Monday, 2 April 2018

#MondayMeet - Vicki Fitzgerald

This Monday we’re thrilled to have Vicki Fitzgerald joining us on the Pict blog to talk about her novel Briguella.

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So Vicki, what inspired you to write Briguella?
I worked as a journalist in the West Country for almost a decade and covering crime stories always interested me. It certainly beat attending council meetings! I was also fascinated by inquests, so I supposed crime and death always were an odd interest! 

Ah! A typical writer! We're always fascinated by areas of life that other people don't notice or ignore. 

So what case was it in particular that sparked your decision to write?
One of the biggest cases I covered involved a serial attacker and it was time covering the case, attending press conferences, and talking to victims, that inspired Briguella.

Wow! So where is Briguella set?
Westhaven (aka Weston-super-Mare) as this is where the crimes took place and is my hometown.

Who is your protagonist and how did you create them as a character?
Reporter Kate Rivendale and she is a part of me, I guess. I used my experiences as a reporter to create Kate. Some of the issues she faces in the book, such as depression, are some of the obstacles I have also dealt with in the past. I think it helps the book come to life as readers are able to relate to it.

Agreed – characters without any flaws just aren't believable. Here at Pict, we're all about strong female characters who succeed despite the difficulties they go through. 

How long did the process take from start to finish – from idea right through to publication?
Wow, yes my novel was started about 14 years ago and put back in the cupboard after a publisher said the sex assault scenes could offend women and that I needed another 40,000 words. I had just given birth and simply didn't have the time to keep at it. 

A few years ago I lost several people close to me and I realised that life is too short. I didn't want to look back with regrets, saying I wish I had done that! So, bravely I put my own PR company on hold to write full-time and spent a good year polishing it and turning the sex attacker into a serial killer. 

I conducted proper research by visiting the morgue to observe autopsy surroundings and met an Anatomical Pathology Technologist, who was fabulous help. I also met up with forensic experts, who guided me along the way. I think that time and effort paid off and made the book better than ever.

They say 'write about what you know'  so if you don't know it, you need to research it! I'm sure the crime experts enjoyed your conversations as much as you did  writers make excellent audiences.

Have you learned anything about yourself or your writing during this process?
I have become a better writer as I have matured. I have learned that you need to edit with no mercy until it is perfect and you feel happy. Only when it is right and you have a smile on your face, do you know that you can feel proud.

Do you have any writing routines?
As soon as I have dropped my daughter to school I lock myself away in my office and spend all day writing. Usually with breaks for cups of tea. I now keep a tub of peanuts on my desk because when the words are flowing I don't leave the room and so a snack is handy! A glass of wine is always nice though when I'm writing after dark.

The peanuts are such a good idea! Do you keep anything else handy?
Warm fluffy socks when it is cold are my comfy clothes and I use my cute "mummy & me" pillow that my children bought me for my back. Summer is my best time of year when I take the laptop into my garden and work outdoors, the sun makes me very happy! 

After the extended winter we've had, I think we could all do with some sunshine! What do your family think of your writing? 
When the words are flowing my husband and children are really good and leave me to it. 

That's lovely to hear  a supportive family so important.

So, one final question before we wrap up (and hopefully one you're not too sick of hearing!). Would you ever write a sequel to Briguella?
Maybe, some reviewers have expressed a love of Kate and Will, the detective on the case, saying that they would like to see more of them. So who knows! I have toyed with the idea.

Well if you do decide to, please come back and tell us all about it! Thanks for your time today Vicki, and we wish you all the best with Briguella and with your future writing.

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