Victoria L.K. Williams is the cozy mystery author of the Citrus Beach and Sister Station series.
Linda talks with Victoria L.K. Williams, author of several cozy mystery series.
Victoria L.K. Williams grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries in upstate New York. Now she lives in a small town in sunny Florida with her husband of 37 years and her two controlling cats, Miss Marple and Fletch. Her Citrus Beach Mysteries reflect quite a bit of herself. The Sister Station series reflects the setting of her youth. Both series show a love for small townships where neighbors look out for each other. She loves to garden and writes a gardening blog called “Gossip from the Southern Garden.” Find her and all the stories she writes at VictoriaLKWilliams.com, and go to payhip.com/VictoriaLKWilliams to buy her books.
Get to know Victoria: The Tart Words Baker's Dozen
1. Plotter or Pantser?
A bit of both! I plot a chapter by chapter outline of 1 or 2 sentences, completely open to change as the story develops.
2. Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the morning and evening, iced tea during the day, hot tea depends on the weather and my mood.
3. Beer, Wine, or Cocktails?
Once in a while a glass of wine
4. Snacks: Sweet or Savory?
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!
5. Indie Published, Traditionally Published, or Hybrid?
6. Strict Writing Schedule: Yes or No
Ha! I write when I can squeeze it in!
7. Strictly Computer or Mix It Up?
Dictate on my phone, and then work on the computer to shape it up
8. Daily Goal: Yes or No
No, but I do try to write something every day
9. Formal Track Progress: No
10. Special Writing Spot?
When dictating, anywhere-usually outside, then my office for the rest
11. Writer’s Block? Never
12. File of Ideas: Yes or No
13. Favorite Author(s)?
Agatha Christie, Nora Roberts
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Transcribed by Otter.ai, lightly edited by Linda. Please excuse any typos or grammar errors.
Episode 101 - Victoria L.K. Williams
Welcome to Tart Words. I'm your host, Linda Hengerer. And I'm a writer, a reader and a baker. I talk to writers about their latest book and what inspires them. Chat with fellow author Suzanne Fox about what writers can learn from reading their favorite authors, and share fast and easy recipes for anyone looking for a sweet treat. Join me as I share tart bites, tart thoughts and tart words. My guest today is Victoria L.K. Williams, who grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries in upstate New York. Now she lives in a small town in sunny Florida with her husband of 37 years and her two controlling cats Miss Marple and Fletch. Her Citrus Beach mysteries reflect quite a bit of herself. The Sister Station series reflects the setting of her youth. Both series show a love for small townships where neighbors look out for each other. She loves to garden and writes a gardening blog called “Gossip from the Southern Garden.” Find her and all the stories she writes at VictoriaLKWilliams.com.
Welcome Vicki. How are you?
Great. How are you doing, Linda?
I'm fine. Thanks. We both write a series set in the fictional Citrus Beach. I know how I came up with my city name. How did you come up with yours?
I knew I wanted it to be a Florida setting. And I just started researching what was not taken. And at the time, Citrus Beach was not there was nothing in that realm. And I wanted it to be revolved around the area I live in, which is, as you said, a small town it sounds long along the Indian River, where citrus is a huge industry.
That's the same process I went through. Note to listeners, Vicki and I live in the same... I don't want to call it a small town because it's a decent-sized city. But it is not Miami. It's not Fort Lauderdale. And one of the reasons why I picked this area to write about is also because it's not Miami or Fort Lauderdale. I wanted something less developed but on the ocean.
I agree 100%. My same reasoning.
We think a lot of like sometimes
Tell me about your latest book.
My latest book, which I just finished, is number six of a series of six about a battle between a mermaid and a sea witch. That of course involves a few murders, some puzzles, and
even some pirates.
That sounds exciting. How did you get involved in that?
I just love to sit along the intercoastal and just watch and it was watching the dolphins. And I just started my mind started going as a Do you really believe in mermaids? And from there the story just developed? Because you can't have a story without a murder or mystery?
Of course not. I find that a murder really lends itself to right. So we do it with our words rather than with our reactions. That's right, much safer. Plus it’s less likely to land us in jail. So where did the idea for your main character come from?
The biggest thing about my main character, she's a little bit of a reflection of me. She loves the water, but she's afraid of it. So I know why I'm afraid of it. When I was a youngster, I took a dare from my cousin and I almost drowned trying to swim across a small pond. But in the story, I've given my main character a little bit more of a sinister reason, which of course, is the sea witch and the curse that she's placed on her family.
Oh, I like that. And you said you got the idea when you're watching the dolphins, what else plays into where your book ideas come from?
Just being in this setting, it's peaceful. People do the craziest things, whether it's because they're coming down from the north, and they let their inhibition go and just figure nobody's gonna know. Or just human nature comes out in the heat. I'm not sure what it is. But I observed and I see a lot of things that happen.
That's interesting. I thought the same thing about the heat making people do crazy things. And Florida has a somewhat transient nature. There's a lot of people who are not from here and I think that helps free people of their inhibitions
and it also helps them bring their baggage with them to inflict on the rest of us.
Yeah. Aren't we lucky? When you're writing, do you ever base your victims or any of your characters on people that you know or have read about in real life like in the news?
Not specifically my character's some they're definitely a figment of my imagination. But some of the situations they find themselves in have definitely come from situations that happen in real life. And then the towns themselves. They're fictional. But if you know the area, you can pick out pieces that are real, without any problems.
I agree, I do the same thing. And I make sure that good things happen in real places and bad things happen in places that I make up.
Yes. You don't want to offend anybody.
Now, and I don't want to make casual readers of a series think that bad things have happened in real places. Do you have a writing routine or schedule? No, not
at all. I write when I get the opportunity because I run a full-time landscaping business. So if I have an hour in between appointments, I will stop and just dictate into my phone. And then when I get home, if I have time, I'll take care of it from there. The summertime is more of my writing time,
because that's traditionally less busy. Yes, yeah, a lot of our population are what we call snowbirds, where they have a winter home down in Florida, and then they go back up north to where their main home might be for the summertime. So there definitely is an ebb and flow to the population in our area, you'd mentioned that you dictate into your phone, what particular writing software do you use,
I use Dragon Anywhere, which is wonderful, because it can well, it knows my voice because I had it at home as well on a regular computer. But it can do a lot of your editing as you go, once you train yourself how to use it. They call it Train Your Dragon, you learn to say comma, and period and next line, and it becomes second nature. And when it comes down to the editing, it goes much smoother.
Very nice. Because you don't have to edit in those punctuation marks and whatever.
How long did it take you to train your dragon?
Not long, I think I have a habit of talking to myself, at least maybe not out loud, but definitely in my head. And then I had years and years of practice playing with my Barbies. So very make-up stories. And you know, it just becomes second nature to tell it
Do you outline?
Yes, at first, I was a little leery about outlining. But I'm now using a program called Plottr. And I can plot as much as pages or simple sentences, which I tend to go somewhere right in between with paragraphs. And that way my plots can change as the characters dictate. And I can move things around very easily.
Nice. I'm familiar with plotter too, and I really love using it. It goes great with Scrivener,
the two of them just go hand in hand. It's wonderful.
I have Scrivener too and I've never really gotten into it. I've tried and I keep going back to Word. And I think it's partly a resistance to getting fully into Scrivener and embracing it as my go-to tool. I use it for other things like I've used it to format a particular type of file, but I tend to write in word but I do love plotter.
Yeah, I love Scrivener i that is definitely my writing tool, because I use it to show even color code things. So I can go to show viewpoints. I can use it to show what characters are getting more time on the pages and others, you have the ability to show as much detail as you want about your characters on character pages. So what happens is you have all your information in one spot, which is wonderful.
What’s next for you? You said this is book six of a six book series.
I'm ready to start the next series and it's called Professor Higgins Investigates. And it's more of a gardening book. I thought it was time that I got into a gardening mystery series. And I'm taking it a little ways away from the beach, but still in Florida. I'm thinking more along the lines of the Gainesville area. Pretty! Yeah, it's so pretty out there. And I've never written about anything up there. So I thought it was time to do something different. And of course there's a cat. That's who Professor Higgins has named Harry. And there's a lot of play on the characters from My Fair Lady, which was one of my favorite movies. So I when I saw the name Professor Higgins, I
just had to go with it. And if it's based on My Fair Lady, is there a protégé of Professor Higgins that he's trying to bring along?
No, Professor Higgins is… I'm switching role reversal. Professor Higgins is Eliza.
That's a twist.
Yeah, I just want to have fun with it. So we still have the lovesick one that wanted to take Eliza away from everything. And he's going to be a little bit more dubious in the care in the flow. So it's still working things out. But here is it Professor Higgins, who's is actually in the movie is Harry Higgins is actually the cat.
Very interesting. I look forward to reading that.
I'm gonna, I'm looking forward to writing.
I bet you are. And I like the beginning of a series when everything is possible, and you're making all the decisions by the time you get a few books into a series decisions have been made that you are I don't want to say stuck with but that you have to incorporate and think about, you can't just make decisions willy nilly for what your characters are going to do, when you've already established how they are. Absolutely. What else is going on, you had just moved all your books on to pay hip is
yet pay hip is Draft2Digital or any of those, Oh, okay. But the difference is that you link it with your website, your personal website so that you can sell books directly without having to go through Amazon or Barnes and Noble or any of those, which, for me, I love because I can send coupons and discounts to my email list. And then my readers can get sales and you know, flash counts on my books, when I want them to I don't have to wait to be approved by anybody. You know, waiting for that elusive BookBub or anything like that, I can determine whether I want to give them 10% or 95% off my book. And, and for how long it could be a one-day sale, or it could be a week or it could be forever, which is going to be fun. I haven't gotten into it too much. But I'm looking forward to playing with it.
It sounds excellent. I'll put the link in the show notes for this episode. Where else can your readers find you
the easiest place to find me is just to go right to my website, which is www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com. And that will take you to all of my connections, Facebook, my blogs, and then all the sales areas as
well. Okay, and people can sign up for your email newsletter there. Yeah.
And you can find out what I'm working on and have a connection to the blogs and because I do a writing blog, which is all interviewing different authors, and then my gardening blog.
Thank you for coming on the tart words podcast, Vicki, and I look forward to reading your books in the future.
Thank you very much for having me, Linda.
Thank you for joining me this week. To view the complete show notes and the links mentioned in today's episode, visit tart words.com/101. Before you go subscribe to the podcast so you can receive new episodes when they're released. Subscribe now in the app you're using to listen to this podcast or you can sign up for email alerts through an easy signup form at TartWords.com/About. Thank you again for joining me, Linda Hengerer, for this episode of Tart Words.
Victoria L.K. Williams grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries in upstate New York. Now she lives in a small town in sunny Florida with her husband of 37 years and her two controlling cats, Miss Marple and Fletch. Her Citrus Beach Mysteries reflect quite a bit of herself. The Sister Station series reflects the setting of her youth. Both series show a love for small townships where neighbors look out for each other. She loves to garden and writes a gardening blog called “Gossip from the Southern Garden.” Find her and all the stories she writes at VictoriaLKWilliams.com, and go to https://payhip.com/VictoriaLKWilliams to buy her books.