by Marilyn Meredith
Marilyn Meredith interviews Victoria Heckman, Sisters in Crime-Central Coast Chapter President, Author of the K.O.’d in…Hawaii Mystery Series, & the Ancient Hawaii Mystery Series. She also reviews one of her latest mystery novels, Kapu Sacred. Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this article!
Marilyn: I’ve known you since a mystery conference in Texas way back when your boys were really young. And we’ve even been roommates in Alaska for another mystery con and served on panels and done booksignings together along the way. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Victoria: My local chapter of SinC sponsored a short story contest and the prize was publication. I had never written any kind of mystery before (and had never published anything ever) and I don’t know what possessed me to try. It was a LOT of hard work, but I won and that phone call saying I would be published was all it took.
Marilyn: Because your books are set in Hawaii, tell us how that came about.
Victoria: I am a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and had many friends in HPD. I knew writing a novel, and perhaps a series, meant I would be *there* and with my characters for a very long time. Hawaii is the home of my heart, so setting the books there was easy to decide.
Marilyn: Tell us about the first books and what inspired them.
Victoria:I attended the Cuesta Writer’s Conference with some SinC members and since I love reading mysteries, I attended Carol Higgins Clark’s seminar on “Plotting the Mystery.” I had no intention of writing a novel (too many words!) but thought it would be fun to see how *real* writers do it. While sitting there, my first novel poured into my head and I couldn’t write fast enough to outline it. In the course of the workshop, I had the whole thing framed. It’s the only novel I’ve ever outlined. It appears that I just needed some
instruction and guidelines, so thank you, Carol Higgins Clark. Of
course, it took five more years to write and get that novel
Marilyn: What was your path to publication?
Victoria:After the painful writing and editing period I followed traditional lines and sought an agent and large house. After many discouragements (some are pretty funny but too long for here) I
decided to seek a small house myself and found almost immediate
success. My publsher, Sandy Cummins, is out of WEE publishing of
Australia and bought it on one chapter. She is a delight to work
Marilyn: And this latest book, what was the inspiration for that?
Victoria: My newest book is Burn Out , due out in March we hope. It is somewhat autobiographical in that my husband is a fire fighter like Elizabeth’s, although my husband is retired now. Also, I have always communicated with animals and as far as I can tell, they respond. I know, weird, but true. It is not something I ever worked at. So, Elizabeth has made a small career of talking to animals. (I have never charged for my services, I just do it for friends and family!)
Marilyn: What do you do for fun?
Victoria: I love to read and my New Year’s resolution of taking more naps has worked out nicely so far… I also LOVE spending time with my two sons, one in college and one a junior in high school. We have so much fun with ‘mommy and me’ time. I rarely have to ‘parent’ them and our time together is so precious–just eating or shopping or traveling is a treasure.
Marilyn: Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know about you?
Victoria: I love to talk books so if you visit me at a workshop, conference, or signing, please say hello!
Marilyn: Thank you, Victoria.
Kapu Sacred by Victoria Heckman surprised me. Though I knew before I began reading this was an historical mystery, I didn’t realize how fascinated I would be reading a story told by a basket weaver called Coconut Man in early times in Hawaii. Though a simple man with only the skill of weaving beautiful baskets, Coconut Man is an observer with the gift of noticing things others don’t. For the first time in his life he begins making friends and learns that some folks in the village are not what they seem. He puts together clues and realizes
something horrible is being planned, something that will threaten the
village and all the people who live in it.
Heckman skillfully weaves in the native culture and beliefs in a tale full of plots and mystery, along with the fury of nature, and a strong and courageous people who must battle for their lives. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story.
Learn more about Victoria and her books on her website.
To enter for a chance to win a copy of Kapu Sacred, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Kapu”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen next Saturday, February 5, 2011.