Friday, September 6, 2013

Bikers and Pearls by Vicki Wilkerson: Interview and Excerpt

Hi Vicki! Thanks so much for stopping in.  How do you describe your writing style?
Southern. I was born in this unique, picturesque place near Charleston, South Carolina, and I love writing about it. The knowledge of Southern people, their distinct dialects, their mannerisms and quirks permeate my stories. I also see humor in the world around me, so that affects my writing style, as well.

What do you think makes a good story?
When a story has a resonate message, it is a great story. I want to be a bit haunted or moved when I finish reading a book. I want to have learned something or to have my thoughts challenged by an author. I try to include that dimension in my books, as well. The first job, however, as an author, is to engage readers, but I believe that a book will have some kind of longevity with the reader if the writer delivers more than just a happily-ever-after ending.   

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why??
For Southerners, in general, they are; however, names are especially important for Southern writers. That fact can be evidenced by picking up a local telephone book or even a history book. Families often bestow their mothers’ maiden names upon their children—especially their sons with names like Rhett and Hamilton. Girls may have very proper names sometimes, but their personalities come through in their nick names with names like Meme or Sissy. For a writer, choosing a good character name is like writing in shorthand. Much can be learned about a character from his or her name. Take for example, my characters in Bikers and Pearls. April is a sweet Southern belle who is driven to conform, and Bullworth (Bull) Clayton is a strong non-conformist who writes his own rules and rules his own world. And can you guess anything about my character named Slug? Names can suggest something about a character.

What books and authors have most influenced your writing style?
Three Southern writers have influenced me tremendously. In The Water Is Wide, Pat Conroy perfectly portrayed the Southern area in which I live and described things in a way that made me see them while I read. In Off Season, another Southern author, Anne Rivers Siddons, wove a story that haunted me and made me think long after I’d turned the last page. My newest influence is Charles Frazier. His novels, like Cold Mountain, are great reads that have North Carolina (and American) history lessons secretly embedded in them. Don’t tell him, but I have a little writing crush on him right now. Not that I could EVER write like him. What he did in Cold Mountain was truly unique.

What is the next big thing?
There are three big things coming up. First, I’ve got to finish editing the Summerbrook Series. The next two books are written, but need to go through three passes each with my editor. I’ve recently had a bit of a curve ball thrown my way because my readers have been asking me when I’m going to write Hogan’s and Jenna’s story (secondary characters in Bikers and Pearls). I loved them so much that I want to put them on the front burner as soon as I can. As soon as I have those books in the hands of readers, I have a fun new series about stressed-out Southern belles who all go the same spa for relaxation and end up in each other’s business and out for revenge. But it all turns upside down on them. The series is called Southern Ladies Under Tremendous Stress. You do the acronym (smile).

What one word best describes you?

What was the scariest moment of your life?
The scariest emotional moment was when my son was born and almost died from Persistent Fetal Circulation, and the scariest physical moment was as a teacher. I had to hold back a distraught student with a big knife in her hand from stabbing another student (who’d stolen her boyfriend). Note to self: Stop teaching; start writing. Any characters with knives won’t hurt me.

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?
“Pay little attention to people when they tell you who they are. However, you can bank on the person they SHOW you they are.” The same goes for characters in books. I hope you’ll let the characters in Bikers and Pearls show you who they really are. And have fun reading!

Who said tempting a sweet Southern belle would be easy?

When rebel biker Bullworth Clayton gets tangled up with pastel-and-pearls-clad April Church, sparks fly. Sure, April would clearly rather work with anyone else, but if teaming up with Bull means a successful charity event for a sick little boy they both care about, then so be it.
April is baffled at how drawn she is to the leather-wearing, tattooed Bull—he just doesn’t fit with her simple, safe, country-club life. And as much as the handsomely rugged man tempts her, she still can’t shake the images of the tragic motorcycle accident from her past, which left her scarred and her father broken.
 Bull tempts her to don a pair of leather pants and go for a ride with him, while April desperately tries to resist her attraction to the wild side and keep her exploits hidden from her small town. Will they be able to navigate their differences and find a middle road to love?

   Amazon  |  B and N  

Praise for Bikers and Pearls:

“A sweetly Southern story with a deep heart.” –Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author of A Place to Call Home

“This lovely book is a romantic journey of self-discovery, acceptance and understanding. With wonderful characters and a captivating story, it has a perfect combination of moments that are heartwarming and touching, those which make your heart ache and humour at which I laughed out loud.” –Review from Amazon and Goodreads

“Towards the end of the book I was crying....literally had tears coming down my face because there was such an AMAZING scene. Of course I was laughing the entire book, and of course had my awww..... moments…” –Meagan Weis, Inside the World of Books

“I can easily say this is the best Bliss book I’ve read yet. It’s a very sweet, very satisfying romance with a lovely HEA. I highly recommend it.” –Sutton Fox, Fox Tales

“…I was drawn in by the rebel biker Bullworth "Bull" Clayton meeting demure pearls and skirts wearing April Church but the sweetness between them unfolded and I was hooked.” –Sarah Tolinger, Vine Voice

 “There is no hanky-panky in this book.  I repeat: there is NO hanky-panky in this book!  And you know what?!  I LOVED IT!  It made their relationship all that much more real, for me.  The chemistry is TOTALLY obvious, and they didn't need to sleep together to prove it. (Ya'll know how much I love me some steamy romances, but this is perfect just the way it is.)” –Ashley Bodette at Book Junkie

(When April first met Bullworth):

April backed up against the wall to better hide the crooked chrome she held. Of all the stupid things that could happen.
With her free hand, she brushed at the pleats on her skirt to straighten them. Then she switched the mirror into her right hand and smoothed out the other side. Everything was under control.
“What do you have there?” inquired a low, masculine voice from above her head.
She snapped to attention like she was about to undergo a military inspection.
A handsome, muscular man in a black bomber jacket towered above her, larger than life. His shoulder-length hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail. Golden streaks highlighted his nut-brown mane. His indigo-colored eyes perused her face. “Is something wrong?”
She twisted the strand of pearls that draped from her neck between her fingers with her free hand. “No. Everything’s fine,” she said. It would be as soon as she could meet up with Mr. Morrow or some of the other members from the civic organizations.
“Then what are you hiding behind your back?”
He had seen. Oh, no. He had seen.
“Just a little mishap. I’m going to take care of it.”
“You ride?” The left corner of his mouth curled up. “In a skirt?”
“No.” She hoped her voice didn’t sound strained. “No, I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle before,” she said calmly.
He narrowed his eyes. “Then why are you walking around with a Harley dome billit mirror?”
That was a good question. Why was she? She held out the broken piece of the bike in front of her. “I don’t know how it happened. I was opening my car door, and then—”
He took it from her, examined it, and gave it back. “Let me guess. It just fell.” He tilted his head, exposing a strong, angular jawline. “All by itself.”
“That’s right. It really did happen that way. Exactly.” He probably didn’t believe a word she said. And she couldn’t blame him. She heard unlikely stories like hers from claimants at the insurance company all the time.
“Ahhh, I see. Sure it did,” he said. But the left side of his grin inched upward again…”

Vicki is a native of the Charleston, South Carolina, Lowcountry and loves to share her enchantment with the area with readers through her writing. Even in childhood, she enjoyed penning stories and poems—no doubt fueled by her grandfather's enthusiasm for telling tales himself. Where else—but in the South—could one find the interesting blend of salt water, eerie swamps, unwritten traditions and unique characters? In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending weekends at her family's lake house, playing golf and cooking (with lots of wine). Visit Vicki at .

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