My name is Victoria. I am the mother of very imaginative and active eight and ten-year-old boys, the wife of a very patient man, a soccer mom, a furniture sales person, a writer, a performance junkie, a drama instructor, a Cub Scout den leader, a theatrical director, a lover of fine food and drink, a (sometimes) exercise enthusiast, an avid reader of fine literature, semi-trashy novels, magazines and other people’s blogs. I am usually in desperate need of a nap or at least a cup of coffee.
1. How long has your blog been Thirty-Nine For the First Time?
I published my first post on “Thirty-Nine For the First Time” in September of 2010. I had just turned 39 and thought it would be fun to chronicle my journey into my 40’s. I also thought starting a blog would give me a reason to sit down and write regularly. When I turned 40 I thought about changing the name —“Thirty-nine for the second time”, “39 or So”. But a friend suggested I write “Established 2010” under the header. I thought it was a great idea. So even though I’ve been thirty-nine a couple of times now, the blog is still “Thirty-Nine For the First Time”.
2. How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?
Just once. Last year I managed to bang out my 50k words about my character Michaela. I’m hoping to shape it into something readable—that’s the main reason I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ll definitely do it again, but there was no way I could make it happen this year. Editing a novel makes writing one seem easy by comparison! What a mess!
3. How long have you been linking up with Write On Edge?
I began linking up with Write On Edge’s weekly link up a few months after I started blogging. It introduced me to some fantastic writers. Then I began participating in the writing prompts. It was the first time I ever attempted any fiction writing. I was nervous to post at first. But I was blown away by the supportive nature of the group. I was touched to see how often a talented (and widely followed) writer would take the time to read and comment on my writing.
4. How long have you been writing?
I was an English Major in college. But I never did any writing that wasn’t an “assignment” until I was in my 30’s. I started a dozen journals in my teens and twenties, but never stuck with it. In the spring of 2010 I was desperate for a creative outlet. Between parenting and working retail, I felt like my brain wasn’t getting the work out it needed. So I signed up for an on-line writing course through a local college. It was just the kick in the behind I needed. I haven’t missed more than a couple of days writing since. I almost always have a notebook with me in case I find a few minutes.
5. What are you currently writing?
At the moment, I’m just writing to keep up with my blog. I’m involved in a play so it’s taking up a lot of my attention.
6. What play are you currently doing and what part are you playing?
I’m directing a production of “Moon Over Buffalo” for a group called The Milton Players. It’s a farce about a company of traveling actors by Ken Ludwig who wrote “Lend Me Tenor”. We just began rehearsals last week. The cast is fantastic—a great combination of talent and positive attitudes. Directing is my favorite thing to do in the theatre. Acting is wonderful, but as a director I get to have my hands on all aspects of a production. It appeals to my inner control freak.
7. You have two pieces in Precipice: The Literary Anthology of Write on Edge. Did you write them before or after you heard the call for submissions?
I had written earlier versions of both pieces before I heard the call for submissions. The memoir piece is pretty close to the original version—with just a few changes. My fiction piece, “Heading South, Going Nowhere”, however, is significantly longer and more developed than the original.
8. What does being in this anthology mean to you as a writer?
There is a feeling of legitimacy that comes from someone saying, “This is good enough to print and sell.” I feel like I can say, “I’m a writer” and no one will pop up and yell, “faker!” I feel honored to be in the company of such talented writers.
9. Do you prefer to write memoir or fiction?
It’s hard to say. I feel like I’m better at memoir. I’m good at capturing the way I felt during my experiences and making them relatable. But I’ve found fiction to be very gratifying and just plain fun. My character Karen, who has her own page on my blog, has been particularly enjoyable.
10. Have you ever written a script?
Apart from a college playwriting class, I’ve never written for the stage. Now that you asked it seems awfully strange that I haven’t. I really ought to put that on my “to do” list.
11. What are your career goals as a writer?
I want to be able to quit my “day job” and focus on the creative side of my life. I don’t need to be a New York Times best selling author, just earn as much as I do at my part-time job. Of course, if I could become the primary breadwinner of the family because I sold so many books, that would be a dream come true.
12. Are you a blogger who writes, or a writer who blogs?
At the risk of sounding like a snob, I’m a writer who blogs. If you had asked me that two years ago, I would have said the opposite. I’m writing a lot more now and I’m writing things other than the blog. If I miss a day or two I just don’t feel right.
13. What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?
I use an old MacBook. I’m experimenting with software right now. The latest version of Word doesn’t like my aging computer so I’m playing with NeoOffice (which is free) and Scrivener.
14. What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?
Walking. I get my best ideas when my body is engaged, but my mind is free to wander. Folding laundry also works, but it isn’t as pleasant.
15. What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
That’s hard to say. I have part-time job, two kids, a husband, a large extended family, a home, a cat, and an addiction to community theatre to fit into my schedule. You could just as easily say that writing distracts me from the other parts of my life. All those parts of my life are important, it’s a matter of making time for each of them… who am I kidding? Facebook and blog reading are my biggest distractions.
16. Many writers go through a stage when they hate what they’re writing. Do you ever feel this way?
Honestly, no. But then, I’ve never relied on writing to pay the mortgage or feed my family. It has always been something I wanted to do, rather than something I had to do. So if I were writing something I hated, I’d probably just put it aside. I can imagine feeling differently if I were under deadline to finish something. On the other hand, I’ve written plenty of things I wasn’t too crazy about when they were finished!
17. What is your ideal writing environment? Have you ever been able to create it?
My ideal writing environment would happen first thing in the morning with a visit from the coffee fairy. She would supply me with that magical elixir before I even got out of bed. Afterwards I would have hours of quiet time in a pristine room with lots of natural light and no interruptions.
In the real world, I usually manage 20 or 30 minutes of uninterrupted time in the morning over a cup of coffee on a very messy desk. Fortunately, my husband gets up before I do, so the coffee is usually made by the time I drag myself out of bed.
I’ve been on Facebook with family and friends for a long time. I don’t have an “author” page. Everyone I’m friends with is someone I know in real life or have made a real connection with in the blogging community. I’m also on Twitter, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. I mostly use it for promotion, but I do have some fun moments as well.
Yes. Absolutely. Do you know where I can get some? One of my first and favorite blog posts was about my son outgrowing his beloved Star Wars underwear. I adored dressing up in any way as a kid, but never managed to get my hands on a pair of Underoos. Either my mother was too frugal, or she was afraid I’d never take them off.
20. Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
Han shot first. Why does Mr. Lucas keep messing with his original stuff? People are seldom all good or all bad. And fictional characters who are, are boring! Han totally gets away with saying, “I know” when Leia says, “I love you” because he IS a scoundrel and that’s why we (and Her Worshipfulness) love him. So he isn’t above shooting first if he thinks it’s necessary.