Celebrating the release of her debut novel The Diary, we asked author Vikki Patis to let us in on a few things she'd like her readers to know about her! Here's what she had to say...
1. I’m a plotter in life, but definitely a pantser when it comes to writing! I love planning – I’ll plan holidays months in advance, spend hours choosing outfits ahead of events, and I just generally like things to be within my control. But when it comes to writing, I struggle to plan anything past a brief outline of the characters and events. I prefer to sit down and write whatever comes to me; I’m very unstructured! But that’s what edits are for, I guess.
2. I have coeliac disease and fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a couple of years ago, and coeliac disease earlier this year. Both conditions are largely under control through medication and diet, but I still have limitations. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain and fatigue, so writing and working full-time can definitely impact my health. It’s a good job my partner & I love to cook, so coming up with gluten free recipes hasn’t been too difficult, but I haven’t been able to find a decent gluten free jam doughnut yet!
3. I studied Policing & Criminology at university. I absolutely loved my time at university. I did a foundation degree in Policing at Duchy College in Cornwall, which was amazing. I met so many incredible people, and it was just really fun. Most of us then went onto Plymouth University to do a BSc top-up in Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies. I love learning, and while my degree was challenging, I truly loved my time there. I cried when I had to move back up country!
4. I was meant to start an MRES this year. I was accepted onto a Masters by research late last year, to begin this January. Everything was set – my loan was in place, I’d started my research, and I’d been chatting excitedly to my tutor. And then something happened in my personal life that blew everything apart. Certain events in The Diary are based on my real experiences, and I just felt the sudden need to get it all out. I started writing in October, smashed out 50k words during NaNoWriMo, and submitted to Bookouture in February. The rest, as they say, is history! It could have been the worst decision ever, but I knew I could always go back to the MRES when the time was right. I still hope to, someday!
5. I’ve been writing since I was young, but I dipped in and out as I grew up, and I only started writing again properly after joining my university paper. They wanted someone to write about their experiences coming from a foundation degree and entering university in the third year, and I volunteered. I started writing more regularly for them after that, then I started an Ask The Author project which eventually spread to my own blog, The Bandwagon, and other sites, including Lovereading.co.uk. It got quite big at one point, and I featured numerous authors, big and small! I really enjoyed it, and I still review books when I have time. I’ve always been a huge fan of reading, even as a child, and my dream was to become a writer. It still feels very surreal!
6. I self-published a collection of short stories in 2016. As part of the Ask The Author project, I had the absolute privilege to interview George RR Martin at WorldCon in London in 2014. I’m still not entirely convinced it wasn’t all a dream! He was such a fab guy, really nice and easy to chat to. After the usual interview questions, he asked if I wanted to write, and when I told him that I could never finish anything, he told me to write short stories. Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of short stories as a reader. But that advice stuck with me until, finally, I sat down and wrote what would become Weltanschauung, a collection of five short stories. The response it has received really boosted my confidence, and helped me continue to write. So thank you, George RR Martin!
7. The Diary is a combination of three failed books. I’ve wanted to write something based around my own experiences for a few years now, but none of my manuscripts ever got past 7000 words. I know now that if I get stuck around that point, the manuscript is doomed! It took a long time for The Diary to take shape, but once it started flowing, I just couldn’t stop. My fabulous editor whipped it into shape, and although the editing process can be brutal, I’ve been amazed at the end result. I feel very fortunate to have been paired with my editor!
8. I work in regulatory affairs. I always receive a blank stare when I tell people my job title! I’m the regulatory and quality manager for a medical device manufacturer and distributor, which essentially means I ensure our medical devices are safe and compliant, keep on top of regulatory and legislative requirements, and keep our quality management system running smoothly. It can be a bit dry at times, but I also get to dig into technical files and lab tests, and really get my brain cells working, so I enjoy it! I also prefer working in a small team for a small, family-run company; it means I don’t get lost in amongst the cogs that make up bigger companies, and I have some flexibility when edits are looming over me!
9. I live in Hertford. We moved to Hertfordshire when I was 12, but I never really loved the areas I grew up in. Just like Lauren in The Diary, I went to school in Hitchin, and I spent most of my teenage years there. Now we live in Hertford, and we absolutely love it. It’s such a beautiful town, surrounded by amazing countryside. My second book is set in Hertford, which is due out next year, and I’ve really enjoyed bringing the town to life.
10. I follow the curly girl method. I have naturally wavy/curly hair, and I discovered the curly girl method earlier this year. It’s so much fun! My hair is so much healthier than it ever was, and it’s really interesting to see how much your hair can change with just a few amendments to your routine. I’m big on self-care, and I usually like to unwind by deep conditioning my hair and putting a face mask on, then curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, a cat, and a book. It’s the little things after all!
The Diary by Vikki Patis is available now from Amazon, iBookstore, Kobo and Googleplay.
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