RKB Writes Author Interviews with
Leigh Brown & Victoria (Vikki) Corliss
Often mistaken for sisters, Leigh and Victoria (Vikki) consider themselves twins from different mothers.
We met on the sidelines of our sons’ baseball game and quickly bonded over books, baseball politics, and Mrs. Brown’s ‘famous chocolate chip cookies’. No surprise to anyone, our decision to write a book also came about over a pizza dinner and we’ve been sharing a love for writing and eating ever since.
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Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what’s the title and when?
Funny story: we’ve just spent the better part of two years drafting a story we were so excited to share with our readers, until suddenly, we weren’t, and instead of publishing our fourth women’s novel, we decided to table it instead. Sounds crazy, right? After all the countless time and energy, not to mention brain cells we’d expended bringing our baby to the finish line, why would we simply stop short like that? Well, like the song says, to everything there is a season, including works of fiction and we came to realize that this wasn’t the time for this particular story to shine. Somewhere along the way, our thinking had changed, and exciting new ideas were emerging for another, different tale that’s more in line with both our writing style and what we’re like as women, today. It wasn’t an easy choice by any means, ending a long-term commitment before it reached fruition, in fact, it was quite possibly the toughest call we have ever had to make as co-authors. Understanding that our decision to drop one story to start another could potentially cost us readers, many of whom have been waiting patiently for the next Brown Corliss book to come out, was scary, but it was even more important to be honest with ourselves and each other. And we’re clear, now, if our work doesn’t 100% meet our expectations, we have to let it go, if not forever, at least for the moment. So, even with three published titles under our collective belt, we’re still discovering the many trials and tribulations of being an author, proving there’s always more to learn about the world of writing.
Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
Vikki: I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember, which I believe has also nurtured my love of writing. Before Leigh and I began co-writing together, I worked in Marketing for several years, a career that afforded me many opportunities to try my hand at diverse forms of writing, from speeches and annual to reports, to proposals and press releases. Today, I enjoy writing women’s fiction and penning a genre of stories that coincidentally I also like to read. Everything comes full circle….
Leigh: I wrote my first book in the fourth grade. It was a scintillating tale called “Harry the Frog” and I’m pretty sure it’s sitting in a box somewhere in my attic. My first paid job, at fourteen, was at the town library. My role was to check out books and then shelve those that were returned. I would spend hours combing the book spines and pulling out anything that interested me. That job solidified my love of reading and planted the seeds of one day writing a grown-up story of my own. Many years later, when that opportunity presented itself and included writing with my dear friend, I jumped at it.
Describe your desk / writing space.
Vikki: I write in a small home office with a bay window that provides a lot of natural light and a great view of my neighborhood. From this vantage, I settle into my cozy chair with computer in hand, prepared to write. From this vantage, I also spend a lot of time staring out the window, waiting for the words to come together in my head as I watch the commuters head off to the office and children run for the school bus.
Leigh: I also have a dedicated home office/desk writing space but I can write pretty much anywhere. We always joke that you could plunk me down in the middle of a mall on Christmas Eve and I could still write despite the chaos around me.
Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?
Vikki: When we are actively working on a manuscript, I try to be disciplined and be in my office by 9:00 A.M., Monday through Friday. That doesn’t mean I won’t work weekends or evenings if an idea strikes; I have to jump on it before it leaves my head! When we are promoting our books, anything goes really and our schedules for events and programs are very flexible.
Leigh: Vikki and I have very different writing routines. I write as if I have a movie going on in my head and I’m transcribing what I see. We were just recently describing our different writing styles to an acquaintance, and I noted that Vikki creates (the words/sentences are very important and are selected deliberately) while I report (I see the story and I’m telling the reader).
How do you come up with the title to your books?
Carefully! We learned this very important lesson the hard way with our first book, Second Chances. Without thinking, we selected the title and released it, never checking to see if there were any other similarly titled publications. Guess what? There are 80,000 Second Chances, just on Amazon alone. We haven’t named a book since without first running a title search.
What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
Of our three novels, Second Chances is probably the most risqué. Knowing our mothers would eventually be reading the book, we were very nervous about them seeing the “racy” parts. Whenever asked who wrote those scenes, we would point accusingly to one another and deny, deny, deny having any hand in it. That feeling we had of getting away with something “daring” may also rank them as some of our favorite writing moments.
What inspired your book/series?
Each of our books have thus far reflected something of ourselves in them. In other words, writing from our own perspectives and experiences as women, allows us to create stories that feature a commonality that is relatable for most if not all women who enjoy reading women’s fiction.
What are you working on next?
A major reason we decided to pause work on our fourth manuscript is because we had an idea for another story that has us so excited, we’re chomping at the bit to start writing. That’s all we can say for now except, stay tuned.
What authors or books have influenced your writing?
Vikki: Leigh and I share a few favorite authors, but I particularly enjoy reading anything by Jodi Picoult, Karen White, and Elin Hilderbrand. I also like to read a variety of genres including non-fiction biographies, autobiographies, and historical novels. I appreciate learning so much more now, as an adult, than I did as a student in school.
Leigh: While I have favorites, I like to give all authors a try. I am very fortunate to be part of a few different groups that pass along books and often I’m reading an author’s work that I might never have stumbled on by myself. For those books that I enjoy reading, I’m always trying to evaluate what the author is doing right to keep me coming back for more.
If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
Vikki: Tough question. I honestly can’t pick just one place.
Leigh: Jurassic Park. No, just kidding! I grew up near the ocean and it’s ingrained in my soul. Wherever I am, the ocean has to be close by and I’m happy.
What is your favorite meal?
Vikki: Another tough question. I’m not sure, but a crusty a French baguette with a creamy Brie cheese would probably have to be a part of it. Oh, and chocolate anything.
Leigh: I only need a few things to survive….pizza, French fries, chocolate chip cookies and cheese.
Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
Vikki: Both and both.
Leigh: Neither, I’m a Diet Coke drinker. Definitely wine and its sparkling cousin Prosecco.
Describe yourself in three words.
Vikki: Optimistic. Dreamer. Foodie.
Leigh: Grateful to be….