Vivian always has had a vivid imagination and, when a child, used it to tell her siblings and friends stories. She has six published books to her credit, two co-authored. Her latest books are Prairie Dog Cowboy (written under the name V. Gilbert Zabel), Midnight Hours (written under the name Vivian Gilbert Zabel), and Stolen, released in November 2010.
Her interests besides writing include her family (husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren), reading, helping other people publish their books (through 4RV Publishing), and traveling.
Her publishing company 4RV Publishing produced the Oklahoma Book Award winner in fiction for 2010: Confessions of a Former Rock Queen by Kirk Bjornsgaard. Other books have received regional awards in their categories. 4RV has released children’s books, middle grade and young adult books, novels, and nonfiction books.
Anne – Vivian, it’s wonderful to feature you today. It’s been a joy to get to know you via the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I was surprised to read in one of your interviews that you have a serious illness. The affects of dealing with an ongoing health problem can slow you down to say the least. How do you manage running a publishing business, and what’s the most difficult thing?
Vivian - Some days are more difficult than others, especially when I’m having trouble sleeping. Then I’m not only in pain but am extremely tired. However, I’m also extremely determined.
Anne - Were you ill when you started 4RV Publishing? If the answer is no, do you think you would have taken on such an undertaking if you were?
Vivian - I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus since I was quite young. I decided that I would have as full a life as possible any way, for as long as possible.
Anne - You're a true inspiration, Vivian. What do you think about authors who self-publish?
Vivian - Authors who are self-published are hurting themselves in a way, because self-publication has a bad reputation. Yes, some good, well-written books are self-published, but the problem is that too many poorly written, full of errors books are self-published all the time. Of course, that happens in books from supposedly “good” traditional publishers, too.
I don’t have an answer, either. However due to the fact that authors don’t have many options when the major publishers go mainly for already-famous people as authors, whether they can write or not, 4RV tries to fill the gap between self-publishing and vainly presses and the “big boys.”
I wish we had the funds to put out more of the good manuscripts submitted.
Anne - What advice would you give to a writer who is about to self-publish?
Vivian - Oh, my, that’s a rough question. Any writer about to self-publish needs to be sure the book is extremely well-written, the book has been professionally edited at least twice, and a good marketing plan is in place.
Anne - What’s the most important tip you could give a writer who is just starting out?
Vivian - First, know how to write, including knowing correct grammar and mechanics, and continue to learn. I taught English and writing for nearly 30 years, but I attended workshops, clinics, and classes on writing all the time I taught. I still read writing magazines and attend sessions at conferences – all to continue learning and improving my craft.
Anne - Do you think that some writers are just not cut out for writing for children, or do you think anyone can learn the craft?
Vivian - I don’t think everyone can learn to be a good writer, but all can learn to be better writers. Writing for children does take a special talent and desire, though. Writing for children isn’t an easy task, but probably, to do it well, is the hardest type of writing.
Anne - Give us some information about your latest book Stolen.
Vivian - It has betrayal, mystery, suspense, heartache, love, hope, determination, and other qualities found in life. We don’t always find a happy-ever-after ending, but we can find a ending filled with hope.
Torri has a life, of sorts, with husband Mike and their two children. She “tolerates” his extra-curriculars, as she calls his playing around, because she tries to hold the family together. Later she says she was too weak to do what needed to be done. However, when a second wife appears on her doorstep, she leaves with Lyle and Leann.
She rebuilds her life before another tragedy hits: the death by cancer of her best friend. She and
’s husband comfort each other, and friendship grows into love. Alice
When the nightmare of her children being stolen hits, though, Torri doesn’t know if she can rebuild again.
Anne - Stolen is definitely on my TBR list. Thanks for dropping by, Vivian! It's been such a wonderful experience to get to know you and your books via the 2011 Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I look forward to next year's tour!
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