Thursday, September 7, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with V.C. Buckley

The Write Way Café welcomes V.C. Buckley, who shares feeling around and stumbling a few times on her way to getting published.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I got tired of reading romance stories where the female character was always weak and needed a man to make her life better. So I did something about it—I wrote my own book inspired by events happening around me.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
It was a long and lonely path to get this book published. Lonely-because I didn’t know anyone who knew anything about publishing or writing a romance fiction book. I had to feel around in the dark and stumble a few times. I learned about querying and editing and everything else from days of research on the internet, but nothing led to anything and I was pretty sure my letters were not written well enough despite the numerous blogs of Dos and Don’ts I tried to follow online. And then my husband sat next to USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans in the plane coming from New York. She had just attended the RWA Annual Conference. She gave my husband some insight and advice about the publishing world and told my husband about RWA and how there are multiple workshops and seminars perfect for aspiring authors to educate themselves in this field, as well as a network of like-minded people who support each other in their writing journey. I got in touch with Ms. Evans and I became a member of RWA. I felt like a child in a candy store. I soon made friends, learned more about the industry and corrected the mistakes I made in my manuscript and learned about critique partners and beta-readers. I also tried my luck on a chapter contest and my book came in second place in the romantic suspense category of the BEACON contest of First Coast Romance Writers. I became more confident and grew so much as an author from all the classes and perspectives I had gained. And then I joined a pitch contest from Savvy Authors. My entry garnered multiple requests from different publishing houses and in less than a few weeks, I was offered a contract from Passion in Print Press.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
The idea came after seeing someone getting bullied. I imagined a different outcome where the bullies got what they deserved after realizing they picked on the wrong person.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture, and in my story, the character comes from a notorious crime family, so I picked the Yakuza, an infamous organized crime group in Japan.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My main characters are imaginary, but their characteristics are based from real people that I know. Like the brooding and impatient aura of Kenjin is thanks to my husband, while the craziness of Sakura comes from my mom.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Hanami was rewritten so many times upon the request of several publishers. It went through two major facelifts. I never faced any blocks until the second re-write. I had to fix some of the plot and change some characters around, and there were scenes that had to either be taken out or added, it was starting to get overwhelming until my brain refused to look at the story anymore and I started feeling depressed about it. So I took a step back and went on a writing hiatus for a few weeks. I went on vacation, read books and watched movies. I gave my brain a break and started refilling my inspiration tank. Solutions to some of the book scenes naturally came at random moments, and before you know it I was back to writing and finished the story.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Many times the characters would take on a life of their own. I’m a plotter, so I always know where the story is going and how the characters are supposed to behave, but I don’t have them on a tight leash though. I allow for certain changes that show themselves. Like in the first version of the book-there wasn’t really a love triangle, but in the final version it was brought front and center, and now I’m starting to like the secondary love interest more than the main guy and I’m planning to write a novella just about him because I want to give him a happily ever after as well.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world? How is Hanami important to your book?
I have grown so much during the entire process of Hanami. After this book, I came out a different person because now I know better. Although I still have so much to learn I can dare say that I have more knowledge now than when I started in terms of writing and publishing. I also learned how challenging it is to be a writer and it can really get lonely at times. I am in awe of those who have written more than five books, and those that have made it to the bestsellers list on their own with no agent or publisher backing them up.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My husband loves the ocean and likes to travel, so I usually end up writing anywhere. Sometimes I get seasick writing on a boat or dizzy editing on a plane. Most days I find myself on the floor or on the roof writing away, or sometimes from a rickety tower watching my kids surf. I write with a pen and notebook, so it’s very versatile. And the ideas just flow better from my brain and through the pen rather than the keyboard. I started writing this way before laptops and computers became affordable, so I became accustomed to this manner.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Franny Bilingsley’s Chime. The way the book was written was incredible. She has a way of painting an entire portrait with just a few brushstrokes, and her storytelling is compelling, which made Chime such an enjoyable read.

What are you working on now?
I am polishing up the sequel to my book Hanami, and I have a Fantasy Romance in the works as well as a young adult and adult contemporary romance in progress.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Yes, I would like to try my hand at regency romance and some middle-grade books someday. These are genres I would like to learn more about.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
That’s a hard one because being a writer is already my dream job. Anything after that would just be something for the means of survival, but if I could choose, I would like a job involving international and diplomatic affairs.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The querying process is always the hardest. Everything else is a breeze, but for someone who doesn’t have an agent yet, getting the book published is a real challenge. I do hope to someday find an agent to grow and work with.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Mulan. Because her story didn’t happen from waiting around to be rescued, instead she went and made her destiny… and she met the dashing young captain because of that.

SAKURA SHINTANI is the Dragon Clan heir—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the prying brats of Oniyuri Academy?

She must try to master her demons and avoid hurting anybody, but having the face of an angel only puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.

Hanami will be available on September 16. Please check for more information!

V.C. Buckley was born in a top-secret military facility and shipped off to Southeast Asia. She grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and questionable characters. She jetted all over the world at age sixteen after being discovered by a model agent. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

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Unknown said...

I love your cover! Your book sounds intriguing. Thanks for being on our blog and good luck!

HiDee said...

I agree with Lynn. Your cover is striking! Thanks for joining us today!

VC Buckley said...

Thank you so much Lynn and HiDee, and thanks for having me :)

VC Buckley said...

Thank you so much Lynn and HiDee :)
And thanks for having me! :)

Diana McCollum said...

Beautiful cover! The story sounds fascinating!