Meet Writer Vicki Cato

Vicki Cato writes Inspirational Historical Fiction set in the South. Her award-winning Civil War story takes place in Georgia. In Her Shadow took third place in the Inspirational category of the 2008 Gotcha! contest sponsored by the Silicon Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America®.

When she’s not writing, Vicki likes to garden, read and scrapbook. If she were offered dinner out, her first choice of restaurant would be Ruth Chris’s Steak House because “they have steaks that melt in your mouth.” And her favorite dessert? Chocolate pound cake.

Vicki currently lives in Georgia, where she’s involved with her local chapter of the
American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, WORD: Writers of Remarkable Design. She served as chapter secretary for two years.

Join me as we learn about Vicki and her writing.

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Vicki Cato
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The Journey Begins


•When did you begin writing with a goal of publication, and how many manuscripts have you completed?

My journey into writing began when my daughter graduated from high school eight years ago. I realized I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a writer.

•What led you to write Historicals, and how did you decide on your period?

When I gave up playing with dolls, my interest turned to writing. At age 12 I wrote a rough draft of my very first book. I still have it tucked away. Even though my life’s ambition was nursing, I never lost the urge to write.

When my children were almost grown, I started learning the computer with their help. Several years later I went to an overnight writer’s conference in Charlotte. After that my enthusiasm grew and I started learning more about the craft.

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Peaks

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•Receiving news of a contest placement is exciting. But there’s nothing like the first time. How did you react when you learned you’d taken third in the inspirational category of the prestigious Gotcha! contest?

It was funny. My house was in chaos with my grandbaby and son visiting. I’d just cleaned up from supper. After the phone call, I was so shocked I did the happy dance, squealed, and then had to sit down! My family was thrilled.

.•What’s been the biggest thrill during the writing process itself?

I think placing third in the Gotcha! My second biggest thrill was finishing the first draft and realizing my story had a beginning, middle and end even though it was only the first draft and in rough form.

•Was there a time when you felt things came together and you knew you had a great story?

I still feel that way about my previous novel, but I have yet to convince the publishers. There’s a dramatic scene in that book that has a “Gone With The Wind” feel to it.

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Valleys

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•As writers, we all have days, weeks or *shudder* months when we’re not making our word counts, when our characters are being totally uncooperative or when plot points just won’t fall into place. How do you deal with times like these?

I have wonderful critique partners who are great encouragers. I’ve found that keeping a calendar and setting weekly goals gives some structure to the writing process. That doesn’t always mean I adhere to it. After Christmas is particularly difficult for me, so if I start the New Year with reasonable goals it makes a huge difference.

This year one of my critique partners gave me a pep talk that’s kept me going. We set a goal for March 31 for me to be finished with In Her Shadow. I didn’t make it, but I’m adding to the word count and am nearly through.

•What keeps you moving forward in spite of the challenges?

I believe writing is a God given talent and I must use it for His purpose.

•Discouragement comes from within, but it can also come when we put our work out there to be judged in contests or rejected by agents and editors. How do you deal with the down times?

Sometimes I cry or get just a wee bit irritated, but I’m developing a tough writer’s skin, taking the rejections as part of the writer’s journey.

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Partners on the Journey

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•You’ve been involved in WORD as well as your critique group, Penwrights, and have been traveling your path to publication with some gifted, generous writers and published authors alongside you. What are some of the greatest benefits you’ve received and the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from these wise men and women?

I think sharing triumphs and rejections with other writers is so important. Networking has great benefits such as learning the framework of the publishing industry.

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The Journey Continues

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•You’re now an award-winning writer. Yay! What are you working on at this time? More Historicals? The same period or another?

I am planning a sequel to In Her Shadow. The setting will be Kansas after the Civil War. There’s a possibility for a third book but that’s not definite yet. I also have an idea for a book that takes place in the 1950s and the setting is Savannah.

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Just for Fun

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•I saw that you’ve attended the ACFW, Blue Ridge Mountain and Mount Hermon Writers conferences, and I’m sure you received excellent instruction. If a generous benefactor were to pay all expenses so you could attend up to five conferences during the next year, which would you chose, and why would you pick them?

What a great question! ACFW, Mt. Hermon, Glorietta, FL Christian Writer’s Conference, & Blueridge Writer’s Conference in NC.

•As a bonus, if you were able to select an author who would attend one of those conferences and conduct a one-on-one mentoring track just for you, whom would you choose and what would you most hope to learn from him/her?

Susan May Warren would be my choice. I’ve attended her classes at the ACFW conference and she’s experienced with teaching as well as being a multi-published author. I would pick her brain about plotting and structuring. Not only that but I’d have a couple of pages of questions to ask as well.

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Conclusion

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I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Vicki.

Thank you for asking me. I’ve enjoyed sharing my writing journey with you and your visitors.

Now it’s your turn to ask your visitors a question. What would you like to know?

I would ask, what kind of hero do you like to see opposite a strong heroine?

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Leave a Comment for Your Chance to Win

One person will win an elegant metal bookmark that reads: “faith . . . now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . . hebrews 11:1.”

I’ll choose a winner from those who leave a comment for Vicki on 4/30 (and include an email address when prompted, which I don’t share) and will post the winner’s name 5/1.

Congratulations to Jill, winner of the drawing.

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faith bookmark

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook!

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by your blog hostess, Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

If you comment on April 30, you’ll be entered in the April contest, with the drawing to take place May 1. If you comment from May 1 through the end of that month, you’ll be entered in the drawing that will take place June 1.

On both May 1 and June 1, Keli will choose one person who will have her choice of several covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your “firstborn” in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, writer interview, writing, writing contests and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Meet Writer Vicki Cato

  1. Jessica says:

    Congrats on the contest placement! And didn’t you get a request with it?
    Sounds like you have some great time periods that you’re working with.

    So, by strong heroine, do you mean stubborn? LOL If so, I think for those kind it’s the laid-back, great-sense-of-humor guy that works best. Just my opinion. 🙂
    Although, I guess all heroines should be strong. So I think maybe the hero should be a man whose strengths are areas where the heroine is weak. If that makes sense.

    Great interview!

  2. Jill says:

    Well done, Vicki. I’m so thrilled about your placement in the 2008 Gotcha Contest. Writing is such a tough job. I’m so glad to be on the journey with you.

    And because I’ve been in some valleys along the way, what’s one piece of advice you can leave for all of us when we get stuck in the valley?

    Love the picture!

  3. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Vicki. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get to know more about you and your writing as we prepared for your interview.

    To answer your question, I think a strong heroine needs a strong hero. That doesn’t mean he has to be a tough-guy alpha male. I’m all for easy-going, easy-on-the-eye beta heroes, too, as long as they have moxie and put it in play when the situation warrants. I like a hero to have traits that complement the heroine’s and want him to be confident enough to push her when she needs it and yet wise enough to know when to back off and let her fight her own battles. And I want him to realize he’ll be a better man with her by his side, even if she is a spunky thing who’s a bit of a handful at times. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this interview Keli and Vicki. And congrats on your placement, Vicki, I’m imagining the dance right now. Such fun!

    Next to a strong heroine, I would love to see an even stronger hero. One that could stop her in her tracks and make her *think*. I love it when the hero is stronger and yet willing to let the heroine shine at times, too.

  5. Kristen says:

    It was so nice to here your writing story. I am an aspiring novelist myself and I always find it helpful to read as much as I write, and I love historical romance set in the south. I just ran across a great book you should check out. It is called Bedlam South by David R. Donaldson and Mark Grisham. I hope you enjoy it.

  6. Anne Barton says:

    Vicki, congrats on your contest placement, and good luck on finishing your latest book! You can do it!

    –Anne

  7. Lynn Rush says:

    Great interview. Congrats on the placement. That’s so exciting!

    I love the strong, silent hero. You know, one who doesn’t say much with words, but you can just know what’s going on with him by his actions. But then, when he does speak, it’s something profound. That’s hard to do with writing, but when I see it, I LOVE IT!

  8. Vicki says:

    Jill asked what piece of advice I have for getting stuck in the valley. I pray first. If it’s getting back into my work after a long abscence, I start with doing a few critiques. Critiquing the work of others has been a tremendous help. I can be more objective with a critique,and often it helps my connect with my own work.

    Vicki

  9. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks for being my guest, Vicki, and sharing your writing journey with us.

    I’ve held the drawing for the faith bookmark, and the winner is Jill.

    Congratulations, Jill. I’ll be in touch.

Comments are closed.