Though I have many favorite places to visit in the Lowcountry, my favorite place is Gardenia Hall (above), where I live and write, inspired by all the beauty around me.
Authentic Southern Fiction
Okay, somewhere on this site I need to explain what I mean by "authentic Southern fiction". As a student and connoisseur of Southern literature, being brought up on Flannery O'Conner, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and Mark Twain, I have learned to distinguish between the nuances of true Southern writers and those who—bless their hearts—wish to be. The differences are sometimes subtle but stand out like a carpetbagger at a pig pickin' to natives. I do appreciate those who love the South and have tried to assimilate into our culture so that they've taken it upon themselves to document our truth with words in novels and poetry. It's just that many who genuinely know and love Southern literature are authentic Southerners themselves, and when they read those authors who straddle the Mason-Dixon Line with words and details—well, let's just say, they can tell (and it pulls them out of a story). What I write is authentic, true and realistic for the actual South in which I live—not the one outsiders see or wish it to be. The region I write about is anchored as a character in my books and is written with an insider's heart. This stretch of Southern coast we call The Lowcountry is my South, my home, my world.
Writing About the South and the Lowcountry
The Lowcountry is charmingly picturesque and has a colorful history. No other place on earth duplicates the Lowcountry's graceful physical and spiritual characteristics. The arms of ancient oaks that date back 1500 years are draped with Spanish moss, making them look like elegant matriarchs with gray shawls. Much of the ground is wet with lush green foilage and palmetto trees. Sandlappers and white-tail deer decorate that land. But the thing that makes this place special is its people. Being born in this aesthetically unique place endows a person with manners and sensibilities. Life slows down here where Sundays are still reserved for worship with family and friends and for dinner with sweet tea and fried chicken.
Vicki was born in Summerville, South Carolina, and lives about 40 miles from where she grew up as a child, so she's a real native and loves to share her affection of the Southern Lowcountry with people through her writing.
Even in childhood, she loved writing stories and poems--no doubt fueled by her grandfather's enthusiasm for telling tales himself. Where else--but in the South--could one find the interesting blend of salt water, eerie swamps, unwritten traditions and unique characters? Her love of literature sent her to study English at Charleston Southern University, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees.
After teaching for years in local high schools, she left her profession to devote her time to writing. She admits that every fall, when the school bells ring, she becomes a little wistful...and twitchy.
At present, she has completed five novels, has eight projects in various stages of completion, and has around thirty novels outlined and ready to begin.
Though she spends much of her time writing and editing—and has a blast doing it—one of her favorite things to do is to play with her two grandchildren, Morgan and Carder.
In her spare time, she loves restoring her new (old) Victorian home in Summerton, South Carolina, with her husband—and former high school sweetheart and heart throb—Tom. She also enjoys reading, painting and cooking (with lots of wine).