The author of more than two dozen books and novellas, Vickie McDonough has won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, Texas Gold, and the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards contest.
She is a wife of thirty-six years, the mother of four grown sons, and a grandma to a feisty six-year-old girl. Vickie and her husband reside in Oklahoma.
What sparked your writing journey?
I’ve always loved reading fiction and was especially excited when I discovered Christian romance novels back in the 1980s. When I was raising my four sons, I prayed for years that God would show me a home business I could do to earn some income for our family and still be home with the boys. By the time God answered that prayer, all but one of my boys was grown—but He did answer it.
A story started coming to me, running through my mind like a movie. At first, it was weird, and I wondered why these thoughts kept coming. When the story began keeping me awake at night and I was only getting about five hours sleep, I started writing it down in the hopes it would go away and leave me alone. It didn’t, and I quickly finished the first book.
As soon as it was complete, another story idea came. After I finished that book, I began to realize that God was trying to get my attention. I talked to my husband, and we prayed about what to do. He encouraged me to take writing classes, attend a writing conference and learn all I could about the craft. I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. Next year, my thirtieth book releases. It still blows my mind that God has used me—a gal who hated English in high school and who choose to be a mommy instead of getting a college degree—to write Christian fiction novels.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
The biggest detour I’ve encountered was when my dad died suddenly, walking into a Walmart Market. That day, I became primary caregiver to my mom, who rarely left her home. It was a job I didn’t want. Mom and I didn’t get along well. But my only sister lived out of town, so there was no one left. Dad died over eight years ago, and Mom and I have grown closer, but we still have our disagreements. I’ve managed to get her out of the house, something Dad was never able to do. We bring her over on Sundays after church to eat dinner with us and she stays the afternoon. She’s even gone in a few stores with me and especially likes the ones that have the electric carts. Taking care of Mom has been challenging at times, but when I stand before God and see my dad again in Heaven, I will feel that I’ve done my best.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I love a good story about characters overcoming hard obstacles, leaving all behind to find a new future like many pioneers did. But all of those tales mean little if the characters have no faith in God and don’t trust Him in the hard times. Faith is a vital part of my life, and a faith message will always be included in my books. After all, it’s the most important element of the story.
Let’s talk about your new book, Whispers on the Prairie (Whitaker House, July 2013), the first book in your Pioneer Promises Series. Please tell us about it.
Whispers on the Prairie, book 1 in the Pioneer Promises series, is the story of a city gal who gets stuck at a remote Kansas stage stop run by a couple and their three adult sons. The brothers quickly vie for Sarah’s hand, but then other single men learn about her, and the competition increases. Sarah just wants to go home—until one certain man catches her eye. But he’s the only man in the county who seems uninterested in her. When the chance to return to Chicago arrives, will she jump at it or stay in hopes of making the perfect match?
Call of the Prairie, book 2 in the Pioneer Promises series, releases Jan, 2014. Song of the Prairie, book 3, releases July 2014.
God often uses our stories to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing Whispers on the Prairie?
God often has to take us to a difficult place before He can get our attention. It’s when we’re alone and things seem the darkest that we often release our will and let God take over. I create so much havoc for my characters that I try hard in life to listen to God so He doesn’t have to take me to the desert—or the prairie, as He did with Sarah.
I read that one of your favorite quotes is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” So…. what would you do?
I’m doing it. I’m a gal who hated English and history way back when I was in school, and I never graduated from college. I never once had the thought to write a book until God nudged me into the writing world. Selling a story to a publisher is a daunting task, but with God as my manager, failure isn’t an option. I simply walk the path which He directs me to walk. Yes, there are days when I feel like a failure, but that’s my problem, not the Lord’s. If I keep my eyes on Him, I stumble far less.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I love French Silk Pie but I rarely get it unless it is someone’s birthday. For everyday comfort food, I’d probably reach for a bowl of ice cream or a piece of chocolate candy.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Definitely no musical talent.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
A folk song that told a tale, both humorous and dramatic.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
That’s a tough question because it depends on the situation. Basically, I’m an introvert. But, I raised four sons, and I’ve had to step up and be the boss when it matters. I’m an organizer, and my ideal position would be second in command with plenty of opportunity to offer my opinion and advice.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
We don’t have a pet right now. We had a dog, but it made traveling hard, so we gave her to a family that adores her. Growing up, I had several dogs and a cat named Buster. He one time ran out the front door with my hamster in his mouth. I chased after him, screaming and yelling, and rescued my wet, petrified hamster. Poor little thing didn’t stop shaking for hours.
My favorite pets were my horses. I had three total, but only one at a time. Buddy Boy was my favorite, and I rode him all over our side of town.
Thanks, Vickie! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thanks for allowing me to be a guest!
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For more information about Vickie, visit her website.
To purchase Whispers on the Prairie, logon to:
I really enjoyed this interview.
I love how Vickie just started writing without anything on her mind except ridding herself of sleepless nights. Very cool how God led her along a path of His choosing.
And I enjoyed the fun questions. Good job to both of you.
I’ve never read one of Vickie’s books but I’m going to give “Whispers on the Prairie” a try.
Blessings to you.
I agree, Bonnie. That’s evidence of a true calling!
Thanks for stopping by tonight!
Thanks, Bonnie. I didn’t perceive it as a calling back when I was getting five hours sleep a night and had to get up and referee boys all day, but I can see now how God had a plan. It’s really cool how He works.
Kathy, Thanks for hosting me.