Why did you write Vic?
I read it when I was about 10. Even then I thought something else should happen. How could someone experience what Vic did and not be motivated to act on it? So now she is. She’s taking it all the way.
Was there a specific goal for this debut novel?
To introduce Vic. I want people to understand where she’s coming from, what motivates her, and get familiar with some of her habits and what she thinks is important. Like learning, and living healthy and responsibility; she absolutely despises anyone who would deal in the trading of another human and has no tolerance for shirkers of any type.
Vic seems incredibly brave. How did she get that way?
She didn’t. Vic doesn’t see herself as brave. After what happened in Africa she remembers clearly living in a stupendously savage world where battling for your life was the daily norm and often several times in one day. So she can walk into a situation that would make the bravest men cower and cry for their mother and never flinch. To Vic even the most dangerous situation to us is like “another day another dollar”. Avoiding it would be shirking responsibility. Confronting it is fulfilling responsibility. She might tell us “It’s my job as a writer, it’s my responsibility as a human.”
Will there be more Vic novels?
To quote Vic, “Oh yes!”
Will they be the same length?
No. Long novels seem to be popular but I will go do the opposite. This Vic was too long. The next will be probably around 180 pages. I want it to be like the novels I read as a kid. You could read them in 2-
Why did Vic take the action she took with the jaguar?
If she had just tried to scare it and say “Boo”, it might have attacked her in the hammock and the outcome would have been not so good. Or if she did nothing it might have awakened Barney and attacked him.
Are any characters real?
Sylvanus Morley was real, a real Mayan scholar who excavated Chichen Itza. After his death it became known that he had worked for naval intelligence. But what he did in Vic was just a figment of my imagination. Or perhaps an avatar told me…
Who is Ann Darrow? I’ve heard the name.
Ann Darrow was the young woman who went with Carl Denham to Skull Island where they discovered King Kong. In the original movie, by far the best of them all, she was played by Faye Wray, one of those gorgeous blonde dames the public loved and of whom there will never be another.
The first parts of Time Doesn’t Matter by Burroughs were abridged. Was the story
No. I hated taking out anything but I didn’t want the total to be too long and I had already dropped almost half of what I wanted to write. Basically what was removed was description. I didn’t keep a record of what I took out, but for some reason I remember the first place I removed words. In the section where Barney comes to a clearing where Nu has killed the slaver who took Vic and Terkoz had killed Curtiss. There was a sentence along the lines of ‘the patient donkeys were waiting, tails wagging, ears twitching….’ That’s not exact but close. I changed it to ‘the patient donkeys were waiting.” That is essentially what I removed, descriptions that didn’t affect the story.
You used a few phrases from Burroughs part in part 3. Why?
Three reasons. First, some of the phrases by ERB are magical. You couldn’t say what they say any better. Second, they help tie the first parts to part 3 and help identify Vic as the same girl, a simple continuity using those few magical words. Third, as a tribute to THE master teller of adventure stories.
You’re a guy. Why pick a female hero to write about?
I really like Victoria Custer, her personality, courage and determination. I think what happened to Vic is both mesmerizing and enchanting. Victoria is THE main character. Not Nu. Vic started at the beginning, 100,000 years ago and was still standing at the end. And I have 4 incredible hanai nieces who inspire me with their personalities. Vic is a tribute to them and hopefully an inspiration. Vic is a normal young woman. She isn’t a sorceress or vampire or spy or cyborg or hitwoman. She has normal friends, has a pet dog, loves nice clothes, likes to try new recipes and has a garden in a hot house. She is the girl next door who wants to travel, write, learn new things and find her lost love. She isn’t from a wealthy family so she begins a career that will support her quest and pay the bills, too. What might be different is she loves education but still thinks for herself; she has no death wish but if something is important and needs done, she doesn’t care how dangerous it is, she just does it. Responsibility. And like with Nat-
It’s been said that the first parts by Burroughs are confusing. Are they. Yes and no. Just casually reading they can seen sort of odd because of changing the time (prehistoric to present and back). After thinking about it I realized that most of what ERB wrote is Vic’s vision. The beginning with Nu and Oo is “real”. In the center where Vic and Barney return to the ranch to find Curtiss and then she faints during the earthquake is real. At the end when Vic wakes and then she and Barney go to the cave and make the find, that’s real. The rest is Vic’s vision or dream.
Does Vic correspond with time lines or plots of other Burroughs books? No. Vic is not used again by ERB. Her brother Barney is in 2 other novels, The Mad King and Barney Custer of Beatrice. But Vic does not correspond to their time line. In those by 1920 Barney would have become…sorry shouldn’t spoil the end for readers. Those are fun novels also. However, in Vic, Barney does do what he should, just not in proper time with other novels.
Do you know where Vic is going in the future? Next time she is going…..to a place where she doesn’t speak the language. She will be traveling to some really diverse places. She needs to cover a lot of bases in her search.