Saturday, February 1, 2014

Steampunk Granny's visit with the Fabulous Victoria Marie Lees


                                      Victoria and family at the top of Pikes Peak
Victoria and I met through our writing group, South Jersey Writers' Group. We love the same things; family adventures and writing. It wasn't long before we became close friends.I love this Lady! We may have been sisters in a former life. Victoria goes on the best trips with her family. I love reading about her adventures, and maybe one day I’ll be able to go with her on a camping trip. Lots of good things are happening for Victoria and I want to share the news with all my readers. So…drum roll, please!
                                                Victoria and Family at Trail Hikers  
Marie: It is so good to have you back on my blog, Victoria. Can you my readers what you’ve been up to since our last interview.

Victoria Marie Lees: I’ve been writing short stories, both adult and children, and submitting them for magazine contests or general submission.  I’m attempting to break into the Chicken Soup market with a few essays and poems.  I have been notified by the West Chester Poetry Society that my second place haiku will be published in an anthology, date to be determined.  Other than that, I’ve been busy with writing blog posts and interacting with the online writing community through social media and other blogs.
Marie Gilbert:   Tell us about the new story that was just published: when, where, and title.

Victoria Marie Lees: “My Father is ‘Grand’” is in the February 2014 issue of Cricket Magazine, a world-wide YA literary magazine.  Unfortunately, this is a subscription only magazine.  I did not find any of my stories online at the Cricket Magazine website…yet.  

“My Father is ‘Grand’” is a story about how a young protagonist learns to accept her grandparents as guardians.  But of course, not before danger enters the picture. 

                                          Conn campground toasting marshmallows                                 

Marie Gilbert: How do you go about creating a story scenario?
Victoria Marie Lees: As I learn the scope of family dynamics, I create different types of families to write about.  Then my sense of adventure kicks in, and I place my protagonist in danger.  Now the trick is to get the protagonist through the danger and learn something from it.     
 Usually, I’m creating contemporary YA stories.  I like my stories to be uplifting and, if possible, have a happy ending.  Many times young people feel they are not in control of their lives.  I like to allow them that control, at least for a while, and in so doing allow them the chance to become the hero. 
I feel that in children or YA short stories to become a hero, the protagonist must have a knowledge base that he or she uses to get past certain obstacles, whether they are physical obstacles like snakes or bears or mental ones like dealing with a new marriage or pesky sibling.  Through the protagonist’s knowledge, young readers can learn how to deal with their life circumstances.  This short formula can help make the story universal.   

I like to combine the physical with the mental obstacles to increase tension in the story.  Many times I use my knowledge about nature that I share on my Camping with Kids blog.
Marie Gilbert: Can you give us an update on you memoir

Victoria Marie Lees: In my Adventures in Writing blog post entitled “Six Keys to Writing Memoir,” I talk about what I have learned about memoir from writing courses, books, and internet sources. 

Now addressing those issues in the first draft of my memoir about attending college as a mother of five is the difficult part.  Memoir needs to be true and I have a knack for family anecdotes.  But memoir needs to be more than a mere collection of memoires and scenes.  It needs to be a universal understanding of what has transpired and why it matters to both the writer and the reader.  This is the point where I am at.  I have the first draft of scenes and memories in chronological order.  I need to infuse them with insight and consider which ones could be important to readers and why they should care about what happened to me along my college journey. 
I work on my memoir amongst other, shorter writing projects.  Time, writing is all about finding the time. 


Marie Gilbert: Victoria, thank you for returning to my blog and letting my readers know more about your good news. It is always a pleasure having you as a guest.

Dear Followers, I have listed all the different sites where you can find Victoria’s articles. Please drop by her blog and say hello. Tell her Steampunk Granny sent you.

google+ - Victoria Marie Lees

LinkedIn - Victoria Marie Lees  and search for Victoria Marie Lees to see my essays


  1. It was a pleasure spending time with you, Marie, on your blog. Thanks for all you do. Writers need good friends to believe in them, and Marie Gilbert is one of the best.

    1. The pleasure was mine, Victoria. You are such a talented and loving person

  2. So excited for Victoria. Great pictures too. Miss you at critique. So honored to have read your published story during one of our sessions before it was published. You're really doing well. Congratulations. And, yes, Marie is an amazing friend to have.

    1. I have the most talented friends. love you both