Welcome to the Bookshelf Newsletter, Victoria! Please tell us a little about yourself. Who is Victoria Burks, the gal next door?
I’ve always considered myself an average wife, mother and grandmother. My husband and I raised a large family of eleven children. Therefore, I never had a lot of time for social contact other than “over the fence” socializing with neighbors and occasional get-togethers with friends from church. Also, I am the past, present, and future (until my husband decides to retire) office manager for my husband’s trucking firm. However, I found time over the years to be involved in our local church and community. I’ve been a Children’s Church Director, Sunday School Teacher for children and adults, Nursery Coordinator, a Girl Scout Leader and a Church Banquet Coordinator from which I recently retired after twenty years. I’ve always enjoyed serving Christ and my family in whatever way I could.
Sounds like you're a busy lady.
How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?
I can’t say I ever had the “aha” moment, more like “You’ve got to be kidding me, God” moment. I never started writing seriously until about twenty years ago, had never even considered myself as a writer although I had previously written programs to enhance Sunday School lessons, Bible training courses and Christmas plays for both children and adult performance. To me that wasn’t writing, just something to better train my students about the things of God. Novel writing had never been an option until I had a strange dream while recuperating from a severe back injury.
In the dream I was standing at the back of an outdoor theatre observing a live performance of a romantic drama. When I awoke the next morning, I questioned God about the dream, since I’ve never been one to dream often. In my spirit I heard the words, “Write the book.”
Needless to say, I was stunned. I told God, “Excuse me, God, but I believe you are at the wrong address. I’m sure you meant to go to Victoria Holt’s house, not the home of Victoria Burks.” Nevertheless, the inspiration wouldn’t leave me. So in the following weeks, unable to sit in a chair due to the injury, I lay flat of my back and held writing tablets above my head and recorded the basic plot of my dream. After a miracle of healing several weeks later, I was able to develop the manuscript entitled, A Legacy of Love, on my computer.
What an amazing testimony to your calling!
I know you’re excited about your upcoming release, Bittersweet Justice. What inspired you to write this book?
Yes, the book is scheduled to be out late November or early December. Again, I have to give God the credit for that as well. One day the title, Bittersweet Justice, along with the plot just dropped into my mind and I begin to put the story on paper. I’m a “seat of the pants” writer. Sometimes I make a basic outline of scenes I think a chapter needs, but by the time the chapter is complete, those scenes may or may not be in that particular chapter.
I completely understand—I'm a total SOTP writer myself.
What’s your favorite scene from Bittersweet Justice? Can you share it with us?
I would have to say the court scene near the end of the book. It has such a dramatic vision of God’s love and mercy entwined into the story that I still get emotional when I think about it. Please forgive me for not sharing it, but that part of the plot is vital to the intriguing mystery.
You are forgiven. :) We definitely don't want any spoilers on the Bookshelf!
Your debut novel, A Legacy of Love, released last November. Now that the book is in print, have you ever wished you’d written any scene/character/plot twist, etc., differently?
At this moment I can’t think of anything I would change. I’ve had great feedback from readers. They all have a common remark, “I couldn’t put it down.” And, “I can’t wait until your next book comes out.”
Those are great responses to hear from a reader!
What author most influenced your writing style?
I’ve read many authors over the years. My favorite authors are Victoria Holt, Francine Rivers, Brandilyn Collins, and Mary Higgins Clark. I was so excited to read on line recently that a book club had stated that my book A Legacy of Love was better than the Mary Higgins Clark book they had previously read. Not that I consider myself in Miss Clark’s category, far from it, but the accolade did inspire me to work harder on my future books. Which, by the way, my new project I’m working on now is entitled, Forbidden Garden.
Love the title of your WIP!
Do you have a favorite verse of scripture? If so, what makes it special to you?
That’s hard to answer, because I have several favorite passages of God’s word I love to read. If I had to choose one, it would have to be Psalms 91. The writer gives us a beautiful portrait of God’s love and protection. We as God’s children need never fear what the day might hold. God is always in our court, ready to combat any opposing force against us. We always win when we put our trust in Him.
Isn't it wonderful to know He always has our backs? :)
What one piece of writing advice has been most beneficial to you in developing
your writing career?
One, to continue honing your craft and two, never give up. I take all the writing courses I can, read books to aid my writing skills, and glean information from other writers anytime I can. My philosophy in life about anything I do is, “In whatever you do, do the best you can, or don’t bother to do it at all.” There’s always room for improvement. Although a new author in the writing arena, I believe we as writers can accomplish our best work when we edit, edit, edit until we have poured all our heart, mind, and strength into our project. And most important, as Christian writers, we must keep Christ at the center of our work no matter what genre we write.
Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?
My books are available in major bookstores, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Tate Publishing. If you go to my website at http://victoriaburks.tateauthor.com you will find links on the right side of the home page that will take you straight to my book page on the websites mentioned above.
Thank you for visiting the Bookshelf Newsletter, Victoria! I know I speak for all of my readers when I say congratulations on making your writing dreams come true. We wish you all the best in your writing career.
Thank you, Delia, for allowing me this interview on The Bookshelf. And for the encouragement. God Bless you and all your readers.
Victoria Burks, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother is a business co-owner, active in her church and community, and speaker for various women’s groups. In her spare time she indulges in her passion to write inspirational romantic suspense.
Educated at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Victoria resides in Oklahoma with her husband of 36 years, William, her best friend.
In November 2010, her first novel, A Legacy of Love, was released. Her next novel, Bittersweet Justice, will be released in the fall of 2011.
Blurb from Bittersweet Justice:
Blurb from Bittersweet Justice:
"Bittersweet Justice" is a heart-wrenching tale of murder, intrigue, and romance that will
keep the reader turning the pages until the last sentence is read.
Since age twelve, Colin Lambert has believed his father, Stuart, innocent of murdering
Braxton Lambert, heir of the deceased Oklahoma oil baron, Walter Delaney Lambert, founder of the former Lambert Oil Enterprises. Stuart, serving a life sentence for his father's murder, becomes terminally ill, his prognosis six months of life at best. When Colin learns this distressing news, he determines that his father will not die in prison.
Colin begins the quest to discover the identity of his grandfather's true killer when he has
to travel to his boyhood home, Haven, Oklahoma, to attend the funeral of his great-uncle,
Maxwell Lambert. Ignoring his mother's warning to stay away from Haven, Colin takes time off from his advertising agency in St. Louis, Missouri to search for evidence that will re-open the twenty-five year-old cold case.
Although aided by law enforcement and Tulsa World reporters Julie Lonetree and Jack
Granger, Colin soon discovers the jeopardy surrounding his pursuit when perilous events occur to thwart Colin's attempt to bring justice to his father.
Overwhelmed by his responsibilities to care for aging relatives, newly discovered family
secrets and his attraction to Julie, Colin turns to his faith in God to sustain him. However, when his great-aunt, Beatrice Lambert, disappears from Briarwood, the family estate, Colin is forced to re-evaluate his goal to exonerate his father of the long ago crime. Was justice worth the risk his endeavors would now entail?