1: Horses saved me.
When I was four, I was handed into the lost and found at the Royal Melbourne Show because I’d followed a horse instead of my parents. The year I turned eight, I started riding lessons on a Shetland pony called Buster Brown. He taught me the tougher side of riding with his pony antics, and made me love horses even more.
I got the real-life Dusty when I was twelve. Over the twenty-two years we had together, she listened to my hopes and dreams, my secrets, and gave me a reason to keep going. Both she and the real-life Snotty, a racehorse I rode trackwork on, have since crossed the rainbow bridge, but as they both left an indelible mark on my heart, I had to honour them in Breaking Storm.
2: How hard can writing a book be?
A stay-at-home mum with three kids under four, I decided to turn my love of stories into a career. It couldn’t be that hard, after all. I always had stories in my head, I just had to write them down.
Fourteen years and ten manuscripts later (though I shudder when I read them now, I’m thankful because they were my apprenticeship works), I had the idea for Breaking Storm, and I knew that this was the one.
3: I write romantic suspense.
I used to blush and mumble when people asked what I wrote. It took me years to be proud of what I write. I didn’t realise I wrote romantic suspense until two judges in a competition pointed out that pitching Breaking Storm as romance might be misleading as it had darker content than mainstream romance. The revelation, though oddly freeing, shouldn’t have been a surprise as my favourite authors are Karen Rose and Nora Roberts. Now, when I get asked what do you write? I answer with a proud smile, I write romantic suspense.
4: I’m a country girl.
Though I lived on the outskirts of Melbourne until I was ten, I’ve always been a country girl. Leaving home at eighteen, I spent three summer seasons as a horse trail riding instructor at Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. I also found my own HEA in Jindabyne, marrying my fellow riding instructor after my first season. Over the years, we’ve travelled to some beautiful places across Australia. We’ve lived by the coast, in the bush, amongst rolling hills, in small country towns, and cities, but to me, nothing beats the breathtaking views from the mountaintops, or the spread of green grass across a tree dotted paddock in spring. I love the smell of rain on parched ground, and the thrill of bush riding through thick fog in winter. I could quite happily live as a hermit in the mountains somewhere, as long as I can have my husband and my horse with me. And a computer, of course.
5: I love geocaching.
We discovered this odd sounding activity five years ago while on a road trip to Coober Pedy. It’s like hunting for Easter eggs, but you don’t get any chocolate at the end. What you do get, though, is the thrill of decoding hints to finding a well-hidden treasure, sometimes in the most surprising places. It costs nothing but a bit of thinking, and maybe some exercise, and can be incorporated into any road trip. I had to include geocaching in Breaking Storm, and having Pipa find one, fitted perfectly.
6: I’m addicted to tattoos and chocolate.
I see tattoos as stories on the skin. I love being able to see the things I love represented on my skin. So far, I have five tattoos, but there will be more
The chocolate on the other hand, is a problem, as I’m also diabetic.
7: I write stories of survival.
Growing up, I wanted to read about women who’ve come through the worst in life, found love, and lived their Happily Ever After. I wanted a story about me. Movies and books often showed all kinds of abuse, but never tackled the aftermath. I wanted the after, I wanted to know that my fear, my anger, and my reactions to intimacy were typical. I wanted to see and read that life could be lived, love could be found, and trust could be mended.
Now that I live those truths, I want to share them, and hopefully show those needing the same reassurances that they are seen, they are believed, and life can be lived, not just endured.
About the Author
Vikki Holstein is the author of Breaking Storm, the first book in her romantic suspense series, White Wattle Creek. A full-time writer, between life’s normal interruptions, she lives in country Victoria with her husband and tribe of animals. Breaking Storm is released 8 May.