I was born and raised in the Niagara Falls area of New York State. I had a typical childhood with great parents and a loving extended family. I met my husband in high school where we became best friends, and after we graduated from college we got married. I have one son who is in his third year of college. Two demanding cats make up the rest of the household. I have been doing some form of landscape design for over 30 years, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. I currently live in South Florida, on the Atlantic coast in a small-town where you know your neighbours. I love to be outdoors and thankfully my job keeps me there.
Q: Who is the real Vicki Williams?
A: An Amazon Princess coming to the rescue of those who need her, without getting her hair messed up…… Sorry that’s Wonder Woman, not me. I guess you could describe me more as a watcher than a doer. I love to spend time observing and listening to what is going on around me. You can find some great storylines when you open your ears and listen. I must be honest, people are fun to watch. I enjoy being around others, but more in a 1 to 1 setting. I’m a professed chocoholic and probably the worst speller you’ll ever meet. (Thank God for dictation and spellcheck)
Q: You own a gardening service in Florida, called Botanical Concepts. Is this something that you and your husband do together and what is your function within the company?
A: From the very beginning the company has been my own. I started it 17 years ago when my son was a small toddler, because I wanted to be able to spend time with him when I needed to. My husband has always been in the background helping me where he can. He, too has a background in horticulture, he was a grower in Palm Beach for over 20 years. My function in the company is “Jack of all Trades” I do the design work, oversee the installation and then go back for a maintenance program for my customers. And then there’s the paperwork….
Q: Do you also grown the plants that you use in your landscaping services or do you buy these in?
A: I buy in all my product. That way I can pick and choose the best for my clients. After being in the nursery industry for so long, I knew when I started my business I did not want to be on the growing end of things. Too many Christmas eves were spent when my husband was a grower, watching the weather, worrying about a possible frost.
Q: It is not often one has 2 authors in one family. Tell us about your husband’s book.
A: Don has written a nonfiction book about landscaping in Florida. It’s called the Pocket Guide to Florida Landscape. It is geared to the newcomers to Florida, who may not know what they are getting themselves into. A couple of the local garden centres are carrying his book, and it is going over well. I’m very proud of him.
Q: You have written at least 7 cozy mysteries. One series takes place in a mythical place called Citrus Beach, the other the Sister Station Series. How different are these two series?
A: About as different as night and day. The cozy mysteries, Citrus Beach Mysteries, I started because I love reading a good mystery and it seemed like a natural fit for me. It is set in Florida in a fictional town made up of all my favourite places. The Sister Station Series is written about two sisters who moved back north to take over a family business. The interactions of the two sisters as they adjust to a small town and get to know their neighbours is the premise of these books. Sister Station is women’s literature with Christian overtones. I wrote the first of these books after my father died as a personal tribute to him. He worked on the railroad a good portion of his life, and these books are centred around a rail station.
Q: One of my favourite movies is The Constant Gardener. Have you ever been tempted to plot more of your cozy mysteries around your gardening passion?
A: When you read my books you will find that gardening is a big part of them. Each of the main characters is drawn to a garden in some way; either by job (Citrus Beach Mysteries), a hobby (Sister Station), or more of a supernatural call (Storm Voices). I think because gardening is such a big part of my life it naturally finds its way into my writing.
Q: Being such a busy lady, when do you write and how long does it take to write your book? Where do you get your ideas from?
A: Finding time to write? You don’t find time – you make time! Sometimes that means sacrificing something else to do it. I’m a night owl and my husband is not, so after he retires for the evening, I find if I turn the TV off I can get my writing in. I also use dictation on my cell phone, so when I’m in-between appointments, or sitting at the causeway for lunch, I can get a scene written down quickly to go over later.
I do both NaNoWrMo and the two camps every year. That gives me the potential for three books a year. Since I am a natural procrastinator (my husband calls me the Queen of procrastination) the challenge from NaNo works perfectly for me. It may take me a year or more to get it to publication, but the rough draft is done at the end of the challenge.
I think a large percent of my ideas have come from dreams. The rest? By observing what is going on around me; a conversation that I’ve heard, something I’ve seen, I can find plenty of potential material. Then I start wondering “what if?” and the ideas escalates from there.
Q: Is there anything you have regretted with regards to your writing career?
A: My biggest regret is that I didn’t start sooner and that I didn’t believe in myself. I was lucky, after my first book I found a great mentor and she has encouraged me in so many ways.
Q: At what time in your life did you decide that you wanted to write and what was the impetus for doing so?
A: As a kid I wrote all the time. There were always notebooks of flash-fiction in my school backpack mixed in with my homework. But that all got pushed aside as I grew up and life got in the way. I started writing again about three years ago. I was with a group of business associates and the question came up “what would you do if you didn’t have to work?” My answer came out (and surprised even me) “Write a book and have one person read it”. That wonderful group of friends held me accountable and encouraged me to write. When you’re faced with somebody asking you every week “Have you started that book yet?”, eventually you do start. And I’m so glad I did because I’m loving every minute of it.
Q: What are you writing at the moment?
A: I’m currently working on the final stages of editing the 8th book in the Citrus Beach Mystery series; The Flapper Caper. I’m also working on the new series called Storm Voices. My main character has an encounter with lightning with unusual results. I termed that lightning strike a “Fairy Kiss” and, using her new abilities, I’m trying to weave a little bit of fantasy and paranormal into a mystery. I’m excited about this series because I’m writing in the first person and it’s the first time I’ve done this. Since I’m constantly talking to myself, it feels very natural. Book 1 is done, and I will be doing book 2 as my camp NaNo challenge. I would love to have 3 books completed in the series before releasing the first one, hopefully by the end of the year. We shall see…