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Friday, January 19, 2024

Mixing It Up with Multiple Genres: Author Interview with Vikki Kestell

You have definitely proven yourself as an author with multiple books in different genres that you have published. What inspired you to write that first book?

I wrote my first book, A Rose Blooms Twice, during one of the darkest periods of my life. It was 1987-1988. I had a notebook and wrote in it everywhere I went. In three months I had a complete story—and was amazed.

I didn’t publish that first book until 2012—twenty-five years later. I would say to new indie authors that this long wait proved to me that our great God never wastes anything.

At what time did you think you could make a career of it?
It was after I’d written and published three additional books in the series that I started thinking, “I could do this full-time.”

You’re an indie author, which means you’re in charge of everything from writing to publishing and marketing. Other than writing, what other parts of the process do you personally do or hire others to do?
I have, on occasion, used cover designers, but design most of my own covers. The only part of the process I always contract out is the proofreading. I have two dear team members, Greg McCann and Cheryl Adkins, who see my writing as I do: as ministry. They have been with me for more than ten years. I not only value their work and input, I know I could not do this work without them. They are truly heaven-sent!

How do you go about doing research for your books to make them believable – especially when the storyline is tech related?

I have a five-book spy series, Laynie Portland, but my first thriller was Stealthy Steps, book 1 in my seven-book Nanostealth series. At the time I conceptualized Stealthy Steps, I worked for the Department of Defense’s Nuclear Weapons School on Kirtland Air Force Base here in Albuquerque. Among other things, the school taught military personnel how to respond to nuclear or dirty bomb attacks.

Part of the school’s instruction was conducted in the old Manzano Weapons Storage Facility where much of the nation’s nuclear stockpile was once stored. The Manzano facility is composed of a labyrinth of tunnels and hardened warehouses carved into a small mountain located on the base. The first time I set foot in the tunnels I thought, “This would be a great setting for a book!”

Nanostealth relies upon a strong science/technology “backbone.” Plausibility makes for good sci-fi; emerging real technology makes for great sci-fi. So much of the technology of this series is both emerging and plausible, which makes for a very suspenseful storyline!

My husband Conrad and I worked together on many aspects of the research on Stealthy Steps. It was a totally new and enjoyable experience for the two of us to throw around plot possibilities and come up with new twists and new terminology. We even took field trips to determine exactly where my heroine would go under the Air Force base’s perimeter fence and how she would defeat the PIDAS (perimeter intrusion detection and alarm system) and enter the tunnels. Those field trips were fun!

I also did many online searches on the Manzano weapons storage facility (particularly looking for maps) and asked questions of old colleagues who would have more information than I did. After a few calls, I was referred to the head office in DC. (Translation? I asked too many questions about classified stuff.)

Because of the online searches and the questions I asked, because I used to hold DOE and DOD security clearances, and because of our visits to the base perimeter (which is under video surveillance), my husband and I started to wonder when the FBI would show up at our door to ask what we were doing. 

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
The wonderful reviews and emails from my readers! So many of them have read and re-read my books. An author knows she’s “done good” when her readers re-read her books!

Marketing is the biggest key to making sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produced more sales rather than just clicks?
For several years I made the first books in my series free and bought BookBub Featured Deals to advertise those free books. However, the market has changed since COVID. At first, people who were quarantined read more and bought more books. At this point, however, I believe the economy has impacted enough readers that they can no longer afford to buy as many books. I still offer free books (Stealth Genesis, Laynie Portland, Spy Rising, and A Rose Blooms Twice). I hope they are a blessing to new readers.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?

My best writing advice is this: Pray. Pray each day before you begin to write. Ask the Holy Spirit not only to lead and guide your writing but also anoint it with his power. Submit all your plans to him, and let him lead you.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
I’ve just started a brand-new series, The Tahoe Mysteries (A Miss Finch Novel). The first book, coming out later this year, is #1 with a Bullet. Here’s the short synopsis:

Diminutive Miss Finch is never what people expect. Sooner or later, she upsets the proverbial apple cart. And around her? Pretty much everyone ends up off-kilter—including and especially those she’s investigating.

Investigating? Yes. Although BD Finch (BeeDee Finch) is many things, she is also an investigator. The private kind. And when Miss Finch arrives on the south shore of Lake Tahoe for a summer of rest and recuperation? Not only do things not go as planned, but “things” go strangely awry.

Dangerously awry. Prepare yourself for . . . The Tahoe Mysteries.

That's all for today's interview
. If you'd like to learn more about Vikki's books, check out the following links.
Amazon (for the Nanostealth series):
Links for the free eBooks mentioned in this post:


  1. I love all of Vikki’s books. I love the depth of the characters. They become so real to me. I love the Bible lessons that are woven into the stories.
    I love going on the journeys with the main characters of these books from unbelief to belief.
    I thank the Lord for this author, Vikki, and the gift of writing He has given to her to share with all of us.