THE SISTERS' SONG coming in January 2018 from Allen and Unwin. Sign up to be the first to know. x Louise

Welcome to the second week of Writers in the Attic for 2017. Today, another interstate guest joins me—Vikki Holstein. Vikki is a romance writer, but of romance with a twist. I admire her ‘I’ll show them’ attitude, and that she’s prepared to take a risk and has dared to be different. 

Her story of the road to publication and its pitfalls is inspiring. Please read on:

 

 

Vikki has been writing for seventeen years and Hold Back is her seventh completed romance novel. She has also written children’s stories, short stories, the first book of a fantasy trilogy, and the first book in a YA trilogy. Her writing is Contemporary Rural Romance, but has been described as Dark Romance.

Vikki finds inspiration in the everyday life of country Australia, the people around her, and her past. With another six projects in the early stages of being written, plus too many to count on the fringes, Vikki can see a long career ahead of her.

She can be reached on her Facebook page here or at her blog here.

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Writing Alternative Romance 

 

The goal of being published overshadowed the pleasure of creating the story, the lives of my characters.

 

I grew up learning the benefits of escapism through reading and making up my own stories. Books gave me a vision of a life without fear, without having to hide from an uncle who did things he shouldn’t have.

Although I didn’t take a career as a writer seriously until after my third child was born, I was an avid reader of anything and everything I could get my hands on.

After being disillusioned by the last romance I’d read because they never seemed to hit the hard notes of life, I decided it was time to put pen to paper, and write the stories that seemed to be lacking in the romance world. Ones with heroines who did more than swoon, more than let the man save them. Ones with heroines who had been through some of the ugly things life can throw at them, and still came out the other end with their happy ever after.

Easy, right?

The rejection of the first draft of the first manuscript came as a jolt.

Looking back, I can see where I went wrong. Expecting a freshly written manuscript to be picked up was not only egotistical, but laughable. (Though the rejection went along the lines of ‘we would be interested in seeing future works’.)

Picking myself up, I held the I’ll show them attitude close as I tried my hand at a fantasy. Again rejections came, and again, looking back, I can see the mistakes still being made by my fledgling writer self.

The goal of being published overshadowed the pleasure of creating the story, the lives of my characters.

Worse still, I shied away from what really needed to be written.

At heart, I’m a romance writer. It took years to not cringe or blush when asked what kind of books I wrote. I’m a romantic at heart, but I’m not afraid to tell the story how it is. My characters face the nitty-gritty of life and deal with the invisible scars that abuse invariably brands on the mind and heart.

As I struggle, so do my characters, with a myriad of mental illnesses while trying to find their way through life. They face, and hopefully break, the stigmas around abuse, child abuse, and mental health issues.

Based in rural Victoria, I combine my other passions with my writing. Horses have, and always will, play a big role in my life. Every book I’ve written has at least one horse in it.

Although my children are now adults and have lives of their own, camping trips to fossick for gems, or noodle for opals, or just see the countryside, are constant. These trips fill my notebooks with ideas, my soul with inspiration.

When not on a camping trip, music serves as a muse. With a playlist that includes rock, country, pop, alternative, and songs the kids have added, I like nothing more than an empty house, the music loud, and to sink into my latest work in progress.

My project for the past four years has been the White Wattle series. Five books that follow a group of friends in a small town as they face the different paths life lays before them.

My goal is still for my books to be published, however I’m not so quick to make the same mistakes my earlier self did. Hold Back, the first book of the White Wattle series is on its third major rewrite, and I’ve lost count of the number of edits.

I hope my writing reaches people who can identify with my character, and fills that gap I saw lacking all those years ago.

 

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I hope you enjoyed reading Vikki’s piece and feel inspired to write your own.

If you’d like to write for Writers in the Attic, 600-1000 words is a good length, and the topic is ‘Your writing life’ or ‘What writing means to you’, or anything that touches on writing, really.

I’m booked until mid-March, but please send one in as that time will fly and I’d love to post your story.

I acknowledge the time and effort involved in writing these pieces by sending a small gift as a thank you.

If you’re interested, please contact me by clicking here.

 

'The Sisters' Song' is coming in January 2018.


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