I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Vicky Burkholder. Today, Vicky shares her creative journey and new release, Lost Among the Stars.
What inspired the story?
That’s probably the hardest question to answer. I was just “what iffing” and went through the “what if you were really rich (I wish!) and everyone thinks you have everything going for you. What if you don’t? What if there’s a madman who wants what you have and will do anything—including killing—to get it? What if this all happens on a spaceship so there’s no escape? What if…? Like that. I do a lot of that kind of thinking when I’m working on a book.
In writing Lost Among the Stars, what was the most fun?
I’ll admit it, I’m a nerd. So the research on what makes a planet livable for humans was the most fun for me. I have a master’s degree in library science and absolutely love doing research. So much so that I often get lost in the world building. But… how far does it have to be from a sun? What are the climates like? The land forms? The animals? And so on. I love that stuff.
Are you working on other books in this series?
Yes, definitely. I have two more books to come in this series: “Searching Among the Stars” and “Found Among the Stars”
Did you ever have a character surprise you?
Yes. All the time. I think they’re going to do one thing and…there they go, off on some tangent I never had in mind. And it usually works out better.
Who is your favorite character and why?
It depends on the story I’m writing. In one of my books, “Revenge Among the Stars”, SAMI, the AI, was actually my favorite character because he’s so…human. He’s a computer with attitude. In another (a fantasy with dragons), Crumb is my favorite. In another book, it will be someone else. Each book has someone I love. Someone who will stick in my mind.
What was your funniest moment as an author?
Weird as it may sound, a vacation I took with my family to the ocean. I was in the middle of creating the world for another book and just couldn’t figure out the landscape, so, my kids and I sat on the beach and built a world out of sand, kind of like the guy in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. We built mountains and rivers, towns, everything. People looked at us kind of funny, but it all worked out. The kids and I had a ball and I got my world built. I took pictures of it all to take home before the tide washed it away.
What do you find more challenging about writing than you expected?
Two things: the actual writing and the promotions. I have a ton of stories in my head, but actually sitting down and putting them on paper is often a challenge. There are some days when the words just won’t come. When you stare at the blank screen and wonder what the heck you’re going to write that’s new and different and exciting. If you’re not careful, you can become jaded after a while. And then there’s promoting your books and yourself. For a strong introvert like me who doesn’t travel, this can be the hardest thing in the world to do. But it’s necessary.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
A little of both. I don’t plot the entire story out, but I know where I’m starting and where it’s going and a little of what happens in the middle. It’s a very loose sort of plotting.
What time of day do you feel most creative?
Very early in the morning. I’m definitely a morning person—I’m usually up around five or five-thirty (with no alarm clock) and use that time before my husband is up to write and work. The dark hours before dawn are the best time of day for me. But don’t ask me to do anything after 9:30 p.m. Not going to happen. 😊
When you’re having a problem with a book, what do you do to solve it?
I have an amazing group of writing friends. We call ourselves the Boot Squad because we kick each other’s butts if we’re not getting the work done. Of the five of us, two are my best friends and I can turn to either one of them for brainstorming. They are my worst critics and my best supporters. I’d never be able do what I do without them.
How do you escape death when you are lost in space and a killer is aboard your ship?
Amanda Ki’s humanitarian trip to Xy-Three is fraught with assassins and saboteurs who are popping up faster than she can deal with them. Caught up in a web of intrigue, kidnapping, and terror, Mandy joins forces with the captain of the Phoenix, Declan Chalmers. Declan is tall, dark, handsome, and probably the most arrogant, dictatorial man she has ever met. He’s also one of the few people she can trust. Declan doesn’t know what to expect from the VIP who heads up a million-dollar enterprise, when she boards his ship. The tiny, exotic, and packed full of grit woman is not only drop dead gorgeous and smart, she’s also deadly when it comes to martial arts. A skill he wants on his side when the space craft is sabotaged. Thrown together, the two form a tight bond, but if they aren’t careful, they could end up dead.
Declan took in the woman sitting in front of him, from the long, coal-black hair held back with a tie, to the expensive, but practical jumpsuit. She was everything Declan disliked—a bureaucrat of the worst type—stubborn, fiery, and determined. Revising his earlier thoughts, she was neither old, nor wrinkled, but Dec wasn’t sure about the coddling yet. “There’s no need to thank me. You handled the situation exceedingly well. However,” his voice changed from silky smooth to one of warning, “in the future, please don’t give my crew any orders without checking with me first.”
Miss Ki stared at him. He could see the muscles in her jaw working. Fine, so she was angry. Dec wasn’t exactly happy with the way this trip was starting out either.
“I wasn’t aware I needed your permission to do my job. These people are my responsibility.”
“And this ship and her crew are mine. While you’re on my ship, you will follow my orders. Is that clear, Ms. Ki?”
Mandy stood, bracing her hands on the desk. “Like hell I will. You may be in charge of this ship, but I am in charge of this mission. Is that clear, Captain?” Without waiting for an answer, she stalked from the room.
Author Bio and Links
As her alter-ego, Vicky has multiple homes all over the universe. She looks human – for the most part – but when she starts writing about characters being able to move things or flicking fire from their fingertips, or changing the course of rivers, people tend to get a little freaked out. She found the one guy out there in the universe who loves her for who she is and they’ve been together forever and raised four wonderful (now) adults. Her career includes work as a technical writer/editor, a stringer for the local newspaper, and an editor and copy editor for various publishers. At various times in her life, she has been a teacher, a secretary, a short-order cook, a computer specialist, a DJ, and a librarian. When not editing or writing, she can be found in the kitchen creating gluten free goodies for her family.