Today’s interviewee, VK Powell, can look back at an impressive and growing list of published works. If I counted correctly, she has six novels and a few short stories out. Most of them, such as her latest novel, Exit Wound, feature police officers as main characters, and that makes sense, since VK is a thirty-year law enforcement veteran.
Let’s see how she spends her time now that she’s retired…
How long have you been writing full-time?
What was the process of moving into full-time writing for you?
When I became serious about writing and possibly getting published, I started with short stories in anthologies. Bold Strokes Books published my stories (the first in 2006) and the publisher asked if I also did novel-length fiction. It snowballed from there!
Do you write every day? Do you give yourself weekends or days off or vacation time away from writing?
Since I only write one book a year, I don’t write every day. I love to travel and that gives me time to indulge both my passions.
When I begin a manuscript, I do try to work every day to complete it in 3-5 months. If my week has been productive and I’ve made progress, I take weekends off. If I’ve played around during the week or haven’t made as much progress as I’d like, I work weekends as well.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I’m usually up between 7-8, read the paper online while having coffee, check email and Facebook messages, and begin writing between 9-10 (depending on how many messages I have to answer or how distracted I become!).
Do you have a daily word-count goal or a set number of hours you spend writing?
I don’t have a set word count, but I do keep a running log of how many words I write per session. Four to five hours is usually all I manage per day, sometimes six if I’m on a roll. If I’m editing, I can go longer, but it’s really mentally exhausting to make stuff up all day! Seriously!
Where do you write?
I write in my living area, sitting in a recliner with my feet up, looking out floor-to-ceiling windows (I live in a twelfth-floor condo). I love the view of earth meeting sky, sunrise, clouds rolling by, rain moving across the land, and birds flying past. It’s easy to escape into a fictional world with a view like that!
How did family and friends react to you giving up your day job to become a full-time writer?
Fortunately, I didn’t have to give up my day job; I retired. My friends are very supportive and love reading my work.
How much time do you spend promoting your books, including blogging, social media, etc.?
Not nearly as much as I should! I’m an introvert and find that part of the process very taxing. But I also realize the value of connecting with readers and getting feedback on my work. So, I attend functions, answer all emails, and keep in touch as much as possible. I’ve met some really wonderful people all over the world through writing—an unanticipated but very rewarding benefit of my work.
What’s the best thing about being a full-time writer?
Knowing I CAN do the work I love all the time! What could be better?
What’s the most difficult thing about being a full-time writer?
See #8 above—the promotional aspects of the job
Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a full-time writer?
More about writing! I wish I’d taken more English and writing classes when I was young instead of having to do it now. I think there are always things to learn about your craft. When I’m not writing books, I’m reading about how to write them.
What advice would you give a fellow author who wants to write full time?
Learn as much as you can about your craft before giving up your day job. Then, if you have a story to tell, you can do it in the best possible way. Everything you know helps you become a better storyteller.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel?
My latest, Exit Wounds, was released in August and was actually based on a real event that happened during my career on the police force. The story is loosely based on a vehicle explosion that occurred during a car chase of suspects wanted in connection with two murders. It’s the first story I’ve written based in the town in which I live and worked for 30 years and includes some friends as characters, at their request, of course. :-)
What books can we look forward to from you in the future?
My next release, About Face, is due out in August 2014. It’s about a forensic artist and a police detective who are connected by the same case, their struggle to come to terms with the outcome, and their attraction to each other.
Thanks for that great interview, VK! I look forward to having the time to read your books next year.