When Did I Become a Writer–and a Giveaway by Vickie Fee

Barb here. I’m so happy to welcome Friend of the Wickeds Vicki Fee to the blog today.

Vickie will give away a signed paperback copy of Til Death Do Us Party to one lucky commenter here.

The next entry in Vickie Fee’s Liv & Di in Dixie cozy mystery series, TIL DEATH DO US PARTY (with the electric pink cover), comes out March 27. The Dixie gang travels to Las Vegas for Mama and Earl’s rockin’ Elvis-themed wedding, while Liv juggles a bachelorette party for Mama and a problem-plagued soirée back home. Mama and Earl’s happily-ever-after seems like a sure thing, but all bets (and nuptials) are off when they get to the Burning Love Wedding Chapel. Their Elvis-impersonating minister has left the building…permanently. And worse, Liv’s cousin, Little Junior, is suspected of his murder. With Mama’s happy ending on the table and Little Junior about to lose it all, the stakes are higher than ever. Liv and Di must hit the Strip to find the real killer before he finally plays his ace…


When people ask how I became a novelist, I usually tell them I worked many years as a newspaper reporter and finally decided I wanted to write my own stories instead of other people’s—and that editors take a dim view of reporters who make up stuff. This is true, but only part of the story. My writing roots go much deeper.

I was the kid who couldn’t wait to write about my summer vacation. While most of my classmates seemed to dread these little writing exercises, I relished them. Not that my summer vacations were all that exciting, but I knew I could make them sound exciting if I just found the right words. By the third grade, I was nerdily reading my way through the 10-inch-thick unabridged dictionary at our house. I started this self-imposed project because I was deadly serious about the school spelling bee. But I soon became much more interested in the meanings and sounds of words than their spelling.

In the fourth grade I won a national essay contest in my age group, which garnered me a congrats over the school public address system, a box of candy from my principal and an appearance on a local TV news show. Not only that, but they gave me a huge pile of cash (a $25 savings bond). My writing career was assured at that moment. However, I spent a few decades writing for school and then writing for newspapers before I broke into fiction.

The mystery writer seed was also planted early on, even if it bloomed late. By age 12 I had moved from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie. I loved trying to unravel the whodunit. I loved the setting. But more than anything I loved the characters, especially Miss Marple. I daydreamed that Miss Marple was my great aunt with whom I spent summers in St. Mary Mead, having tea, untangling her yarn and—most importantly—helping her solve murders. As years passed, I read voraciously and explored many genres, but my first love remained traditional mysteries. And if I didn’t like the way a novel ended, or thought the author didn’t resolve a subplot the way the she should, I would rewrite it in my head. I believe this is when I became a mystery writer, although I didn’t know it at the time.

I’m now a certified (or certifiable) mystery writer, with three books published and a fourth set to release in a few days. From this side of things, I understand better how my favorite authors sometimes went off course with a subplot or an ending. Writing a novel that weaves together an intriguing plot and compelling characters isn’t easy. I don’t claim to have mastered the mystery, but those rare, precious moments when things come together and I feel like I’m getting it right are glorious. Still, at some point in every manuscript so far there has come a moment when I’ve asked myself, “Why did I ever think I was smart enough to be a mystery writer?” But when one big piece of the puzzle finally falls into place, I think, “I’m brilliant! I’ve just figured out my own mystery.” The one that I made up myself.

Readers: Was there a moment when you knew (at the time or in retrospect) that you would become a writer, or teacher, or doctor or…? Comment or simply say hi to be entered to win Til Death Do Us Party. (Love the title.)


Vickie Fee, the highly-caffeinated author of the LIV & DI IN DIXIE mystery series, was born and raised in Memphis, where Elvis and BBQ are king. She worked many years as a newspaper reporter in small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in the fictional town of Dixie. She now lives in Marquette, Michigan with a peek-through view of Lake Superior and a longsuffering husband. Catch up with Vickie (www.vickiefee.com) on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VickieFeeAuthor), Twitter (@vickiefeeauthor), or on the mystery blog (www.chicksonthecase.com).

103 Thoughts

  1. That first day after every holiday when the teacher says I want you to write a story about something excited you did and all the kids moaned. Not me, I had my pencil at the ready.

  2. I’ve always been more of a muddler-through, and at 69 that is not liable to change.

  3. Love hearing about people’s journeys to becoming writers. It’s a good thing that you didn’t make stuff up when you were a reporter 🙂 I’ve definitely noticed that I read mysteries differently now that I’m writing them myself. Congrats on the release – love the cover!

  4. Although I am no writer, I do LOVE to read them. 🙂

    “Til Death Do Us Party” sounds like a great book and one that I’d so love to read. Absolutely love that you went to your roots (Memphis) and wrote an Elvis based wedding albeit in Las Vegas. Then again, I can think of all the mystery and intrigue Las Vegas would have to offer for the storyline and know it’s a perfect setting. I have to tell you that I adore the cover!

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of your soon to be released book. Hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. Welcome back, Vickie! I love the title of your series — it is so clever! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was little. But while you were dreaming of spending time with Miss Marple, I was dreaming of being the niece of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. I used to write stories about our adventures. Thankfully, those stories have disappeared!

    1. Back in the day, I was in LOVE with Illya! I haven’t thought about in a long time until I read your comment!

      1. That makes two of us. Even after all these years, I still think he was a dreamboat!

    2. Thanks! Ooh, Sherry, I loved Man From U.N.C.L.E.! I have the whole series in DVD. We’re missing you at LCC!

  6. I always love hearing the stories of other authors’ paths to publication. Thanks for sharing yours, Vickie – you’ve always been on track to be where you are now.

  7. I wanted to be many things, but I had a parent who thought that guidance counselors and Asst. Principals were gods and could do no wrong. In 8th. grade I took the entrance exam for a math and science specialty h.s. here in NYC. I passed in the top 2%, mommy dearest was called in so they could tell her I wasn’t going because I talked a bit too much in class. She just goes ” Oh, your professionals so you must know what you’re doing”. They told her they were sending a kid from a broken home instead (broken home because everyone took turns going to prison). The kid was the school bully who picked on the smaller kids and got away with it. At that point a couple of switches in my head not only turned off, they broke for life. I no longer gave a damn about school or anything else.

  8. No, I’m still trying to figure out what I really want to do. Excited to read this next book!

  9. I knew I would be an English professor at a very early age. I loved school and I loved learning, reading, and writing, and I knew that would always be part of my life. Of course, I took a long and arduous route to get to my goal, but I got there, and now teach composition, literature, and tech writing.

    1. Tina, taking the long route is okay. (I did, too). But, congrats on teaching your goal!

  10. I”m a chemist and realized how much I loved science in HS. It just always amazed me (and still does)!

  11. I was pointed towards a career in Radiologic Technology when my father had some x-rays done. I do love the title! dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

  12. Not really, I have kind of had an unusual career trajectory. But we were just talking the other night, I always thought I would be a ‘grown-up’ when I would watch 60 minutes every week. Of course, that never happened. Sunday evenings before the school and work week were always hectic with those last minute homework things that always seemed to be put off. They even have Oprah now, did you know that? We just happened to have it on the other week and there she was. Looking forward to more in your fun series!

  13. Congrats on the new book! The idea of being a writer was always in my back-brain, and one day it just made it’s way to the front I guess.

    1. Thanks, Liz! That trip through the brain can be a long one sometimes.:)

  14. Huge congratulations on the new book, and welcome to the blog! I also loved Miss Marple, and Agatha Christie influenced me greatly. As to when did I know? For me, a better question is when did I dare to dream? I still pinch myself.

    1. Thanks, Julie! I had a signing this morning at Left Coast Crime. Signing books with my name in the cover is still a “pinch me” moment for me. How lucky are we?!

  15. I love the story of your writing journey! I also love your series—it has quickly become one of my favorite series. I am anxious to read Til Death Do Us Party (great cover, by the way)!

  16. Your comment about Aunt Marple made me laugh. As a child, I would lie in bed at night & script these elaborate plots (I called them “wake dreams”) wherein I was a sweet, brilliant orphan (or something equally sympathetic) taken in by Miss Marple. I would set the scene & let the story unfold. Looking back, I must have had insomnia as a child because, between reading under the covers & spinning adventures with Miss Marple, Nick & Nora, & Nero Wolfe, I did not do much actual sleeping!

    1. That’s cool! I wonder if Agatha Christie had any idea how many children fantasizes about hanging out with Miss Marple?!

  17. I always hated school writing assignments since I could never write about what I wanted to write about. And my imagination wasn’t good enough to see how I could turn what I really did into something very exciting. I think that’s why I stick to reviews instead of writing novels.

    I’ve got some catching up to do in this series, and I’d love to win a copy of the latest one.

  18. Hi Vicki,
    Loved reading about you! I would love
    to win your book! My twin sister loves
    Elvis . So I would surprisingly give it to
    her. She would love it!!! I may have to read it first, though 😏 she’ll never know. Thank you for the chance.
    Have a great Day!

  19. There was nothing that really jumped out at me when I was younger that told me “this was what I was meant to do”. I’ve always loved helping people and being the person that is there to talk to when needed. Maybe that’s why I have a good relationship with my adult kids and their friends that also call me Mom. Maybe my calling is to be a Mom?
    Margaret: scarletbegonia5858(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. Vickie, your book sounds great and the cover is just spectacular. This is definitely a “Pick me up and Read Me” book. Wishing you all the best. Congratulations on your latest release.

  21. I’m 67 and am still waiting to grow up and figure out what I want to be besides an obsessional reader!

  22. I had wonderful teachers in my early education so naturally, I wanted to become one.
    I was very creative as a child when I was given paper, pencils and a book to read. Loved working with those objects.
    Yes, I am a teacher.

  23. I’m a librarian and knew from an early age that I wanted to do something with books. In college I dabbled with history and education but ultimately decided that the library was where I wanted to be. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. It’s a favorite of mine! Thanks for the chance to win!

  24. Hi Vicki! So nice to “meet”you! I love the cover! I knew at an early age I would become addicted to reading:)

  25. HI Vicki, what a treat to hear about your new book, and the start of your writing career! I had wanted to be a writer since elementary school but didn’t get further than procedure manuals at places I’ve worked. I haven’t given up yet! Happy book birthday!

  26. Vickie Fee’s books are a lot of fun — and full of unusual party themes.

  27. Yes for loving The Man From UNCLE and Ilya. I used to imagine myself in those episodes and ones from Star Trek and Star Wars. I never wrote them down. I’m definitely a reader and not a writer.

  28. Vickie married one of my best friends from high school. Since I warmed him up for her as a sounding board through both high school and college, I think I earned a free copy of her book LOL! I have all three in ebook form and I tell her all the time she is my” Famous Friend” but she hasn’t gotten the hint to send me an autographed paper copy from that yet LOL! SO PROUD OF HER! Way too cool!

  29. I really used to really dread those assignments when we were told to write about what we did on summer vacation, so I guess I was meant to be a reader and not a writer. Looking forward to reading “Til Death Do Us Party”. Great series.

  30. Left a long message that got lost. So I’m going to try to reconstruct it. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was around 15 years old. At first I thought I wanted to be a teacher. But I said,”no I can’t do that I’m to shy to stand up in front of a group of people and talk/teach them. Then I thought maybe a religious Catholic Nun. I really liked the habit/clothes they wore. That all changed when I became interested in the oppisite sex. Then I thought, well maybe a secretary. Again I said, “No I can’t do that either because I’ll never learn to type fast or learn shorthand.” I also didn’t think I could sit at a desk all day. Then I thought maybe I could be a writer because I liked writing little stories. I took an English writing class and my teacher told me that I would never make it as a writer. I let that put a damper on that idea and I gave it up. When I was about 15 years old I became a “Candy Striper” at a hospital to see if I would like to become a nurse. I wasn’t sure I could tolerate certain things I would have to do, or things I would see. One day when I was passing the morgue in the basement of the hospital the door was open. I saw a deceased patient lying on a gurney with a cut down the chest and the organs removed. I quickly left the room but I wasn’t sick or very upset about what I saw. I only felt sorry for the patient lying there. It was then that I decided I could be a nurse and tolerate any sites I might see while doing my job. Little did I know there would be times I would be very sad and upset but never because of the site. It usually had something to do with the patient being very sick and or dying. So, I made the right decision for myself and worked as a Registered Nurse for 50 years through good times and bad. I’m a nurturer and enjoyed helping my patients.

  31. Oh my how I LOVE this series. So happy there is another one coming. The Wicked Authors are some of my favorites. Thanks for all of the giveaways you all do. Thanks for many, many hours of good reading.

  32. I always wanted to work for the airlines ( and my mother wanted it for me too so she could fly to see her family in Germany, lol). I knew it was going to happen and made it happen. Should have stayed working at the veterinarians office, much calmer, lol

  33. I knew by second grade that I wanted to be a teacher. I recently retired as a special education teacher!!

  34. Thanks, Wickeds, for being my gracious hosts today! It’a always fun hanging out with you guys!

  35. I went to a college that had been a teachers’ college for many years and had only recently added other majors. Since I know I didn’t want to be a teacher, I chose accounting and it turned out to be a good steady profession for me.

  36. I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have been waylaid through many other positions. I was a story teller from as early as I can remember. I started up when my parents grew tired of “Just one more story.” I also was really into recording my own little radio shows. Still it wasn’t until age 40 that I started in radio. Writing is still my great love.
    Congratulations on Til Deal Do Us Party. Sounds like a wild read!

  37. When I was about 7, I decided I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to take care of people. I had never met a nurse at that time except, I’m guessing, at the doctor’s office. Later on, my next door neighbor and my aunt were nurses. I became an RN and worked until I could no longer work. My license is officially retired now after 43 years.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  38. This book sounds hilarious, and enjoyed the bio.
    I don’t think I gave serious thought to wanting to write until I got older. I still haven’t taken the plunge. But I’ve always loved to read. Congrats on the new release.

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