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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 15 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – VIKKI KESTELL – GIVEAWAY WINNERS

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – VIKKI KESTELL – GIVEAWAY WINNERS

“Faith Filled Fiction”

 

“Writing is the best job ever… and the most demanding.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

BRANDI DAGWAN

 and

TONYA HAMILTON

 and

ASHLEY SAPP

 and

DYAN LYNESS

Vikki will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vikki Kestell’s passion for people and their stories is evident in her readers’ affection for her characters and unusual plotlines. Two often-repeated sentiments are, “I feel like I know these people,” and “I am right there, in the book, experiencing what her characters experience.”

Vikki holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. She left a career of twenty-plus years in government, academia, and corporate life to pursue writing full time. “Writing is the best job ever,” she admits, “and the most demanding.”

Also an accomplished speaker and teacher, Vikki and her husband Conrad Smith make their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

http://vikkikestell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Vikki-Kestell/e/B007OLYM0M

https://www.facebook.com/TheWritingOfVikkiKestell

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vikki-kestell

https://twitter.com/FaithFilledFic

 

 

“A genre to me is more the setting than the objective. My characters are real to me. I could put them in any genre and they would thrive..”

GIVEAWAY

Vikki is offering five free Kindle copies of Laynie Portland Spy Rising.

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Vikki Kestell, Giveaway Winners, #WINNERS

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 8 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – VIKKI KESTELL

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – VIKKI KESTELL

“Faith Filled Fiction”

“Writing is the best job ever… and the most demanding.”

Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Vikki Kestell.

 

FAST FAVES

Call or Text 

Eggs or Pancakes 

Facebook or Twitter

Paperback or Kindle

Thornton or Darcy 

Yoga Pants or Jeans

 

rem:  Hullo, Vikki, and welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

VIKKI :  Robin, I was born in California but raised in eastern Washington State, where my father worked at Hanford. He took a job at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico just prior to the start of my senior year of high school, so we moved. It was a pretty traumatic time for me, made difficult for several reasons. I’d just become a Christian in May, and we moved in September. I loved my new Christian friends, and I had a serious love interest at the time, but I had to leave them all behind.

It was also difficult time to move because music was integral to my life, and I was in the high school swing choir, an ensemble for which you had to compete to get a slot. When I arrived in Los Alamos, the alto slots in Chamber Singers (their ensemble comparable to swing choir) was full. Fortunately, they were short on tenors and I had a great low range. I sang tenor all year! (Loved being “one of the guys.”) I formed my own Christian folk band and sang with a high school jazz ensemble, too.

Following high school, I moved back to Washington and lived in the Pacific Northwest until 1991. That’s when I returned to New Mexico to be near family. I have lived in Albuquerque ever since.

 

rem: Ohhh! A fellow ensemble singer! I was, too, both in high school and college. Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

VIKKI :  Three things no one knows? Hmm. Thinking.

 

rem:  un huh, I see how it is.  LOL  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

VIKKI :  My favorite verse is, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6. This has been my life verse for more than 30 years. It spoke (and continues to speak) to my pride and competitive spirit; it taught me to seek the Lord for his plans for my life rather than my own, to be patient, faithful, and diligent, and to leave the “due time” up to him.

 

rem:  It just doesn’t work any other way. But oh! when we humble ourselves before Him—watch out world! Nothing and no one can hold us back. What is your favourite quotation and why?

VIKKI :  Goodness! I’m such a practical dork. I really like, “Let us begin as we mean to go on.” I’m not sure where I picked it up, but it means, (Vikki’s explanation) “Look, if you want things to work a certain way, then you need to establish those expectations from the beginning. Why? Because it’s practically impossible to change people’s behaviors (including your own), if you start [a project, job, relationship, habit] one way and think you can change things later on. Just try it: You’ll have a nasty fight on your hands, and you’ll probably lose.” (Single girls? Are you listening? This applies double to future husbands.)

rem: Such simple (sounding) words, such powerful impact!  What about those three random things no one knows about you?

VIKKI :  Still thinking.

 

rem:  Still waiting… What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

VIKKI :  Wow. Very telling, because I spend so much time in my office! Well, all my makeup is on my desk (nice and tidy in a basket) because I watch/listen to Joyce Meyer on my computer when I’m putting on my makeup.

 

rem:  That’s just practical, plain and simple—two tasks at once! If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

VIKKI :  I’m still trying to come up with the three random things. Good grief. I’m not being very “random,” am I?

rem:  Sounds like you’re very orderly and settled… What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

VIKKI :  In Christian fiction, we have the opportunity to do more than provide clean entertainment. We have the opportunity to share the Gospel in the most organic way—through story telling. With imaginative stories, we can bring Jesus into any and every situation and genre and do it as naturally as breathing.

How has writing CF impacted my relationship with Jesus? The thing is, I taught and wrote Bible studies for years before I wrote fiction, so I rather think it’s the other way around for me: My relationship with Jesus impacts the way I write. (rem: way cool!)  My writing brings biblical truths into my books along with a powerful redemption story. When I’m drafting a storyline, I feel like I’m pulling from the many years I’ve studied God’s word, and I’m relating how I’ve seen him move in my own life.

I will say, though, that my readers have humbled me with their letters, with the reports of how my books have ministered to them. What they say makes me even more careful today than I was, say, last year or the year before, to never approach a day of writing without seeking the Lord’s limitless wisdom, power, anointing, and creativity. My heart is to win as many souls for Jesus with my books as I can, but without his help and inspiration, I’m just a good story teller—and the world is full of good story tellers. What we need are lifelike tales that embody the love, grace, and healing of Jesus.

 

rem:  Tales, not so unlike the parables Jesus told…  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

VIKKI :  I have a few pet peeves regarding Christian fiction. One is the story with perfect people and a perfect ending. (rem: OH.MY.GOODNESS, YES!)  I love a happy ending as much as the next person (and reading needs to provide an escape from the pressures of life), but I feel that a character who has no real struggles or flaws (and I’m not talking about breaking a nail or superficial physical attributes such as having an overly large nose) can project an unrealistic picture of the Christian life.

 

The truth is, no one is perfect, will ever be perfect in this fallen world, or have a perfect life; the only solution to imperfection is daily, ongoing dependence upon Christ: Lord, in my weakness, you are strong; when I falter, you will not allow me fall. I can do what’s on my plate today because you are with me. Whatever comes, I trust you. You will lead me in paths of righteousness for your Name’s sake.

rem:  Vikki, you are so right. I like stories with characters I can relate to. What are you reading right now?

VIKKI :  I just started Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate last night. So far, so intriguing!

 

rem:  She is one of the many authors who, I fear, I have yet to read…  OY  You hold a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. Can you tell us what that is?

VIKKI :  I have to laugh. Most people think Organizational Learning means I’ve learned how to organize stuff! LOL, no, that’s not it at all. “Organizations” are human “organisms,” such as businesses, corporations, schools, families, churches, etc. Organizational Learning is the study of how organizations as a whole learn, grow, change, adapt to change, produce, and so on. The Body of Christ is THE greatest organization (human organism) on the face of the planet because it crosses every racial, ethnic, national, social, economic, and gender barrier. We, as the church universal and the church local, can do a better job at helping the whole of the body learn, grow, change, adapt to change, and produce—that is, be fruitful and multiply for Christ.

 

rem:  What?? You mean your desk is a mess like mine??? tee hee hee  Seriously, Vikki, that sounds fascinating. And I agree with you that we, as Christians, can and need to do a much better job of being the body of Christ.  What prompted you to leave your government / corporate career for writing?

VIKKI :  Looking back, I can see God’s hand in it, how he wanted me where I am now. I worked at a Department of Energy school here in Albuquerque and was part of a large RIF (reduction in force). I was a contractor/director at this school, but the pressure and upheaval at that time was so tremendous that I was actually grateful to leave. In the 13 months that followed, I could not find another job (which was unheard of for me), so I began to indie publish. I then worked briefly for a Department of Defense school and wrote a new book during that time. I’d only been at the DOD school eight months when Sequestration budget cuts killed the entire contract my position was on! (rem: OY!)

I was great with the layoff, however, because, by then, my books were starting to take off. I told my husband, Conrad, “I really don’t want to go back to government work. I want to write and see where the Lord takes me.” He said, “Then do it.” (Lord, bless him!) I’ve been writing full-time since the summer of 2013, six years now, and have written 14 full-length novels in addition to the two I’d already published, plus two short stories. I have also published a five-volume Bible study entitled, Growing Up in God, that speaks to various aspects of Christian maturity. Some of the volume titles are “Godly Emotional Maturity” and “How to Belong to a Church—and Love It.”

 

rem:  Vikki, I love love love reading stories like yours, seeing God’s hand in the “uh oh” moments of our lives, directing us where we’d not think to look.  In an older interview, you said you wrote your first book on Commodore 64. Tell us about that experience.

VIKKI :  I actually wrote my first book, A Rose Blooms Twice, longhand, then typed it out on the Commodore. This was 1988, and I’d never touched a computer until then. Well, I found out something interesting: I’m a technophile, that is, I love technology, and I have a natural affinity for computers and software. At this point, I’m probably an MS Word professional and could teach advanced classes, lol! I also do most of my own cover design, having taught myself Photoshop over the past 15 years.

 

rem:  Can’t say I’m so advanced as to teach, but I’m absolutely a technophile and have been since the 60’s when my dad would take me to work with him and let me play with the key punch cards! (Might hit ya up for some Photoshop help in the future… #winkwink )  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

VIKKI :  Although not an exhaustive list, here are my three top recommendations.

1) Most people have at least one book, one burning message within them. Look inside: Do you have many stories to tell? Be honest. If you’re a one- or two-book person, that’s okay, but understand that to succeed as an independent author/publisher, most authors need to write and publish two or more books a year for at least five years before his or her work “takes off” and garners a readership/following.

2) That recommendation brings me to writing discipline. When you’re writing a book’s first draft, set a daily and a weekly word count goal. Mine is 2,000/daily, six days a week. That’s 12,000 words a week. (Your goals will likely be different than mine.) Are they all “good” words? I’ve found that if I write to a goal, most of what I write fits somewhere—besides, no one can steer a stationary vehicle. Get moving. As you roll along, God will provide the direction.

3) Independent publishing is a big job, and you’ll either wear a lot of hats or need to hire qualified people to help you. The one hat no author can wear or go without, however, is “Proofreader.” Why? because no one sees their own work with clear, objective eyes. The mind inserts what you intended to type, and skips right over typos and missing words. Every author need a good, reliable proofreader. I have two. Greg and Cheryl have been my teammates for five years. I could not do what I’m doing without them or our fellowship. They have become precious friends.

 

Three things would recommend not doing.

1) Writing without prayer

2) Writing without commitment

3) Writing without a self-imposed schedule. (What gets measured, gets done.)

 

rem:  Such good, clear directives. How do you choose your characters’ names?

VIKKI :  Carefully. (Ha ha!) I’m careful not to choose names that begin with the same letter as another character. I pick memorable names that seem to embody the same persona as the character.

rem:  Oh yes, the name has to fit the character! I mean, how do you get on board with a nanny named Brutus?  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

VIKKI :  Nope. I usually have only vague goals or a few scenes in my head. Along the way, I meet new characters, and they do things I didn’t plan for them to do. I’m often surprised by the direction the story takes and how it ends. Some of my characters are incorrigible!

 

rem:  YES!!! That’s pretty much how I do it, too! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

VIKKI :  I’ve just published the first two books in my Laynie Portland series, Laynie Portland, Spy Rising, and Laynie Portland, Retired Spy. They came out a month apart, June and July. I wrote Retired Spy first; while I was writing it, I told my team, “I think I should write a little prequel.” Reminds me of that riposte, “It’ll be fun, she said.” Oh, my! That little prequel, Spy Rising, became a 60,000 word novella, while the second book, Retired Spy, burgeoned to 125,000 words. Suffice it to say, I had a very busy January-July! (It’ll be fun, she said? Riiiight!)

rem:  Of COURSE it’ll be fun!!! Isn’t it always? What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

VIKKI :  My books usually (not always, but usually) feature strong female characters who don’t start out as Christians but who encounter God in a powerful way. Spy Rising follows young Laynie as she is recruited by Marstead International, a global technology/aeronautics firm. Marstead is actually a front for a joint U.S./NATO intelligence gathering organization, and they know talent when they see it.

 

Laynie, however, has some deep flaws hidden away in her heart, hidden from Marstead: She and her baby brother were adopted when Laynie was three years old, and Laynie has painful memories of a loss that she cannot recall. During her childhood, she internalized that loss. She took the blame of her biological parents’ absence/abandonment upon herself. As a result, she’s never felt worthy of God’s love. In fact, she considers herself without value or worth. She believes that if the work she does has meaning, then her life won’t be a waste. When Marstead offers her that “important” work, she determines to pass their training—no matter what or how. From the blurb:

 

“This statement is true: No one is born a spy. Laynie’s journey into a life of counterintelligence and espionage required intense training and dedication, but that journey is also a tale of choices, of decisions often made for the wrong reasons and on the basis of faulty belief and rationale. Laynie’s story discloses the inexorable breaking down of moral restraint as the pressure of what she desires overrules what she knows is right . . . when the innocence of her youth is stripped away, and the shape of her destiny is set. Many of us will relate.”

 

rem:  I had one thing in common with Laynie—I didn’t feel worthy of love or anything else from anyone, not even God. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

VIKKI :  Like the blurb above suggests, we’ve all been guilty of making wrong choices. I think most readers will find themselves shouting at Laynie, “No; don’t do that! It’s a trap, a snare!” and perhaps know the sad outcome of her ill-advised choices.

In Retired Spy, we see an older, “wiser” Laynie, a woman who realizes how far from God she is. And that’s when he begins to work! It’s a heart-pounding, suspenseful read with a few truly unexpected twists. The third book in the series, Renegade Spy, comes out in December.

 

rem:  Isn’t that a component of this life—wrong choices? Regrets? And the golden moment of grace when Father God touches those moments and turns them for our good and His glory.

Anything you’d like to add?

VIKKI :  Robin, I love to hear from new readers! I’d also like to offer five free Kindle copies of Laynie Portland, Spy Rising to your readers.

rem:  Vikki, that’s wonderful! How generous of you! Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vikki Kestell’s passion for people and their stories is evident in her readers’ affection for her characters and unusual plotlines. Two often-repeated sentiments are, “I feel like I know these people,” and “I am right there, in the book, experiencing what her characters experience.”

Vikki holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. She left a career of twenty-plus years in government, academia, and corporate life to pursue writing full time. “Writing is the best job ever,” she admits, “and the most demanding.”

Also an accomplished speaker and teacher, Vikki and her husband Conrad Smith make their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

http://vikkikestell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Vikki-Kestell/e/B007OLYM0M

https://www.facebook.com/TheWritingOfVikkiKestell

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vikki-kestell

https://twitter.com/FaithFilledFic

 

GIVEAWAY

Vikki is offering five (5) free Kindle copies of Laynie Portland Spy Rising.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:oo A.M. on Thursday 8 August and end at 12:oo A.M  on Thursday 15 August. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

“A genre to me is more the setting than the objective. My characters are real to me. I could put them in any genre and they would thrive..”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview and Giveaway, Vikki Kestell

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