I’m happy to introduce to you the funny and prolific writer, Erica Vetsch.
Where did you grow up? Salina, Kansas. It’s the kind of place that a lot of people have been through, but not a lot have been to. It’s on a major interstate in central Kansas, and it was an ideal place to grow up. It’s about a third of the size of the town where I live now.
What are some memories you have of that area? Playing outside all day in the summer, having to be home when the street lights came on. Riding in the combines during wheat harvest when the whole state seemed to smell like warm bread. Watching the stubble fields burn in anticipation of a new crop of wheat being planted.
Sounds like a lovely place. What did you want to be when you grew up? For a long time I wanted to be a vet, then that changed to nurse, then to teacher. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t really believe I could for a very long time. My high school teacher knew. And I think my parents knew. They gave me a dictionary and a thesaurus for Christmas when I was 16, and I was thrilled!
Those are some pretty special parents. What brought you to Minnesota? I met and married a Minnesota boy while attending Bible college in Kansas City. This June we’ll have lived here twenty years.
What do you love about living here? I love the fall colors, the accent (yes, Minnesotans DO have an accent). I LOVE the history of this state and the way it is preserved. Minnesota has the best state historical society I’ve ever been a part of, bar none. Minnesota is definitely home now.
What doesn’t particularly ring your bell about Minnesota? As a Kansas girl, I have to say, I am still looking for spring on March 1st. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that March is actually the snowiest month for the part of Minnesota where I live!
Tell us about your writing journey. I think I was a writer in my heart and head long before I was brave enough to put words on paper. That being said, I began to dabble with fiction, finally taking the plunge to seek publication about…seven years ago now? I received my first contract from Heartsong Presents in the fall of 2008, and my first novel came out in the fall of 2009. Since then I’ve had 12 other novels and novellas published.
Twelve? That’s amazing. I’m sure you’ve learned a ton these past few years about writing, yourself, working hard, etc. Share a lesson you’ve learned during that journey. Patience, and how I can have it for a little while, then need to find it again. It’s hard to wait when you’ve poured so much of yourself into a project.
Isn’t that the truth! Has anything surprised you along the way? Something that has surprised me is the wonderfulness of the writing community. I’ve been blessed with amazing friendships that have bolstered me in the difficult times and celebrated with me in the joyful times.
Tell us about your current work. I’m currently working on a novel set in Kansas at Fort Larned about a post physician who has been given custody of his twin niece and nephew, and their aunt from the other side of the family who wants to remove them from his care and return them to the civilized East.
Where did that idea come from? I took a tour of Ft. Larned a few years ago. I’m still in the writing stages of this one, about halfway through. Editing goes fairly quickly for me. It rarely takes me more than a week to edit a novel. I tend to do some editing as I go, so it’s usually a fairly quick process. I write with my content editor’s style in mind, trying to anticipate what she would say as I go.
There’s another lesson you’ve learned along the way. So what are your future plans and goals around writing? I’d like to land another contract soon. I’m in between contracts at the moment. I’ve got some projects circulating, but haven’t heard back on them yet.
That’s where a good dose of patience is needed. What is something you’d like to experience in Minnesota that you haven’t yet? I’d love to drive along the North Shore in the fall. I’ve been up there many times, but usually in the spring or summer. I’d also like to visit all the MN State Historical Sites. The MNHS maintains 25 historical sites and museums around the state, and I’ve visited seventeen of them.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? I used to hate sewing. Now I kind of like it. I quilt a little and crochet, and I used to do quite a bit of cross-stitch. Being creative with my hands helps refuel me for being creative with words.
Thanks for being here, Erica. I’m glad you’ve settled in as a Minnesotan!
Erica will be giving away a copy of her book Sagebrush Knights to someone who leaves a comment or has a question for her this week.
Check back on Thursday to find out something new about the world-renowned Guthrie Theater, located right here in Minneapolis.