Tuesday 23 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: VICKI HENDRICKS interviews VICKI HENDRICKS

I thought I should give a little room to a Tweet I saw from Allan Guthrie yesterday. He'd just noticed 'Amazon is selling new copies of the US hardcover of SLAMMER for $7. Normally $26. Mental. http://tinyurl.com/28bnc56 '.

Allan's one of my favourite authors and Slammer would definitely make the top 10 of my best reads of the past 2 years if I were to make one. It's a cracker of a book, the cover's genius and to get the hardback at that price I might have a pop myself even though I have a paperback already. It could be a Christmas present for you to yourself, to the one you love or even to the one in the office you can't stand but drew in the Secret Santa (it would definitely raise the hair on the back of their necks). It's my top gift top of the season.

And today? No introduction necessary, but thanks for being here Vicki.

1. Why are you so fascinated with evil?

Just wanted to clear this up! Someone asked me just yesterday, and I began to wonder if it’s a common question of people who read my books. Actually, I’m not fascinated with evil. I don’t understand evil or worry about evil. I’m not sure I even believe in it. However, I am drawn to the abnormal. My characters are nearly all psychologically unbalanced because I’m curious about what makes people tick off beat. I invent them and explore deeper, and for suspense and excitement, add a murderous level of passion to the mix. My characters have lived disastrous lives, and when, at their wits’ ends, they resort to bloody murder, who can fault them?

2. Why do you write?

This is a question I ask myself almost daily when I’m stressed, trying to fit writing and publicity into my schedule along with the full-time teaching of composition. I have always worshipped books, and no doubt, that’s what got me started, along with the fact that I have always been rewarded more for writing than anything else I can do. But I don’t love sitting at the computer nearly all day every day, or feeling guilty if I’m not sitting there, and I’m not making enough money at it to justify the time I spend writing. Maybe I think that I will “hit it big” again one of these days, as I did with my first novel Miami Purity, published by Pantheon in 1995. It was strikingly different from other crime novels at the time, with its strong sexual content and rough female character, but it didn’t rake in the expected sales. I doubt that I can fool them twice! So, as I ponder the delicious idea for my next novel, and the one after that, and even the third idea down the line, I can’t answer why I do it, but I keep trying.

3. Why can’t I think of a question with a short answer?


4. What is your favorite of the novels you’ve written?

Voluntary Madness. Very few people have heard of it and it’s out of print, but I’m hoping to bring it back on Kindle soon. I sympathize with the desperate wanna-be writer and his innocent girlfriend. She’ll do anything to inspire a scene, flashing her fragile body in an alley in Key West and breaking into Hemingway’s House. Lesbians and spells, the romantic mystery of Coral Castle, Fantasy Fest and Key West cooking . . . . It’s my kind of stuff.

5. What do you do when you get bogged down?

I’ve heard that you’re supposed to toss in a gun, but I usually crank out a sex scene—often more useful than a weapon.

6. Why are there so many animals in your books?

I love all animals—soft, slinky, powerful or sweet. I enjoy myself and feel most creative when writing about their personalities and behaviors. Every one of my novels has an animal in a major role: Radar, the collie, in Miami Purity; Chinasky, the iguana, in Iguana Love; the seeing-eye Yorkie in Voluntary Madness; the lion cub in Sky Blues; and a charming albino python named Peppy in Cruel Poetry. The novel I’m working on now is about an animal hoarder, and it’s filled with dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, a macaw. Even my recent collection, Florida Gothic Stories, has an alligator, dogs, a cat, monkeys and an ape, a dolphin, an iguana who loves her black leather Harley vest . . . . I could go on.

7. Have you ever used a pseudonym?

Not yet.

8. What is the last book you read?

Vicki Hearne’s Animal Happiness. Hearne passed away in 2002, having taught philosophy at Yale, written poetry, and spent what seems to have been most of her time training dogs, a fascinating combination. She is so handy with language and her usage of philosophical and literary terms to bring out insights in dog training and animal, often necessitates rereading sentences and paragraphs and making notes on nearly every page.

9. Who is your favorite author?

Impossible to say because I change daily. My long standing favorite is James M. Cain, either The Postman Always Rings Twice or Serenade. He can do in 100 pages what takes 300 for anybody else.

10. Have any of your novels been made into movies?

No, but people keep trying. Voluntary Madness was optioned by a British company when it first came out, but they never got it together. Miami Purity has always been under option. I think I’m on the fourth or fifth producer, but still hopeful. We just need that star or studio with a few million dollars to invest. It could probably be done for a measly million. No need for fancy effects. A beach, a house, and a dry cleaners—or yeah, a strip club. Anybody out there interested?



  1. Vicki is the Queen of Noir ... and if I read her in high school I never would've left the bathroom (teaser for yous guys out there) ... I'm with her on the animals except for those dinosaurs/alligators (quickly working their way north) ... I hear they make great luggage.

    Miami Purity and Cruel Poetry remain my favorites of hers ... but those scenes in the Hemingway House are pretty neat too (in Voluntary Madness).

  2. Right down the line with Cain. Falls right in with the remarks Vicki made about short stories in the Crime Factory video interview. Cain doesn't write a short story and then jump it up to novel length as many wide audience writers do. I'm scouting the web for Voluntary Madness right now. Can't wait to read the Hemingway House scene.