About Brenda Vicars:
Brenda Vicars has worked in Texas public education for many years. Her jobs have included teaching, serving as a principal, and directing student support programs. For three years, she also taught college English to prison inmates.
She entered education because she felt called to teach, but her students taught her the biggest lesson: the playing field is not even for all kids. Through her work, she became increasingly compelled to bring their unheard voices to the page. The heartbeat of her fiction emanates from the courage and resiliency of her students.
What inspires you to write?
I don’t remember ever not wanting to write. When I was six, I wrote my first poem, “My Little Sister Vicki Is Very, Very Tricky,” and I’ve been writing ever since. I think now the ideas come from students I’ve worked with—mainly from unfair situations I’ve seen them have to work through. I’m fascinated with the reality that the playing field is not even for all kids. I can’t stop probing at inequity and trying to expose it on the page.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m not big on outlining—and definitely not extensively. I know in general terms how a book will begin and end. The middle evolves as I write. I edit and re-edit as I go. I find that if I’m not ready to write the next section, I can go back to the previous section and edit. By the time I finish editing the previous section, I’m often ready to flow right into the next part.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Sometimes I interview characters. I ask them what their dreams are, what they are willing to go to battle for, and what their greatest fears are. It’s amazing what imaginary characters will say to you if you just ask the questions. They always surprise me.
What advice would you give other writers?
I’ve learned so much! Here’s seven biggies!
1. I wish I had been better prepared for writing blog posts! I’ve worked my whole life on writing fiction, but blog posts are an entirely different animal, and they are a struggle for me.
2. I should have started an author Facebook page, Twitter page, and website years ago. For some reason I wanted to have my book cover before starting those pages. If I had it to do over, I would have started social media as soon as I had a book concept. Now I’m playing catchup.
3. I wish I had started working with other writers sooner. Having people to exchange pages with for feedback really boosted my process, but for many years I wrote in isolation—without sharing my work with anyone.
4. I didn’t know that you can start deducting your “writing” expenses on your income tax forms up to three years before you publish. It’s amazing how those writing conferences, contest fees, and workshop expenses mount up.
5. THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron helped me immensely with things like writer’s block and understanding my own creative process. I wish I had read it sooner in my journey.
6. I attended several writers’ conferences and paid for ten-minute pitch sessions with agents. It was probably a good experience for me in that I definitely polished my pitch, but it was a waste of money as far as gaining representation. I think the best way to get an agent or publisher is through querying as per the agent or publisher instructions on their website. By the way, nothing is harder to write than a pitch! Nothing!
7. There’s endless rejection in this business. Never give up! I just read that James Lee Burke spent ten years getting 111 rejections for THE LOST GET-BACK BOOGIE. The book became a Pulitzer Prize nominee. He’s published 36 books—many best sellers and movies.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first approach was to query agents, and I immediately got an excellent agent, Charlotte Sheedy.
She represented my book for a year and then said none of the publishers she associates with were interested in it. She recommended that I self-publish. She said, “Just get it out there.” I considered self-publishing, but then I heard some awesome feedback about Red Adept Publishing and decided to submit to them—even though most of their books are paranormal, science fiction, or women’s fiction. I was delighted when they accepted POLARITY IN MOTION, and they have done an awesome job throughout the editing, release, and promotion. I highly recommend them.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Clearly the business is changing, and the wonderful part of this change is that now there are so many different ways to be published. I think the business is probably more responsive to reader tastes than it was twenty years ago. This is good news for readers as well as writers.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: YA, literary fiction, and romance.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.