To live, sometimes ya gotta die! Daisy Grant is in a heap of trouble. She stumbles into a mob turf war and now somebody wants her dead. Daisy may be small-town to the bone, not at all the kind of woman to deal with the Southern Mafia, but she knows how to get creative fast!
Enters the way-too-attractive Mark Jensen… He didn’t mean to rescue anybody, and he certainly didn’t mean to go on the run because of a stubborn, sassy woman. Soon they are up to their ears in so many wacky characters they don’t know who’s on their side. Daisy and Mark decide that to live, sometimes ya gotta die. And sometimes to die right takes . . . practice.
Vicki Hinze has penned over thirty novels, multiple nonfiction books and hundreds of articles published in as many as 63 countries. She’s a USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning author recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator, and is a featured columnist for the Social-In Global Network. Vicki was the first Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year and she’s a National Service Award recipient. She’s helped found multiple organizations to help writers, sponsors and supports wounded warriors and victims of domestic violence. FMI, visit www.vickihinze.com
Please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
Thank you for your warm welcome. I’m glad to be here. Currently, I’m focusing on the Down and Dead, Inc. series. It started with Down and Dead in Dixie, which has just been released. I did a second project, a short story, Down and Dead in Even. I had to break from the project to get Her Perfect Life ready for release. I wrote that a few years ago and am rewriting it now before it becomes available again. Then it’s back to Down and Dead in Fern, the third project. So it’s been really busy around here, but then it’s always busy around here–and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
I started writing young. Political essays–it was a game my dad and I played when I was little. From there, I moved into poetry and enjoyed it but so much in it is dark, and I wanted to lift people up. So I moved into short stories. That was better, but I wanted more room to sprawl out, so I tried books. I’ve been lost to them ever since.
I can’t tag the exact moment, to be honest. It seems I’ve been being prepared my whole life. You know how when you’re a kid, you’re asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, my problem was I wanted to be everything! I was heartbroken when my dad informed me that only men and monkeys could go to space. I was devastated when he said that I absolutely could NOT be a fairy godmother. (I still have a sign in my office that reads: When I grow up I want to be a Fairy Godmother.” I wanted to teach, to be an ambassador, a lawyer, doctor–you name it. And obviously one can’t do everything–but in writing, one can. In books I can do or be whatever I choose–even a fairy godmother–and that made writing a natural magnet for me.
I’ve always loved it–got that from my mother and dad who both loved books–but the day I most realized how much it meant to me was the day I placed the first copy of my first published novel into my mother’s hands and she read the dedication to her and burst into tears. She was beyond thrilled. All the books she’d read and to see her name in a book . . . I’ll never forget that day. Never. It meant the world to her and that meant the world to me. I knew then I had been prepared and I had to write, and even when it was very difficult, I had to keep writing.
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
There’s been a lot of people who have given me great advice, but the best I ever heard, I actually overheard. My mother and a friend were having coffee at the kitchen table. The other woman, Ginny, was talking about becoming a hairdresser. She asked my mother what she thought of the idea. My mom told her if the idea of not being a hairdresser made her want to weep, then she should become one–not just one, but the best one she could be. Ginny said, “Well, I don’t know if I want it bad enough to cry at the thought of not doing it.” My mom said, “Then don’t. Do what matters most to you.”
I’ve thought about that snippet of conversation so many times. The day that writing doesn’t mean most to me is the day I’ll quit writing. There are easier ways to earn a living with fewer demands. If it’s not really important, then when you look back, you’ll regret you didn’t do something that was important to you. Writing is important to me.
It’s kind of a measuring stick on what I do, what books I write, how I spend my time. I want to use it wisely, and all these years later, I think my mother gave her friend very wise advice. Don’t settle. Make it matter. I loved the message then, and I love it now.
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
He’s gorgeous in my eyes inside and out. Not necessarily the kind of man you see and he stops you in your tracks but one there’s just something about him that attracts you. You know it at gut-level. He’s comfortable in his skin. Old enough to have lived a little and to know who he is. Strong enough to be gentle, wise enough to know his mind and values and have a strong sense of himself and a strong faith in others. He sees his own flaws, and the flaws in others, but he loves them as they are. he’s not perfect, but loves perfectly.
For me, all of the above and he has to believe in life-purpose and in something bigger than himself. Compassionate and caring, but protective–alpha with a kick but smart enough to not try to tell others what they think, what to do, or to influence them in things that are their calls to make. Even when he can’t support the woman’s plan, he must support the woman. Respect and ethics are huge for me.
And if kids or dogs don’t like him, it’s not going to work. They have fantastic internal radar on people and can size up people in a heartbeat.
What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?
I love reading. I love baseball games and during the season go to as many as possible. My hobby these days is designing book covers. I’m still a rookie, but the art and design is relaxing and I enjoy it immensely. I collect angels. I’ve always loved them and I have a lot of them.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Life. I’m not being cute, it is the BIGGEST adventure ever!
That aside, we made our first week-long trip with two of the kids, their wives, their parents and four of the angels (my grands). THAT was an adventure! We had a wonderful trip and tons of fun. But that’s a lot of people with a lot of interests to coordinate.
I got to watch a surgery from the observation deck, and while that probably doesn’t sound adventuresome to many, it was fascinating to me–and a lot more fun than water-skiing with gators and swimming in shark infested waters. Never again on that bit of business. Either of them. Had I known then, it wouldn’t have happened the first time. Not my idea of a good time.
Mmm, I guess I’m more an armchair adventurer.
If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
Scotland. I’d like to meet Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. There are a lot of historical figures I’d like to meet! And, oh, I would love to be zapped to the location of Alexander the Great’s tomb. That would be amazing. George Washington, too. Amazing man. Ben Franklin, too. All those inventions! I could spend a week on this one question, RJ.! Aristotle, Jesus . . . I guess I can’t pick just one.
When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
I’ll try many things. No chocolate covered ants or poisonous fish. But within reason, sure, I’ll try different dishes.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?
Lovely dinner and dancing, though I think popcorn and a movie can be just as romantic. It’s the company more than the activity.
How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?
Wife, mom, gran to angels, friend and confidant, writer. Blessed to love with her whole heart and been well loved by those who knew her every flaw and yet somehow loved her anyway.
In six words: She fails her way to success daily.
I’m not sure how my family and friends would describe me. Truly. Hopefully they’d do it while wearing rose-colored glasses and the armor of compassion!
What is your favorite comfort food?
Chocolate. Hands down.
What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?
Summer. I love the water, the beach, the ballgames. It’s lighter clothing, no freezing and thawing out, and everything is blooming a profusion of color. I love that.
What project are you working on next?
Her Perfect Life and then back to Down and Dead, Inc. with Down and Dead in Fern. (You meet Christina, the main character in Even.)
Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?
I’m just recovered from serious surgery so I’m grounded at the moment. But I’m on the Net all the time. Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and I very much enjoy chatting. I’m easy to find.