From Showgirl to Author: An Interview with Vicki Pettersson

Vicki PetterssonPhoto by Holly McKinnis
Vicki Pettersson signs books at
Cheesecake & Crime

As a veteran nude dresser, I’ve known Vicki Pettersson since she was a twenty-something hard-bodied showgirl wearing huge fake lashes and a ragged hairnet that served as hitching post for hats and wigs. Now she’s a full-time writer promoting her book “The Touch of Twilight,” the third in her Signs of the Zodiac series. When I heard she was speaking at Cheesecake and Crime, an indie bookstore known for nourishing its patrons, body and soul, I waddled right down, wondering what having a baby and working as a sit-on-your-buns novelist might have done to Vicki’s perfect dancer’s body. OK, I admit to a tiny bit of jealousy, and a mean kernel of hope that she had become one hot mess, no longer the despair of womankind.

So much for fantasy. She arrived at the store and it was as if the heavens had opened and sent down one little sunbeam to demonstrate God’s love. Argh! Flawless beauty. I almost spit out my pastry and started doing crunches. Recovering, I began grilling her about her new life as a full-time writer.

The Touch of Twilight

by Vicki Pettersson

Question: Why do you write?
Answer: It keeps me sane. Other people do yoga or buy expensive shoes—I tell stories. As hard as it is, I love the day-to-day process: the repetition of getting to the page every day, the discipline, the schedule. Maybe because it’s something I can control, and there’s so little in this life that one can. It’s creative, I get to do what I want, and the sense of accomplishment is enormous. When many people think of being an author, they think of seeing their name on the bookstore shelf, but anyone who does this for a living can tell you it’s not about being an author, it’s about being a writer. And writers write. Every day.

Question: What’s the most satisfying part of the process?
Answer: Having readers talk to me about the characters as if they really exist. When they’ve taken the time to pick up my book, letting me into their minds—if only for a short while—emotionally investing their time in these characters as people. That’s when I feel the most satisfaction, because the characters are that real to me, too.

I can recognize a setup when I hear one. Vicki wants me to ask about the dangerously angry Joanna Archer, the tragic avenger of the books.

Question: Joanna is a kick-ass girl who gets a little cranky at times. Is she anyone you know?
Answer: She’s you, Holly. I modeled her after the meanest of the mean. “Aww,” I think, then realize that Joanna had to undergo tons of reconstructive surgery to look like her beautifully bodacious sister, Olivia.

Question: Where did you really get the idea for Joanna?
Answer: Jo is an amalgamation of women I’ve known. I am not Jo. I don’t say or do the things she does, I’m far less reactionary, but when I’m writing her I have to consider—given her background and circumstances, abilities and problems—what would I do? There’s also a bit of wish fulfillment there. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a 21st-century superhero?

Question: Showgirls go to work when the sun goes down. Any changes in the schedule now that you can set your own hours?
Answer: I found to my surprise that I’m actually a morning person. I’ve developed the habit of getting up before the rest of the household so that I can get in some work and hear my own voice before the day gets underway. These days I’m long in bed before the last show on the Strip is over.

Question: Has becoming a mother made any changes in your work schedule?
Answer: As I said, I’ve developed the habit of rising before my kidlet, and I now work during the school hours as well. I think being a mother has actually made me a stronger and more efficient writer. I’ve learned to multitask, and use the time I have. Now that I’ve reached a point of equilibrium, I think that writing and mothering are complementary, and I feel honored to do both.

Question: Do you think the discipline of dancing has helped you write?
Answer: Absolutely. I remember at 13 my dance teacher told me that no matter what I chose to do, the discipline I learned in the studio would help me throughout my life. I didn’t entirely understand what she meant then, but I’ve found that being self-motivated, always seeking to do better, and working when others do not is a wonderful foundation to build my dreams upon.

Question: Are you ever tempted to toss the keyboard and put on a G-string?
Answer: Oh, Holly. Why are you trying to make my Vegas heart go pitter-patter?

You can learn more about Vicki Pettersson on her Web site.


12 responses on “From Showgirl to Author: An Interview with Vicki Pettersson

  1. Nice article–I like your sense of humor. Back in college I modeled for art classes for beer money–so there’s two of us with nudity in our pasts!

    Welcome to the LLV fam!

  2. Welcome, Holly – and nice article. (And yes – Vicki is one of those beauties who truly lights up a room!)

    But how about interviewing yourself next time – that dressing nudes stuff sounds pretty intriguing! I’d like to hear more about that.

  3. You’re right about Vicki still looking good, that’s for sure. But, what in the heck is a nude dresser? You oughta write something about that for this site. Heck, even I’d read it! 🙂

  4. Steve, I can tell you that… Holly dresses the tall nudes for the “Folies Bergere” show at the Tropicana. Turns out, another professional dresses the shorter nudes. They have elaborate costumes (even though they are “nude” when on stage….)

  5. I absolutely adore Vicki and can’t get enough of her books!
    Thank you so much for sharing this interview. It’s always nice to see another side of her creative genius!

  6. I’ve been a big fan of Showgirl’s since she did a month on the Barnes and Nobles forum promoting her books. When she opened up her forum, I was one of the first people there.

    She is not only a wonderful author, she is a wonderful person. She has been very kind and generous to her readers. We love her dearly.


  7. OK, I’m a moron. I don’t know how many times I read this piece and thought the author was a nude DANCER, instead of DRESSER.

    Hopefully there’s an optometrist listed on the “Insider Tips & Info” page.

  8. Bravo Holly!!!
    Loved the article and am honored that I had the pleasure of meeting such a wonderful nude dresser! You are awesome! As for Vicki… Well, I adore her too! Hell, we shared the same feathers and rhinstones!

  9. Hi Vicki , So glad to see that everything is going very well for you and yours . You would remember me from the old stock car days and from your aunt . I’m in the book , if you can remember how to spell it . Would love to talk to you . Mike

  10. That was a great read, thanks for sharing, just a pity that I have not had the pleasure of knowing her as a writer but I think that I will be looking out for her name next time I go to my local book store.

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