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Interview With Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author with 18 novels and novellas published and 2 more coming this fall. In the 2009 Heartsong Present's annual readers' contests, Vickie was voted third favorite Heartsong author, and two of her Heartsong books finished in the top three of their categories. Vickie's favorite genre to read and write is historical romance, and her books promise An Adventure into Romance.

Vickie, you have a new book that just came out, The Anonymous Bride, that is a big step for you, isn't it? You are the Queen of the Novella and now you have this great stand alone series that you have begun. How excited are you about this?

It's tremendously exciting, especially since I've gotten such wonderful feedback about it. I've enjoyed writing these longer books, although I will admit they've been a challenge at times since I'm used to writing shorter books. The characters have been a delight to get to know and have made me laugh and cry. I'm excited about the upcoming release of book two in the series, Second Chance Brides, in September. Readers will be able to find out what happened to two of the brides leftover from the bride contest in book one, as well as follow Rachel and Luke's journey as newlyweds and see more antics from Jack, Rachel's young daughter.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication
To be honest, I believe it was joining ACFW. I knew very little about writing and the publishing field when I first joined back in 2001. I took the online courses, read the books that were recommended on the loop, and participated in chats, as well as attending classes and writers' groups locally. I fully believe I'm a product of networking. I met some ladies on the ACFW loop, Andrea Boeshaar and Cathy Marie Hake, who took an interest in my writing and joined with me to get to my first novella collection published. I know God directed me into the field of writing even though I never planned to be a writer, but ACFW helped me get the tools I needed to get to the point where my writing was publishable.

What's your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other
Besides writing, I'm primary caregiver to my 84 year old mother, who can't leave her house without assistance, and I babysit my granddaughter once a week all day. Also, three of my four sons still live here, but we won't discuss that topic. Sitting down to write is hard when I know there are so many other things that need my attention. I just have to force myself to ignore the other things and focus on my writing, especially when I have a deadline looming. Often times, this involves lots of prayers and requests for God to give me a creativity surge.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect
your storytelling?
I love exciting books with lots of adventure, but I can't see myself ever writing a novel that doesn't have a faith element in it. I'm not the kind of person who's comfortable approaching people and talking about my faith, but writing has given me an outlet to reach people I will never meet. I know a lady who became a Christian after reading a Christian fiction book and that has greatly encouraged me. I hope to entertain readers with my stories, but also to encourage them that there's nothing they've done or gone through for which God won't forgive them.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing
It was really awesome and a bit scary to hold my first book in my hands, but probably one of the greatest moments for me was receiving a contract from Becky Germany and Tracie Peterson at the ACFW conference for my first Heartsong book and having my friends there to rejoice with me. Another one was finishing as third Favorite Author in Heartsong Presents Annual Readers' Contest last year. There are so many excellent authors who write for Heartsong, that I felt truly honored to be on the list at all. And third, was getting the contract for my first full-length novel.

Who/What spurs you to write?
I tell people that God "shoved" me into the writing field. I'd never planned to become a writer, but I had prayed for years for a home business so that I could work from home and be there when my boys needed me. I never expected God to answer that prayer in the form of writing books. What spurs me on is that I want to be faithful to what He's called me to do at this time in my life. My husband, Robert, has also been a tremendous encouragement, as have my critique partners.

Where do your story and character ideas come from?
Everywhere. They may come from something I've seen on television or in a movie, from newspapers, a song, something I overheard someone say. Kind of like pollen in Oklahoma, ideas are everywhere.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
One thing, I've been told I write male characters well, and I believe that comes from raising four sons. Another thing is that I have a quirky sense of humor, which often comes out in my writing. 

Finish this question. What do you want to leave your readers thinking
when they are done reading one of your books?
I want them to be able to close the book and say, "Ah..." and then be sorry the story has ended. I also want them to be encouraged in their faith walk and to know they aren't alone in whatever struggles they may be going through.

Any parting words?
I've been on both ends of Christian fiction. When I was raising my boys, Christian fiction became my escape time--my "me" time. I traveled to places I'll never be able to visit, to times past and future, and with each story, I was encouraged. God has blessed me now to be on the writing side, and I hope that my books will help readers as I've been helped.

For you who are not yet published, keep up the good work. Apply yourself diligently to learning the writing craft, get involved with local or online writers' groups so that you have some support, and then sit down and write. You may be amazed at what God can do with a willing soul.

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