Victoria Hawthorne: A Sapphic Fiction February Interview
Victoria Hawthorne is the author of The House at Helygen, a fabulous dual-timeline historical fiction, and soon-to-be-released The Darkest Night, an immersive story full of family secrets. She also writes psychological suspense under the name of Vikki Patis. I am delighted to present to you all this interview with Victoria – it’s always so exciting to see how my fellow authors do things (and their opinions on sandwiches – gluten-free, in Victoria’s case)!
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
As Vikki Patis, I'm a bestselling author of psychological suspense, published by Hodder & Stoughton. I also write historical suspense as Victoria Hawthorne, published by Quercus. I live in Scotland with my wife, two wild golden retrievers, and an even wilder cat.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I've always been an avid reader and I've always wanted to write, so in 2017 I wrote the first draft of what became my debut psychological thriller, The Diary, during NaNoWriMo. After writing five psychological thrillers, I wanted to branch out into historical fiction as it's one of my favourite genres to read.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I'm a reformed pantser, so I do plan, but quite loosely! Generally, the characters are what come to me first, so I try to get to know them and go from there. It might also be an event that sparks an idea, particularly in the historical genre, so I'll do as much research as possible before I have to start writing.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
Ooh, hard one! I'd probably say Selina from The Darkest Night. Her disability is one I had as a child, so I put a lot of my own experiences into her. She's also tenacious, stubborn, nowhere near as tough as she makes out, and finds joy in the everyday.
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
Yes. I write about dark, difficult topics, some of which are drawn from my own experiences, but it can feel cathartic to get them out in this way.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
My wife used to read early drafts, but I'm too impatient to wait for her feedback, so now she listens to the audiobooks! We still discuss the books as I go along though. A few friends and family members read my books too.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
I'm terrible at this! If we're talking dream cast, for The House at Helygen, I'd say Jessica Brown Findlay as Eliza, Florence Pugh as Josie, and Naomi Watts as Alice. Jack Reynor could also make a good Henry!
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
I read, binge-watch TV shows, and go out on walks with the dogs. We're fortunate to live in such a beautiful area, but it is NE Scotland, so we go out in all weathers and often get muddy!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
Reader reviews often aren't for us. Sometimes they can be; sometimes early reviewers or bloggers will include feedback that can be taken on board for future books, but generally, reviews are for other readers and you shouldn't take things personally. And you can't make everyone happy, so stop trying!
How about in general life?
As above, some people just won't like you, and that's fine. You just need to be confident that you've tried your best and acted in line with your own moral compass. You also need to remain open to learning and changing. We are all constantly growing, so once you know better, do better.
What is a motto you live by?
Write drunk, edit sober. Not literally! But allowing yourself to write a messy first draft can be so freeing. You need to write the words before you can shape them into anything resembling a novel.
How can people connect with you?
Social media - my accounts are all under the name Vikki Patis - or via my website, vikkipatisauthor.com
Twitter - @VikkiPatis
Facebook - @Vikki Patis
Instagram - @vikkipatisauthor
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
As someone with coeliac disease who misses real bread, it would definitely need to be something amazing! There's a shop where I grew up that makes these deluxe sandwiches with names based off films - I used to get the Texas Chainsaw Moussaka which was just *chef's kiss*.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!