Victoria Landis is a professional writer, editor, and artist. A 16-year member, and former board member, of Mystery Writers of America, she Co-Chaired the SleuthFest Writers Conference from 2015-2018. She’s taught at SleuthFest, the Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, and the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University. She’s here today to talk about her novel, Jordan, among other things. Visit her website at www.VictoriaLandis.com.

Welcome to BloggerNews, Victoria. Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Jordan. When did you start writing and what got you into thrillers?

Thank you. And thank you for this interview. I dabbled with writing up through high school, then life interfered in a big way. I didn’t take it up seriously until I was in my mid-forties. I’m an eclectic author. I write humor, mystery/suspense, general fiction, thriller, and I’m now working on a historical thriller. I love them all and welcome the challenge of writing in multiple genres.

What is your book about?

Jordan is the story of a young woman, Jordan Crissman, who goes missing for three years and returns with the power to heal people by simply touching them. She and Petra Simmons quickly form a strong friendship bond and, with a close group of friends, they try to plot out a way to allow Jordan to heal people without causing a riot. In the current era of everything going viral, it doesn’t take long for things to get out of hand and chaos to erupt.

What was your inspiration for it?

As a child, I wanted to do two things—fly and heal people by touch. No matter how hard I concentrated, however, neither of those things happened. The healing thing came back to me a few years ago, and I began to wonder what would happen if someone actually tried to manage that with social media the way it is.

What type of challenges did you face while writing this book?

I think trying to not offend people with deep devotion to their religion. Jordan’s stance on religion isn’t what most people would expect from someone with her ability, and, in the book, they let her know it.

Did your book require a lot of research?

Not a lot, no. I’m a history nut anyway, so I’ve read non-fiction history books for years. Writing Jordan required some brushing up on biblical history/controversy. For thirteen years, my day job was faux painting, murals, and special effects painting in some of the most exclusive homes in the Boca Raton area. I’d be in the home for days to weeks at a time, and I’m very quiet. So they’d forget I was there. I heard phone calls, meetings, arguments, etc. I absorbed a lot about the uber-wealthy and their lifestyles, and that informed my creation of the multi-national conglomerate-owning Teigh brothers and their amazing, fictional compound in Boca. There’s a map of the fictional estate on the Jordan page of my website.

What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?

Go do any of a zillion tasks waiting for me. Housework, errands, etc. Usually, an idea or two comes to me while I’m doing those things.

Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to right. Can you relate to this?

Not really. My anxiety comes while I’m waiting for feedback from someone I really want to like my book. Then I always wish I had a Xanax prescription.

Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?

Sort of? Not a set schedule. Every day is different. But I am disciplined in that I know my deadlines, take the commitments I’ve made seriously, and always get back to the writing as soon as I can.

What was your publishing process like?

Fairly smooth. The industry is changing constantly, so I try to keep up with the latest news. I think the hardest part of the publishing process is proofreading the book. Even after so many sets of eyes have scoured it, once there’s a physical proof copy in your hands, there are always more typos/mistakes to catch. And we catch them, but yikes. It’s tedious. By that time, I’ve read the darned thing uncountable times, and it’s hard to pay attention.

How do you celebrate the completion of a book?

You know, I’m not sure I ever have ‘celebrated’ when I type ‘The End’. Maybe because until it’s actually in print, it doesn’t feel like it’s completed? When I finish one, it’s been through the critique group, then I give it to my beta readers. They usually have some comments that make me rethink a couple of things and make tweaks. I do celebrate at the launch/first book signings, though. My book release ‘thing’ is to make my triple chocolate cake and from-scratch, secret recipe chocolate chip cookies for each one. I also always keep an emergency bottle of Champagne in the fridge, just in case of something amazing happening.

How do you define success?

When a perfect stranger contacts me and tells me they couldn’t put my book down. That is a successful conclusion to all that work. There is nothing better.

What do you love most about the writer’s life?

Creating stories, characters, and worlds. Also the fantastic people I’ve met along the way. I met some of my dearest friends at writers’ conferences and meetings. Writers, in general, are so much fun to hang around with. They’re smart and quick-witted, and we laugh a lot.

What is your advice for aspiring authors?

Read, read, read. Eavesdrop. Keep notes. Understand that you don’t know what you don’t know. Listen to people with experience. Keep your ego in check. Don’t pester big-name authors, like asking them to read your manuscript (unless they are your brother-in-law or college roommate, etc.) Go to conferences. Be polite to everyone.

George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Thoughts?

I’m not sure I agree with him. It’s a lot of work, and it can be terribly frustrating at times. But I’ve done serious hard physical labor, and I’ve been bare-bones broke as a single mother with two little boys with zero help and a physically abusive ex-spouse. Compared to that, this is a day in the park.

What’s on the horizon for you?

Book two in the Jordan series (there will be three) which takes us thirty-odd years into the future and a historical thriller set in 1400s Toulouse, France.

Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Yes. Thank you for supporting not only authors, but the people who take the time out of their lives to publish blogs like Blogger News. Also, if you like my books, please leave a review on any of the various sites where readers go to find new books? It can be short and simple, and it helps others to find my books.

Thank you so much, Blogger News! This was fun.

 

 

 

 

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