a moment I'll never forget.

    Toni, my editor Brenda Chin certainly does have input, and while she doesn't have time to help me plot, considering her busy schedule, she definitely offers key ideas along the way. She was the one who suggested Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I had thought about setting it in Arizona, and Brenda pointed out that it's really hot in Arizona in the summer, and not in a good way. :-)

    Thanks for inviting me to blog! Sorry I missed your posts yesterday.