Say hello to Vivacious Vivian!

Posted on Apr 12 2010

Hi, there, Vivian! Thank you for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself:

Vivian:  I was born to Raymond and Dolly Gilbert, traveled around the world with my military father, and discovered I like staying in one spot. After meeting and marrying Robert Zabel, though, I followed him around for over 30 years before we settled in Edmond, Oklahoma. Through my family, life experiences, and vivid imagination, I found enough material to write poetry, short stories, articles, and novels.

Gayle: Please tell our readers about your “Crazy-Woman Dance”!

Vivian: 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 its 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. My middle child, older son, announced to the world, “Momma’s doing a crazy-woman dance.”

Gayle: I’m afraid I might’ve turned that into the naked, screaming crazy woman dance! I believe you handled that situation much better than I would have. 🙂 What have you done besides writing, Vivian?

Vivian: 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*

Gayle: You make me tired by just reading your accomplishments. Tell us about your path to becoming a 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 seventh 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 a central part of my life.

Gayle: As a mystery author myself, I’m intrigued with your book Midnight Hours. Tell our readers a bit about it please.

Vivian:  Police detective Martin Rogers is recovering from a shooting, working hard to regain the use of his legs. To fill in the long hours of inactivity, Rogers spends time in an internet chat room, playing cards with a regular group of surfers. That is until the witching hour, when he and the mysterious woman known only as Midnight connect via cyberspace and disappear into their own virtual world. Martin finds himself becoming more and more intrigued and enamoured by the elusive woman, who seems to find him strangely attractive despite his disability. When Midnight refuses to reveal any personal details about herself, despite Martin being openly honest with her, he begins to suspect that the woman he is falling for may not be all that she seems.

Martin confides his concerns to two of his fellow detectives, and soon he and his colleagues are joined by Assistant District Attorney Lisa Harris as a web of previous suspicious deaths of disabled victims emerges, all of whom appear to have been in contact with the mysterious Midnight.

A task force is set up to investigate the murders, and soon Martin, Lisa, and the team are involved in a case so complex, and so baffling, that they begin to feel as though they are chasing a shadow, a clever and resourceful criminal who they describe as being “like fog that disappears in bright light.”

Gayle: Sounds terrific! In fact, reviewer Brian L. Porter says, “Vivian Zabel has crafted a beautifully and hauntingly compelling crime drama that leads the reader down one blind alleyway after another as Martin Rogers attempts to unravel the mystery. The tension is wonderfully wracked up as the storyline builds towards its shattering conclusion. Without doubt, this is one for the crime fiction aficionados, a book that cries out to be read, and one which I found very hard to put down once I’d begun. The characters are believable, the underlying romance that builds between Martin and the beautiful Lisa is tenderly and realistically handled, and the fear that things could go disastrously wrong for the heroes of this tale, right up to the end, is so palpable one can almost reach out and touch it.”

Please visit Vivian online where you can learn more about her and buy her fabulous books.

14 responses to “Say hello to Vivacious Vivian!”

  1. Always interesting to hear more about Vivian. She’s a neat lady. I read “Midnight Hours.” It’s a terrific mystery. I highly recommend it.

  2. Karen Cioffi says:

    The mouse story is hysterical. A similar thing happened to me many years ago. I was going out and looking for my gloves (winter time). I went into my coat closet to go search in one of my bags. I felt something furry and pulled it out – thinking it was my gloves – it was a mouse. I threw it up into the air and screamed. I couldn’t wash my hand enough. To this day when I think about it I get a icky feeling in my hand.

    I started Midnight Hours and it’s GREAT!

  3. Dana Donovan says:

    The book sounds interesting, Vivian. Being a detective mystery writer myself, I can appreciate the premise and the protagonist’s circumstance. I wish you great success with your career.

  4. What an exciting life Vivian has led. No wonder she has so many creative ideas.

  5. I might be frightened if a mouse came upon me unexpectedly, but I really think they’re cute. My kids had mice and rats for pets (among a thousand other things), but most people think, I believe, of Lewis’s Templeton in Charlotte’s Web when they think of mice and rats. Even Templeton, though, had some redeeming features.

    Rodents are amazing. Good subjects for literature because they have a tendency to hang out where humans are, so we’ve all had our experiences.


  6. Vivian Zabel says:

    Mice might be cute, and even rats can be as displayed in Rena Jone’s book A New Job for Dilly, but one is not cute when racing around one’s very pregnant middle.

    Midnight Hours will have a sequel, hopefully by next year, titled Darkest before Dawn. I will also have a romantic suspense out next year IF all goes well, Murder in the Mansion.

    Midnight Hours has won two awards so far: 2nd in the OWFI unpublished mystery novel category before it was accepted and published; and 1st place in the Heartland New Day Book Festival fiction division.

  7. Katie Hines says:

    It always amazes me that just when we think we “know” another person, there are new things on the horizon. Got a huge laugh out of the mouse story! I once slept with a dead bat in my bed and didn’t find it until the next morning.

  8. Martha says:

    Wow, you keep busy. Midnight Hours sounds wonderful! I love a good mystery.
    Good luck.
    Martha Swirzinski

  9. I had to laugh at your comment of ectending your life to complete the things you have to do. Amazing that one can somehow fulfill their passion with everything life throws at them.

    Stephen Tremp

  10. Mari Taylor says:

    I love mysteries.This one sounds like my kind of book!

    Love the crazy woman dance story. I, like Gayle, would not have kept my clothes on! The mouse and anything assisting it would have had to go.

  11. A wonderful interview, ladies. Vivian’s book is indeed a truly exciting and enthralling read. I wholeheartedly recommend it. I wish Vivian much publishing success and also every success with 4RV Publishing.

    Brian L Porter
    Winner, Preditors & Editors Best Author award 2009

  12. Elysabeth says:

    Mouse story definitely funny but not at the same time. Must have felt wickedly scary not knowing what was going on. Midnight Hours is good. I’ve read it. Enjoy those of you reading it. Nice learning more about you Vivian. – E 🙂

  13. Vivian Zabel says:

    Thank you, Gayle, for hosting me.

    Thanks to everyone who visited and left comments.

  14. Haha, I laughed at my computer reading about the “Crazy Woman Dance.” Your lovely, fun personality shines through in this interview, Vivian! Best of luck with everything, and thanks Gayle for this great post!

    🙂 Dallas

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