I am excited to welcome Vivian Anderson to the BookEnds team!
Vivian and I connected through the slush pile. Yes, another unsolicited query to representation success story! I loved the voice in her cozy mystery, and I couldn’t put it down wondering “who done it?”
Hope you enjoy learning more about Vivian!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I write every day, including holidays and while on vacation. My goal is five hundred words.
I use thumb drives to save my work. I know there is more modern technology and recent thumb drives have the capacity to hold three or four manuscripts, but I’m paranoid about losing a book so I use a new thumb drive for each manuscript.
More important than the initial writing is the editing. It takes me as long t edit a manuscript as it does to write it. I keep a list of my rounds of edits, looking for different things each time. Round five is my favorite. I check to make sure the chapter numbers are in order and it only takes a half an hour.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
I start my writing session by reading what I wrote the previous day. I fill in action, setting descriptions, and dialogue tags. Starting the day’s work is an easy transition.
If you don’t count the sixty-nine BELIEVE signs, the exact placement of the same brand of blue gel pen, and the precise slant of the wooden blinds, I don’t have any writing quirks.
What do you love about writing cozy mysteries?
I love the challenge. There are so many limitations to cozies that other genres use to evoke emotion, create scenes, and develop characters. In cozies, you can’t murder someone on the page, the romance is limited to a kiss or embrace – fade to black, alcohol is limited to a single glass of wine or beer, no cursing, and no drugs. Without those devices, the author has to rely on clever clues, red herrings, humor, and unique characters to grab and hold the reader’s attention.
What is the hardest part about writing cozy mysteries?
The hardest part about writing cozies or any genre is keeping the action and dialogue fresh.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
“You just have to sit on your butt and write.”
Plotter or pantster?
I’m a pantster. I have a general idea where I want to go with the plot, but I don’t have a rigid outline. About halfway through the book I have a killer in mind, but sometimes the characters tell me (in little voices) that someone else did it and it all changes.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I’m very excited to be part of the BookEnds family. Rachel Brooks has done an amazing job of introducing me to the process of getting my manuscript to the polished stage. I’ve already experienced how the team works together.
I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Edit, edit, edit. Add ten thousand words to your novel and then delete ten thousand words. Continue to learn. Write every day. Believe in your writing. Patience.