Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sisters Writing Mysteries Together

Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
Sisters, Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton, have written more than forty books together, including the Sheriff McQuede mystery series and Ardis Cole mysteries. They've also published over a hundred magazine articles.

 Loretta, tell us about your Sheriff Jeff McQuede series. How did it come about?

Our High Country Mystery Series with Jeff McQuede features a very human sheriff, who is adept at solving crimes.  The series grew from setting.  We often travel to Wyoming where we find intriguing stories and legends. Our second book in the series, Whispers of the Stones sprang from our interest and research concerning the Pedro Mountain Mummy found in the Shirley Basin.  We had just finished our western Luck of the Draw series and wanted to change to contemporary, Wyoming mysteries. 

How do you research police procedures?

We find answers to police questions in various reference books and on websites and by talking to local law enforcement.  In addition, Vickie has taken many courses in Police Science, including forensics and crime scene management.

When did you and your sister Vickie Britton decide to collaborate?

We were both published at the time, but didn’t think of working together until we took a trip to the Yucatan and both were set on writing the same story.  We decided to try working together, and the result was Path of the Jaguar.

What happens when you disagree on which path the book should take?

Because we work from an outline and have the same goal in mind, we have little difficulty.  When we do disagree, there are lots of phone calls and e-mails until we work out the problem.

How does the writing process work? Does one of you write the first draft and the other edit?

Vickie writes one chapter and I write the next, then she edits mine and I edit hers.  When the book ends, it needs only minimum changes.

You’ve traveled extensively for research. Which country would you like to revisit and why?

We would both enjoy going back to Scotland, the site of our mystery novel, Unmarked Grave.  Scotland is a beautiful, haunting country with abundant mysteries and legends.

You also write an archaeology series. How did that come about?

In our eight-book Ardis Cole mysteries, archaeologist Ardis Cole travels the world and in each location encounters a crime she must solve.  Our trips have taken us to Egypt, the Mayan ruins, and other important sites of great interest to us.  As a result, we have written twelve books concerning archaeology and plan to do another one soon.  

Your former publisher Avalon was bought by Amazon. Was the transition difficult and did it present any problems?

Avalon Books, who published our first co-authored novel, assisted with our switch to Amazon imprints, Thomas Mercer and Encore.  Amazon, too, was equally helpful, so the transition was problem-free.

Advice for fledgling western writers.

As with advice for all fiction, start with a clear-cut outline complete with character descriptions and theme.  You must be able to see the end result even though you are free to make changes as you go along.  Writing westerns also calls for a sincere love for your setting and for the rugged character of the western settlers.

You can learn more about the sisters at their social media sites:




Jean Henry Mead said...

Welcome back to Mysterious Writers, Loretta and Vickie. It's good to have you here.

Vickie Britton said...

Thanks for the interview, Jean.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your books. Please keep them coming.