Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton are a sisters co-authoring team.
Loretta lives in Junction City, Kansas, and Vickie in Hutchinson, Kansas. The sisters have traveled to each setting used in their novels. They love wandering through old ruins and viewing relics from past cultures. Because of this, archaeology has provided a background for much of their work.
The Mayan Mask of Death, set in Central America, is their thirty-ninth novel, and the first in the Arla Vaughn Pre-Columbian Treasure Series. A second Arla Vaughn novel, this one about Inca treasure, The Lost City of the Condor, will be available soon.
The Mayan Mask of Death
When Arla Vaughn accepts the role of temporary Dean of Archaeology, the museum’s purchase of an elaborate Mayan mask seems an evil portent. The dual face, one side a handsome Mayan nobleman, the other side a skull-like visage with a glimmering obsidian eye represents the good and evil of mankind.
Three years ago Jordan Lund’s wife was strangled on campus and he has devoted his life to finding her killer. When a second woman from Arla’s department is murdered in the same way, the police believe this is the work of a mysterious serial killer known as The Scarlet Strangler. But Arla soon links the brutal murders to the dig in Copan. Her investigation takes her to where the mystery has its roots, the Copan ruins in the jungles of Honduras. There, to uncover the truth, Arla must match wits with a killer as duplicitous as the Mayan Mask of Death.
Do you have any advice for new or aspiring authors?
Always plot carefully so you won’t waste your time making big changes and doing extensive revisions. Set aside time to write, even if it is minimal. Once you have started on a project, your subconscious mind will go on working out details.
Don’t be overly concerned about rejections. If you love your work, some other people will love it, too. Understand, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, that you are not writing for the many, but “for the few.”
What is your favorite book? (one that you have read) and why?
(Vickie) I enjoy Ruth Rendell’s mysteries. One of my favorites is A Dark Adapted Eye, which she wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Her books have clever plots and strong characterization.
(Loretta) My favorite story is The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I love the flow of his words, the vivid details, the powerful theme.
One author we both admire is Tony Hillerman. It would be impossible to choose a favorite book of his.
On the fun side, what is your favorite television show and why?
(Vickie) I have always been a big fan of Monk because he comes across as vulnerable and human, and I enjoy the little touches of quirkiness and humor along with the mystery.
(Loretta) My favorite TV shows are all mysteries like The Closer, NCIS, and to go back a few years, Murder, She Wrote. I enjoy drama and trying to decide which character is the villain.
How do your family/friends feel about your writing?
Our family because of their love for literature is no doubt the reason why we write. From our earliest childhood Mother always read aloud to us, and Dad taught us to recite poetry. Our three sisters and several cousins and friends have traveled with us to our settings, discussed ideas with us, and have been very supportive.
How much of the marketing do you do?
Of course, if people recognize your name, you make more sales. Personal contact brings results, so we visit libraries and go to conferences and book festivals when we are able to schedule them. The Internet offers endless marketing possibilities from Facebook to Twitter.
Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?
Yes, most of our books are available as eBooks as well as in print. This is a rapidly expanding market. The Kindle and other eBook readers have become more affordable, so there is a demand for eBooks right now.
Where can readers find you?
We have a web page and a blog where we often post writing advice and news about our upcoming releases.
Author Page: http://sites.google.com/site/vickiebrittonandlorettajackson/Blog: Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson’s Writing Tips and Fiction
Vickie is also on Facebook and Twitter.