# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Vicki Fitzgerald, a UK crime thriller author. I’ve published two thrillers Kill List and Briguella, plus a memoir, Still Standing.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My memoir conveys my life journey to date and all the obstacles I’ve overcome from divorce, betrayal, suicide attempts, depression and learning to walk again after breaking my leg in nine places. To the more cheery side, which is the point I have now reached with new love and a contract with Hollywood producer Ken Atchity. I just wanted to inspire people to never give up and keep going no matter what life throws at you.
My thrillers also do touch on circumstances which have happened to me, including drugging. I wanted to show how someone’s life can change at any moment in time and unspeakable actions can occur.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’m a pisces, so I was born with a creative side. I’ve always loved writing and started out as a Journalist before embarking on my own Public Relations firm. Writing is what I do best. It makes me feel alive. Briguella, my debut was based on a real case of a sex attacker that I covered for a regional paper about 15 years ago.
# How do you deal with creative block?
I tend to leave the house and go to look for locations where I can set a scene. I take photos and notes and try to make the scene as true to life as possible when writing. If it’s raining I tend to watch a dark thriller to delve into my dark side.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not editing enough and not leaving time to let it settle. I personally think once you have finished your manuscript you should let it sit for a while. Take a break and go do some fun activities. It helps to come back with fresh eyes. That’s when you notice mistakes and you tighten your writing to make it even better.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I would suggest examining titles in your own genre, see what seems to be working. With Kill List, I had the cover designed with yellow, red and white writing. I put it out to Facebook and the majority were attracted to the yellow, as was I.
I think punchy titles work best.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Don’t get me wrong when you receive a bad review it’s like a punch to the stomach. You have to realise your book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea! Kill List is dark and twisted with violent scenes, but it had to be in order for it to be true to life.
Still Standing attracted a few negatives but I can see through those. They were written by people who recognise themselves as the bad characters who hurt me. The truth hurts as they say. At the end of the day the positive reviews far outweigh the bad and that’s what is important.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I’ve got others involved. Asked for friends (some with writing backgrounds) to read through it. This has kept me on my toes when I’m have writer’s block. They are demanding more that I haven’t written, so It’s made me more disciplined. Also they have helped with inputting ideas. I also edit, edit, edit! Printing it out works best and scribbling with a pen.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The worst aspect is submitting a book to an agent, waiting months and months, only to be told sorry it doesn’t fit with our agency. I always kept in the back of my mind, Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ was rejected 30 times before it was published and turned into a blockbuster movie. You have to tell yourself to never give up and chase your dreams.
The best moment is receiving your book in the post and holding it in your hands for the very first time. It makes you feel super proud of yourself and how far your have come.
I have found other author’s surprising. Worldwide bestseller, Adam Croft, went out of his way to help me, offering a review and advice on the best writing system to use. He really didn’t have to help and I’m extremely grateful.
Surprisingly, I found a jealous side when pitching in Dublin at the Writer’s Conference to Ken Atchity and received negative comments from those who were not selected. And if I am completely honest, those who are closest to me have not given me the support I would have hoped for, or even read some of my novels, or show any interest in what I do, which makes me very, very sad and disappointed.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I guess it was personal satisfaction for my memoir. I needed to get the truth of my chest as some many people form their own, wrong opinions.
With thrillers, it’s about giving the readers a great story and world for them to delve into. The positive reviews once published give me great satisfaction.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
A huge role. I find myself crying at some scenes when I am writing them. I put my heart and soul into my writing and try to draw from my own personal circumstances that I have experienced and overcome. To me it feels more believable.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
I draw inspiration from people around me. If I see a particular character in real life, I recall their looks and traits. For example the evil character, DCI Cronwell was inspired from a man I encountered on a course. He had tiny Tic Tac teeth, dribbled a lot in the corner of his mouth and had a scar down one side of his face. He was certainly someone I would never forget.
Keep a notebook by your bed in case you have any ideas or wake from a dream. Guaranteed, if you do not get them down, you’ll quickly forget. Brainstorm. Always print your manuscript out and look at the first paragraph and last paragraph. This helps me see if they are punchy enough to draw you in and make you turn the page.
# What are your plans for future books?
Kill List could potentially be turned into a TV series. My agent and I have finalised a film treatment. He has the option to produce it, or pitch to other Hollywood or indeed UK producers.
I’m currently working on my forth novel, Lies Kill.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I know how to kill and get away with it and the best place to dump a body! Not that I am planning on committing murder.
I love to cook, especially Greek cuisine, with a nice drop of wine.
I love music, especially 60s classic soul and Motown.
I’ve had reconstructive surgery to my spine from a slipped disc 11 years ago. And now a metal rod in my leg, which helped me to walk again after a bike crash in 2019. I’m a fighter!
I have two wonderful children who keep me on my toes and think that I’m a little disturbed!
I’ve two dogs and an 18 year old cat.
I’ve met and interviewed numerous celebrities in my role as a journalist.
I have a BA (hons) degree in Journalism.
I love to travel and explore new places and countries. But I was once rescued at sea in Turkey after our pedalo drifted.
Working outdoors in the sunshine is my favourite place to write.
I once undertook a feature campaign challenged by readers to undertake tasks. From that I learned to bellydance, pole dance, model, ring church bells, and work in McDonalds.
I can make homemade bath bombs, soaps, whips, and bath milks.