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FIVE ON FRIDAY with Vicki Pettersson

This week FIVE ON FRIDAY features Vicki Pettersson (yes that’s right, two t’s and two s’s) the superstar author of the Urban Fantasy Zodiac novels. Her newest book City of Souls is on sale this week and in it her heroine Joanna Archer, who has barely survived her latest encounter with the forces of the Dark Zodiac, must venture into a strange new shadow world. Where every friend could be an enemy and every breath could be her last. And best of all, the action takes place in Las Vegas. What could be better than that?

(An important note for readers: I write children’s books. Some of the authors who are interviewed in my FIVE ON FRIDAY feature write books for adults. Please remember that the idea behind FIVE ON FRIDAY is to give readers an insight into writing and the creative process. So if you are a parent, teacher or librarian please make note that not all of the books mentioned or featured here may be age appropriate for all of your children, students or patrons. And once again, thanks for visiting!)

When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer?

I’d always scribbled, but it was mostly journaling or magpie-ing (Look! It’s a verb!) thoughts and ideas, situations, or descriptions of people I thought were unique or funny (and, believe me, there’s no dearth of those in Vegas!). It wasn’t until New Year’s Day of my twenty-sixth year that I thought, ‘I’m going to write a book.’ And that was it. I started it that day and have been obsessed every day since. I’m very all or nothing about my obsessions.

What book or writer/artist do you feel influenced you the most?

Undoubtedly, Diana Gabaldon. I started out writing historical fiction, and about a year into it I found Outlander, and discovered Diana had made a virtual home for herself on the web (In Compuserve’s Writer’s Forum). That essentially became my writing school. A former professor, she was extremely accessible to unpublished writers, openly answering questions about her series and her writing process. She has a gift for being able to break down the writing process, in particular what she does and why, and explain it to the neophyte so that one feels it’s actually possible, with work, to attain that skill level, too. Perhaps most importantly she also showed, day in and day out, what it was to be a working writer. I saw what she was doing, work-wise, and began to emulate it. Between her complex words and plots, her love for the work and skillful prose, and her belief in herself, she unwittingly taught me how to work. My gratitude and admiration for that woman is endless.

What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?

The books that have most recently blown me away were Janet Fitch’s Paint it Black, Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, Theresa Schweigel’s Officer Down, and Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day. I’m currently finishing up Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (a book I initially resisted precisely because it was so popular; boy, am I glad I got over that!).

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Read, read, read.
Write, write, write.
Don’t stop.
If it’s hard, that means you’re doing it right.
And did I mention, don’t stop? Don’t ever stop.

Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?

I’m finishing up the fifth book in the Signs of the Zodiac series, to be released summer 2010. I’ve also just completed a short story for an urban fantasy anthology called Dark and Stormy Knights, edited by PN Elrod, also out next year. There are some amazing authors in that project, and I’m excited to be working alongside them.

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