Interview with Jackie Vick

When did you start writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never took it seriously. I find that when something comes easily to a person, they don’t assign it any value.  Writing a story--no value. Grammar--lots of value because it terrifies me.
The earliest writing remembrance I have is the day my dog died. To cheer me up, my mother asked me to write a story. I don’t think she was expecting a horror tale depicting the incident that began:  It was a scene from hell.  She took away my pencil and told me to go play outside.  I wrote in the eighth grade newsletter, and it was always something funny, such as when the cheerleaders dropped a girl.  In high school, friends of friends from other schools would ask me to write poems maligning the boyfriend who dropped them. Of course, being a good Catholic girl, they weren’t really mean, but they were good for a giggle.
I didn’t start writing “seriously” until I moved to California.

What genre do you write?
Is humor a genre that covers everything? When I moved to Los Angeles, I naturally wrote screenplays.  The film world can be such a downer, though. I tried my hand at a mystery novel and attended my first mystery convention--Love is Murder in Chicago. Mystery writers are such caring, generous people that I was hooked. It’s great to experiment with different genres, and you shouldn’t limit yourself, but a supportive environment enriches the experience and makes networking and such much easier.
 I focus on mysteries, but I also write articles, short stories, and the occasional screenplay for fun.

You've had short fiction published in various publications. What do you like most about this type of writing?
If an idea isn’t big enough to carry a novel, it might make a fun short. Short fiction is also a great test run for characters and ideas. I’ve written shorts that feature my mystery characters as a way to introduce them to audiences. That doesn’t mean I underestimate the difficulty in writing a good short story. The quote is attributed to several writers, but someone wise said “I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead.” 

What in your opinion makes good short fiction?
A good twist at the end can take any short story from merely amusing to brilliant. Gay Degani (Pomegranate Stories) is exceptional at this. 

You're a member of various associations. Tell us a bit about each one and how you think it helps your writing career.
Sisters in Crime is a wonderful association for writers who are starting out or are working up to midlist and beyond. They offer great speakers, resources, and support. In Southern California, we put on author panels. In fact, I’m moderating one at the Valencia Barnes & Noble in November. If you have a published book, panels provide a great opportunity to get your name out there and meet actual readers!
Mystery Writers of America is also great. I found my editor at one of their monthly meetings. MWA is geared more toward writers who already have a book out, though I’ve still found value in the meetings.
Public Safety Writers Association is a smaller, less well-known organization. If you join, you get a free manuscript critique, which is worth the price of admission. They also have a conference in Vegas once a year.
I’m sure there are others out there, but I’ve had to limit the number of groups I belong to so that I have time to write! I should mention that all of these groups have Yahoo lists.

Your e-novella "The Groom's Cake" is available through Wicked Ink Press. What made you pick them for your e-book?
A novella is an awkward thing because it’s not going to fly by like a short story, but it’s not as meaty as a novel. I submitted to one market. They liked “The Groom’s Cake” but didn’t think it fit their style. They recommended I contact Keith Publications who accepted and published it. It’s not often that you get a recommendation where to send your work. I don’t expect future marketing to be this easy.

 You also have a children's book, "Logical Larry" published through What made you decide to publish with lulu as opposed to a traditional publisher?
While it’s great to experiment with as many genres as you like, each comes with its own community.  I wrote Logical Larry on a whim, and when I joined the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, it was clear that I would have to invest just as much time getting to know the markets, publishers, and other writers involved in children’s fiction as I do with the mystery genre. I decided I didn’t have enough time or energy to make the necessary commitment to try traditional publishing. 

Any tips for other writers?
I’ll spend days in front of the computer and get relatively little done, and it’s not because I’m playing Farmville. I believe writers need to consistently put butt to chair, but more time spent does not always mean higher productivity. Writers need Discipline. They also need to master the art of Planning.  “I’ll write for three hours today” doesn’t work as well as “Today, I’m going to make Dr. Perry more aggressive in Scene Two.”

Where can people find out more about you and your work?
My website is, and it includes a link to my blog, A Writer’s Jumble. 

Anything else you'd like to add?
Read books in your genre. Meet other authors. Support other writers. It takes time to lay the groundwork, but it does need to be laid before you try to market your writing.


  1. Great interview, ladies. You both have wonderful sites for readers and writers.

    Jackie, this looks like a great book. Love the cover. My daughter wants to publish some of her poetry and short stories, so I'm thinking of using Lulu. Is there anything you didn't like about using them?

    Thanks for putting together such great posts, Jo.

    My best to both of you,


  2. I love the cover too.

    I use lulu too and am very pleased with the results. The site is easy to use and royalty payments are always sent on time. They also got my books automatically on other online bookstores like and (no charge).


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