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Monday, 18 February 2008
Getting to Know Vivian Zabel
Topic: Author Interview
Vivian Zabel the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

 Loving, living, and laughing, between sobs

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

 Most see me as serious, hardworking, with high standards, most think I can't get away from being a teacher. Few people see the fun-loving part of me, or the rather dry, sometimes corny, humor.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

 My husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are the most important parts of my life, then comes writing.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Funny Face is a he/it cat with a lop-sided patterned face. He thinks he owns me, and he is my guard cat. If we're outside and a dog acts as if coming toward me, Funny Face fluffs up, hisses, and prepares to attack the dog. He has a mainly white face with a splotch of dark color on one side of his nose. A white shawl surrounds his shoulders and covers his chest and legs. The "shawl" appears to have slipped because it's not even on both sides.

GG is mainly white with a few smears of black, as if she walked under something greasy and brushed it. Her face is shaped like a Siamese, and her eyes are a pale green. She is "different" and has a personality all her own, that of a pest.

I would love to have another German Shepherd, but our yard is way too small.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

 Now that is a difficult question considering all the years I've lived: my wedding day; the birth of each of my children; the births of my ten grandchildren; the births of my great-grandchildren; my husband's love and support when our youngest baby died after a few hours; one granddaughter's scribbles on the wall  of our new house when she was about two-years-old and her explanation that she wrote, "I love you; I love you." Three years later (eleven years ago) her father took her and her brother, and we've not seen or heard from them since.

Another one, my teen-aged grandson allowed me to hug him in the parking lot after a basketball game, in front of his teammates, and even returned the hug.

His brother leaving a quarter beside my computer because he heard me say I didn't have the money for something.

How do I choose my most precious memory?

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's an easy question to answer, in fact I've written a story about it which is one of the stories in Hidden Lies and Other Stories, "The Crazy-woman Dance."

 I was pregnant with my last child, and we were attending my daughter's (the oldest child) kindergarten Christmas program. I took my dress from the plastic bag from the cleaners, and my coat from it's bag. What I didn't know was somehow, someway, a mouse was inside the dress. When I got out of the car for the program, the mouse started running around and around my middle. I did a crazy-woman dance with all my daughter's friends and families watching.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I've already been a wife, mother, motel receptionist, office manager, bookkeeper,    and teacher for twenty-seven years. I'm now an author and publisher. I think I'll  just worry about extending my life long enough to finish all I need to do. *laugh*

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Vivian Gilbert Zabel was born to Raymond and Dolly Gilbert, traveled around the world with her military father, and discovered she likes staying in one spot. After meeting and marrying Robert Zabel, though, she followed him around for several years before they settled in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Through her family, life experiences, and vivid imagination, she found enough material to write poetry, short stories, articles, and novels. Her legacy isn't all in her words, though, but through the lives of the descendants who live after her.

Vivian Zabel the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I started writing poetry when in the third grade, but I had always entertained my siblings and friends with my stories. I remember telling a friend when we were in the eighth grade the plot for a book I was going to write. She laughed, but that plot lives in one of my novels.

I don't know when I realized I am a "real" writer, because writing has always been an central part of my life.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

 I'm over half way finished with a young adult book, Prairie Dog Cowboy, set back in the 1899s through 1912. I've wanted to be able to use some of my husband's stories about being a cowboy and breaking horses, and in this book I can.

My mystery/suspense novel, Midnight Hours, will be released later this year, and I have a sequel in mind.

However, I don't get to write as much as I would like anymore because I'm busy preparing other people's books for publishing.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

 I have at least two more young adult books in mind. I started writing about the base stealers club when I couldn't find books that would interest a grandson who lives sports but is a reluctant reader. I couldn't find any, so I starting writing some.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I don't have typical days of any kind. I have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia, so I never know what days I can even crawl from bed. Often I'm unable to sleep, so I work most of the night in short spurts. I try to work at least thirty minutes a day on my writing no matter what is       happening.

13.  Why do you write?

I don't have a choice. I write because I HAVE to. At times the words beat inside  my head until I stop whatever I'm doing or get up and write them down.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

 I seriously don't know how to answer this question. I can't say any one writer does, but that all of them do who write work that I have to finish before I can put the book down. I like to "get lost" in the words until I feel as if I'm part of the story.

15.  How do you define your writing?

 My writing is my life stretched, molded, added to, explored, and heavily doctored with imagination. While I write, I am with my characters living their lives.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Uh, I wish I had a chance of being here to hear what they might say. *laugh*

Seriously, I hope they say my writing helped them escape for a while, endure longer, and entertained them.

Vivian Zabel the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

 My web site is

I have several blogs:    

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

I hang out on several Yahoo email groups, including the SinC (Sisters in Crime) group, the Muse Conference Board, Bragging Rites. I'm a member of Writing.Com, and people can visit my port at http://vzabel.Writing.Com/ . I'm also a member of OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federation),

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Hidden Lies and Other Stories by Vivian Gilbert Zabel and Holly Jahangiri

Walking the Earth: Life's Perspectives in Poetry by Vivian Zabel et al

The Base Stealers Club by V. Gilbert Zabel

Case of the Missing Coach  by V. Gilbert Zabel

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They'll find realistic characters and plots in the short stories and books. The poetry I wrote is filled with understandable imagery.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

 I write not only because I must, but also because I want others to have material they can enjoy reading. Characters should be people we would like to know (and whom I do "know" in my head), and stories should be interesting and believable.  Even fantasy should be believable based on the possibilities of actions and behavior IF the circumstances actually existed.

Poetry should appeal to the readers' senses and should be able to be understood by readers.

My goals are to write so that you, the reader, want to read what I write.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008 1:46 AM EST
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink

Monday, 18 February 2008 - 10:13 AM EST

Name: "Vivian Zabel"
Home Page: http://htt://

Thank you for the interview. What a wonderful present, today my husband and I celebrate our 46th anniversary.


Monday, 18 February 2008 - 10:42 AM EST

Name: "Lea Schizas"
Home Page:

Great interview and so nice to get to know my cyber pals in a deeper level.

 So, the crazy dance, eh? Loved the mouse tale. :) Won't let you live it down now, however.


Monday, 18 February 2008 - 2:38 PM EST

Name: "Sharon Ervin"

Loved the interview with Vivian.  I read on down a little beyond hers.  Nice job.

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