A few months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Vickie Phelps about her devotional book, Psalms for the Common Man. You can find our first interview HERE. Today I am chatting with Vickie again, this time about her first novel – Postmark from the Past. Vickie is an experienced writer with numerous articles and books under her belt. Up till now Vickie has mainly written about various aspects of Christian living and about writing, so I was interested in her foray into fiction.
Melanie Rockett: You have been writing for many years now and have numerous books to boast about. On your website I was intrigued to find out that you had a career decorating cakes. Can you tell us how you transitioned from cakes to writing books?
Vickie Phelps: I retired from decorating cakes professionally in 1987 although I did several after that for family weddings and birthdays, but I felt burned out on cake decorating. For several years, I had been interested in writing and in 1988 I began writing and submitting short articles to magazines. Four years later, in June 1992, I began working at a large, independent bookstore which was a dream job for an aspiring writer, all the while continuing to write. In 1997, I met author Jo Huddleston at a writer’s conference and we became good friends. We decided to collaborate on a book and in 1999 we co-authored an e-book. That same year I submitted a gift book manuscript to a publisher who published it. From that point on, I began working almost exclusively on book projects.
Melanie Rockett: I understand that “romance” is not a genre you typically read, yet Postmark from the Past is not only your first novel, but is a romance. How did you come to write it?
Vickie Phelps: I didn’t set out to write a romance. My intentions were to write a Christmas story about how lonely it can be when you don’t have anyone to share the holiday with. I love the Christmas season and the idea of a strange Christmas card showing up in Emily’s mailbox intrigued me. As I wrote, ideas began to develop. Where did this card come from? Why wasn’t there a return address? Who was this man declaring his love for her? Without intending to, I wrote a Christmas love story that is now classified as a romance. But I’m happy with the way it turned out and may develop a series from this book.
Melanie Rockett: Can you give us a thumbnail about what Postmark from the Past is about and maybe some tidbits about your main character?
Vickie Phelps: Emily Patterson is a single woman who lives a quiet life in West Texas. She lives in the same house she grew up in and has a good job, but she’s lonely. Right after Thanksgiving, 1989, she receives her first Christmas card of the season, but it has no return address. Inside is a letter from a man named Mark who declares his love for her and says he is coming for her if he makes it home alive. But who is Mark? More letters arrive without a return address, adding to her frustration. Friends say that it’s the season for miracles and maybe a miracle is coming her way. Only Emily doesn’t believe in miracles, not even at Christmas time.
Melanie Rockett: One of your reviewers wrote, “You’ll laugh, cry, and feel giddy as a teenager regardless of your age.” This speaks to your wonderful story telling skills. I am curious how you found writing fiction different from your non-fiction “devotional” books and articles?
Vickie Phelps: Most of my nonfiction comes out of personal experiences so I know what I’m writing about. I’ve experienced it in my day-to-day life. The stories and ideas flow easier. But I love fiction and read more of it than I do nonfiction. When I write fiction, I have to build a whole world with people I’ve never met and put them into situations, some of which I may have experienced, but many times I have not. For me, it takes more creativity on my part to write fiction.
Melanie Rockett: What’s next for you? Are you planning on another novel or will you go back to writing non-fiction? Is there anything we can look forward to in the next few months?
Vickie Phelps: Actually, I’m working on both fiction and nonfiction right now and probably will continue to do so as I enjoy both. My co-author and I are working on a nonfiction project right now. I also have another novel written. If all goes well, there should be a writing how-to book, a gift book and a novel this year.
Melanie Rockett: I am thrilled to know that we will be hearing a LOT more from Vickie in the coming year. Be sure to read Postmark from the Past AND keep in touch with Vickie on any of the following channels:
Amazon Author’s Page: www.amazon.com/author/vickiephelps