1) Velda, you have helped so many neophyte writers, myself included. Who inspired you when you were starting out?
Long ago I met a young woman while shopping at a craft outlet. She had just returned from a writer’s conference in New York and was bubbling over about it. I had just finished the first draft of my first novel. We mutually agreed to meet every Saturday alternately at my art studio and her home. She lived out in the boonies and they were literally living like people did 100 years ago. Well, you don’t want to hear her story, but she was the first to actually help me dissect and rewrite my first work. Her name was Josie and she disappeared one night and was never heard from again. No, she wasn’t murdered, she just left her husband without telling anyone.
Since that time I’ve had several mentors. Douglas C. Jones and his wife Mary liked my book and got me my first agent. Of course, Dusty Richards has boosted me many times when I wasn’t sure I could continue. He and Lisa Wingate actually put me in front of an editor, an action which resulted in my first New York contract. That first novel never sold, but I keep it as a reminder that one is only the beginning of our journey to hone our craft. It’s rare to sell a first novel, that would be like an intern performing heart surgery. Well, maybe not quite the same, but you get the idea. I’m also grateful to everyone who attends our weekly critique gathering, for I learn something from each of them.
2) And, if you could give just one piece of advice to new authors, what would you tell them?
If you truly love to write and it’s not something you’re doing to get rich or famous, then persevere. Be open to learning something new always. I love the saying, “The road to success is littered with quitters.” You can’t fail unless you quit.
3) Of all the wonderful characters you’ve created over the years, who’s your favorite?
This is harder than choosing the favorite of my books. I write about tough women, those who stand up to adversity and never back down. Choosing one is difficult. There’s 17 year old Tressie who saw her mother die in childbirth, buried her and the baby and managed to survive a life filled with hardship, happiness, sorrow, loss and love. She was the heroine in Montana Promises, my first published novel. I suppose she’ll always have a special place in my heart because I lived with her for so long. Sometimes I actually imagine what she might be doing now. We writers are a bit weird sometimes, aren’t we?
4) If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be? And why?
An alpha wolf. Because she lives in a structured society, is the matriarch of her pack, gets to choose a mate and runs with him while someone else takes care of family matters including her offspring. Imagine racing through the night alongside a huge alpha male, sitting together on a mountaintop howling at a full moon, playing and mating in the wilderness.
Did I go too far there?
That might be a perfect lead-in to one of my current books, Wolf Song, which is available here: http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_wolfsong.html
I like readers to purchase the book from my publisher, it looks better for me and keeps them in business. It’s available as an Ebook only presently.
My website where readers can find first chapters and other information: http://www.veldabrotherton.com