About Me

My photo
Welcome to Heartstrings.Thanks for stopping by. I am a mother, a grandmother, and an author of historical western romance and contemporary romantic fiction. Ethan's Heart, book one of The Blackwood Brothers' series won the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence. Book two, Escorting Darby Bloom, features Blackwood brother Isaac and will be released in December 2017. Stay tuned for more books in this series. If contemporaries are more your thing, check out Carly's Rule and Dusty's Fate. They are both Amazon Best-Sellers.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Interview with Vicki Hinze, award-winning, multi-published author and lecturer.

 1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a wife, mom and grandmother who loves all things writing.

2.  What inspired you to write your first book?

Both my mom and dad loved to read.  I started doing political essays--it was a game with my dad--very early on.  Later, I wrote poetry, but I learned quickly, I need room to stretch.  I wrote a couple short stories but required more than stretching room, I needed the space to sprawl.  So I tried a novel.  Hubby, who was military, had already moved to what would become our new home.  I was working full time (Director of Operations for a corporate chain) and the kids were with me finishing out the school year--it was the worst possible time to take on a big project like a novel, so of course, that's exactly when I did it.  Novels fit perfectly.  I wrote one, and then another and another . . . and I just haven't stopped.

 3.  You've written in many different sub-genres of romance, including contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance, not to forget the inspirational and technical books.  Of all that you have written, do you have a favorite genre or sub-genre?

I have written a lot of different types of novels.  I love genre-blending and blazing trails.  The most sure-fire way to get me to try something "different" is to tell me it can't be done.  Then I've just got to go for it.  As far as a favorite genre, I hesitate to name one.  I love suspense, mystery and a little romance in a book.  I love books that inspire.  So all my books regardless of what genre they're in, or including those not classified in a genre, have those things in common.  I can't say suspense or mystery or thriller or romance is my favorite.  It takes them all, and I'm not picky about which one the story focuses intensely on.  Sometimes it's the thriller element.  Sometimes it's the suspense.  Sometimes it's the romance.  So long as a book is well done with all those elements, I'm happy.  Guess that means my favorite is the "suspense and mystery and thriller and romance" genre where the stories heal the broken and inspire.  Whew, that's long-winded, but it is accurate.

4.  What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?

Many have had strong influences on me.  My mother.  She loved books, and encouraged me ceaselessly in writing.  Steadfast support.  That was priceless.  Nina Coombs-Pyakarre mentored me, and still today I ask myself what she'd think about this or that in my books.  If what I've done is up to her standards.  (Nina bled red ink on many a page for me for a very long time.  She was hard but fair and never permitted good enough to be good enough.)

Along the road, there have been many others.  Many, many others, and I'm grateful to each and every one of them.

5.  What is the most difficult or challenging part of the writing process for you?

Coloring between the lines.  I like many different kinds of books and I want to write--and have written--many different types of books.  That's frustrating to editors who need the same kind of book only different rather than different and different and different.  I can do that--write the same kind of book--I've just chosen not to do it very often.  I love the challenge of blazing trails and trying different kinds of books to see if I can do them.  Totally love that.  It's not the easiest way to build a career, but I wasn't and still am not just interested in building a career, I'm interested in building a life.  Writing is a huge part of my life--very important to me.  To live that life well, I can't color within the lines all the time.  It just doesn't work for me that way.  So I go where I'm drawn to go and do what I'm drawn to do and hope for the best.  :-)

6.  What is your writing schedule like?  For example, do you write any time of the day or do you prefer a specific time of day?  Do you write for a specific amount of hours or a set amount of pages?

I have written all those ways.  When the kids were small and still home, I had to be extremely disciplined about writing time.  I'd get up at o'dark thirty and write for an hour or two before getting the kids up and off to school and leaving for work.  Then after dinner and homework and getting them down for the night, I'd write some more.  Now my schedule on writing is more relaxed.  It depends on where I am in the story.  If fevered, I work until I fall asleep at the computer.  If not, I try to get fevered.  It makes for the best stories.  The long and short of it is that I schedule deadlines out far enough that I'm generally done way before deadlines.  Occasionally something will happen that pushes me against the wall on them, but then I just buckle down and get the book written.  If that means writing nearly around the clock, then that's what it means.  (I hate the idea of being late.  To me, it's just rude to mess up other people's schedules unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.)

7.  How long does it take you to finish a book?

It depends on the book.  Some are very quick--a month, maybe two.  Others are  years.  The fastest I've written one start to finish is two weeks.  The longest--well, I've rewritten one five times and I still don't like it.  The vision in my head doesn't match that on paper.  I first wrote it in 1995.  I'll let you know when it's finally done.  On an average, four to five months is good.  But it truly depends on the book and the vision for it.  If it's clear and comes full blown, it's fast.  If it's nebulous and murky, it takes longer.  You can't predict, book to book.  Or I can't.  What I can say is that it takes what it takes to get it the best you can make it at that time.

8.  Do you ever experience writer's block?  If so, how do you cope with it?

I haven't, but I've only been writing a little over two decades, so it might be it just hasn't hit me yet.  I know it's real, it happens.  I know writers who have suffered horribly.  But for me the challenge is an abundance of stories I want to write, need to write, must write.  I have the opposite of writer's block.  It can be a mess too, because you must focus and be disciplined to get things done.

I think the reason I've avoided block thus far is I'm constantly refilling the creative well.  I love people.  Love to study them, watch them, listen to them, figure out what makes them tick, what ticks them off, what fires them up, leaves them cold.  I am into issues and anything to do with healing.  I love science and history and so many other things.  It's all so interesting.  I have to work at it to cap my creative well long enough to hang onto thought and ideas that pertain to the book at hand.

9.  Are you a plotter or panster?  If you're a plotter, do you have any plotting tips?

I'm both.  For a long time, I plotted.  I was writing in spurts and it was hard to recall what happened when and details.  So by using a plot board--squares on a page where each square is a scene in a chapter--it made spurt writing easier.  I spent much less time reviewing what I'd already written.  That was helpful and a great time-saver.  I've also written books where I had no idea what would happen next.  I had to write to find out.  Those are fun.  Again, it depends on the book and what is going on in my life.  I rarely get to write one book at a time.  That makes plotting helpful.

A great tip, in my opinion, is to respect the way your mind works and use whatever methods are in harmony with it.  To some, plotting equates to the story being done.  The desire to write the story diminishes because the writer knows what is going to happen.  That's not good.  So play panster.  If you write yourself into brick walls and end up spending more time rewriting than writing, try playing plotter.  You'll see which works best for you--and it might be a combination of the two that's your perfect fit.

10.  What is your personal writing goal?

My personal writing goal is to create healing books that inspire and lift up people who are struggling or broken.  To show them through the characters and stories that no matter how hard times get, we get through them, and there's a lot of good life on the other side of challenges.

11.  If you could choose anywhere in the world to write, where would it be? 

The beach.  Course, I go there and get caught up in the horizon and the sounds of the surf, which is great for dreaming but might not be conducive to . . . yes, the beach.  It's my favorite place.

12.  Describe your writing space, that one corner of the house that is all yours?

My office was the entire upstairs until I fell down the stairs.  Now I'm in a bedroom on the lower floor and never go upstairs, which is great but the office is not half as big as the old one, so it's messy in here.  There are two desks, two book cases, two file cabinets, two chairs, another shelf, another two cabinets and stacks.  All kinds of stacks.  Books.  Books waiting for endorsements.  Manuscripts.  Partials.  I can't see what else.  My computer screen is big and blocks the view--and I like it that way.  My book covers are framed and on the wall.  I have a collection of sayings and tapestries and goodies that are inspiring and religious in nature above and around an altar, which is a sacred space in my office.  On its top are several items of importance to me.  One is a compass.  So I never lose my way.  In the corner beside the altar is a pot with sticks in it that the grandkids gifted to me.  Little branches.  I hang ornaments of angels on them.  I've always called the grans my angels.  Mmm, and more stacks.  :-)  Lots and lots of those!

13.  What are you most proud of accomplishing in your life?

Boy, I don't know.  Raising the kids, definitely.  My goal was to get all three through college where they started their adult lives with no debt.  I'm thrilled about that, but they did the work.  I'm very proud of my family and I have enormous respect for the kids.  That's a lovely thing.  But again, that's the people they chose to be, not really my accomplishment.

 I think one of the highlights of my life was putting the first copy of my first book in my mother's hands.  She shook she was so excited.  And when she read the dedication, she burst into tears.  That was an amazing moment.  I've told you how much she loved books and how supportive she always was of me writing.  To give that to her meant the world to me.

14.  What is your current work-in-progress, and can you summarize it in a few lines?

Well, there are two Lost, Inc. books.  That's a new series I'm doing for Love Inspired Suspense that debuts next October with SURVIVE THE NIGHT.  I'm editing the second one, CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN, and writing the third, TORN LOYALTIES.  These all center around a small agency helping the lost find their way home.

I'm also finishing up a Kali Kaye book, GIRL TALK: LETTERS BETWEEN FRIENDS, I'll be publishing very soon.  It's different--hence the Kali Kaye name so readers know to expect a different type of story.

I'm writing a proposal for a new series that is a departure for me but one that captivated me in the research phase.  I planned to wait a year, but I got too invested so I have to write them sooner.

And I've just begun the first book in another series that is Christian fiction also.  It's kind of an exploratory project.  I love the idea of the story.  Now I have to see if I'll love the book.  If so, I'll write it.  Have to write some to know.

15.   I know you've written many technical writing books, but what you consider the most important advice you could give a writer?  If you want, you can break this into advice to beginning writers and advice to advanced.


Never write a book you don't love.  Your time is your life.  If you invest it in a book, you should love it.  That love shows in the work in a thousand ways, and if it's missing, that shows, too.


Know your purpose for writing and then view everything you do professionally through the prism of that purpose.  Will this (whatever this is) enhance or detract from  your purpose?  Only invest in that which enhances your purpose.


Adopt "the best" as your mantra and do everything within your power to never settle for less.  Good enough is never good enough.


Much in the business of writing is out of your control.  Accept that.  Know how the business works, and be content controlling what you can:  the quality of the work.  On quality do not compromise.

Thank you, Vicki.  If you'd like to visit Vicki Hinze's website, click on the following link.

Vicki Hinze


  1. Great interview - thank you Vickie and Vicki. Your words inspire me to stay true to who I am when I write in spite of the fact that the stories inside me don't "fit" the confines of most genre guidelines. Write what you like and like what you write. God bless....

    1. Vicki Hinze definitely has some inspiring words. Thank you, Skye, for reading the interview.

    2. I also want to add that if anyone ever gets the chance to read her book Festival, it's great. I loved that one.