Behind Every Author . . . by J Vincent

When I first read the topic for this month--who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing--I immediately saw and heard a scene from White Christmas where Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen break into song with “Sisters.”  I also thought “Winter time and blessedly cold in light of the recent run of too many 100+ degree days!

One of the definitions of influence I found online is in part: To move by power, physical or moral; to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to move; to persuade; to induce.  Across the last thirty-five years my sister, Vera, has influenced my writing in many ways.

While I’m certain that all my reading, study, and interaction with other writers have altered my writing--be it how or what I write, or the depth and quality, my sister is the one who started me down the road, has kept me on the path and cheered me on through failure and success.  One summer long ago Vera loaned me over 200 Regency romances when I was bed-fast for a time.  I read them all in a month and was certain I could do better than some of those authors.  Through my early years as an author that was the limit of her participation.  I am nine years older and was married while she was still a child.  She is of genius level intelligence and got her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Berkley while I was majoring in hands on child-rearing and other domestic tasks.  We didn’t really know each other; we didn’t have much in common.  Or so we thought.

Then in 2000 I retired from teaching and Vera began urging me to turn back to writing.  She more than urged.  She informed me that was giving me a free ride to a Romantic Times Convention in Houston that fall and, by the way, she added, she had entered me in a writing contest.  The directions and rules were attached to the email.  To be honest, I was not suitably thankful for some time.  But I found it difficult to turn my back on a challenge and finally worked my way into writing what was necessary for the contest--a ten page ending to a short synopsis of a story which could be put into any time period.  Doing this did, as I suspect she planned, whet my appetite for writing..  I took first place in the contest and came home ready to write a new book!  The trip started my relationship with Vera toward a deep friendship.

Since that weekend Vera has purchased research books, cheered me on, cajoled me, prodded me, did whatever was necessary to keep me writing.  She’s the one who suggested I find an even more dangerous villain when my bad guy got himself killed in chapter five in the first book of what would became the Honour series.  She also recommended I use Andre, Baron de la Croix (who was a child in my 1980 published Bond of Honour) for the series.  It is solely through her years’ long efforts (drip, drip, drip onto a stone until it wears down policy) that I indie published Honour’s Debt this spring in both print (available from my website) and as an ebook. 

Vera has always challenged me to be the best I can be and my writing is much better for all her encouragement as well as practical advice.  I look forward to reading who or what challenged or helped my fellow WARA writers along the road to publication.


Reese Mobley said...

Thank heavens your sister pushed you to greatness!!!! We all need that special someone in our corner.

Pat Davids said...

I never had a sister, but if I did, I'd want one like Vera, who saw not only who you were but who you could be. Awesome.

Joan Vincent said...

Vera is indeed special. She taught me never to judge a "book" by the cover or the first chapter. I would have missed a lot if I hadn't read a few more of her chapters.

Melissa Robbins said...

That's awesome you have such a supportive sister. My sister is also a writer and we encourage each other.

Penny Rader said...

I'm blessed to have two fabulous, supportive sisters. Vera sounds like a special lady and I'm glad you have her in your life, Joan.