FemaleUnited StatesMember since 16 Oct 13Last online 3 years ago

Virginia Boecker recently spent four years in London obsessing over English medieval history, which formed the basis of her debut novel, The Witch Hunter. She now lives in the Bay Area, California with her husband and spends her days writing, reading, running, and chasing around her two children and a dog named George.

In addition to English kings, nine-day queens, and Protestant princesses, her other obsessions include The Smiths, art museums, champagne, and Chapstick. You can visit Virginia online at virginiaboecker.com or on Twitter @virgboecker.

THE WITCH HUNTER (coming June 2, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is her first novel.


  • Virginia Boecker

    It’s a bit of an obsession of mine, and has been since I was a kid. When my friends were off riding bikes or playing sports, I was content to stay at home, curled up with a book. I read voraciously then, and I still do. I read several books at once, depending on my mood. I read the same book over and over again. I’ve even been known to turn the last page of a book only to turn back to the first and start it all over again.

    At university, I never took any creative writing classes. Sure, I was an English major, and that did involve writing of sorts: critiques and compositions and analyzing. But it was never creating characters of my own, telling a story of my own. So when people ask me, “why did you become a writer?” my answer is always the same: because I love to read.

    As a writer, I have a different relationship with books than I did solely as a reader. I still read them for the story – but I also read them for structure. For character. For dialogue and for plot. For inspiration. But most importantly, I read them for rejuvenation. Because sometimes, when I’m stuck in my own story and just can’t seem to move forward, the best thing for me to do is put my computer down and pick up a book instead. To read someone else’s words instead of my own. I’ve heard some people say they can’t read while they write – that it’s distracting to have someone else’s voice in your head. I respect that – but I also respectfully disagree.

    I don’t think it’s ever harmful to let someone else’s words, someone else’s story, come into your head while you’re creating one of your own. Presumably you’ve got a book – or two or three – that made you say, “wow. I really want to be a writer.” I have many, but for me, the book that really tipped the scales from “I want to do this” to “I am going to do this” was THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL.

    Odd choice? Maybe. Perhaps you were expecting JANE EYRE. Or ANNA KARENINA. Or heck, even TWILIGHT. But for me, THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL was all the things I love most, combined into one novel. History. Scandal. Betrayal. Boys and dresses and unrequited love and oh yes, blood and beheadings. (Hey. I like it dark and twisty.) And while that book told me the same story I already knew, it was the author’s voice – modern and witty – that made me see it in a new light.

    So whenever I’m having trouble with my own story – if I’m stuck or frustrated or just tired of hearing my own voice – I go back and pick up THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Reread my favorite passages. It never fails to rejuvenate me, to make me eager to go back to my own story. But most importantly, it helps me remember why I started writing in the first place: the desire to write something that someone else would love reading.

    I’d love to hear what book inspired you to become a writer – and what book you turn to when you need help getting back into your own. Leave a comment below, or tweet me @virgboecker.
    Rebecca Clearwater
    It has to be The Book Thief. The lush words and wordplay inspired me to write.
    4 years ago
    omg i love to read as well! but I'm also very athletic anyone else?
    Tilly chase
    4 years ago
    I love all books, and I think they all kinda combine to make me wanna write (even if they never get published!!) but an author called Joss Stirling has written a few really REALLY good books, (Finding Sky Trioligy and Storm and Stone) so I think that really made me think. If anyone wants to have a few good books just read those books, coz they're really cool, and she's on movellas!
  • Virginia Boecker
    As we enter a new year, with new writing goals and challenges, the three of us got to chatting about our writerly quirks and habits. Here’s a list of ten that we seem to have in common.

    You know you’re a writer when:

    10. You daydream in your main character's voice.
    9. You talk to your significant other about your characters', problems like they are actually part of your social circle.
    8. You're so busy writing that you haven't had time to do laundry and have to wear your significant other's underwear.
    7. Your mother calls to ask how your characters are doing.
    6. Your best “work pants” come with elastic waistbands.
    5. You brainstorm in the shower and look forward to long drives by yourself, just to think about your characters.
    4. Some of your best writing material comes from eavesdropping.
    3. You quote fiction just to show off somebody else's words.
    2. You scour the shelves at Barnes and Nobles for the author pages, wondering how does someone become an author, anyway? like there might be some secret ingredient.
    1. When it actually hurts to be away from the page for more than a few days.

    Share with us! What strange writing quirks and habits do you have? Leave us a comment below!
    4 years ago
    Please check out my story that I'm writing, I would really appreciate it.(:
    Arianna Nightingale
    I look at normal situations and come up with strange, exciting and way out there explanations for it. For example, a plane flying lower to the ground. I know we are near the airport but it would be so much more exciting if they were transporting fugitives to a secret location or something. :P
    4 years ago
    The strangest thing about my writing obession is how much I've been reminded and told that I'm a horrible writer. The top writers at school, and my family remind me the most. Yet, for some strange reason I keep finding myself trying to write something trying to do something despite what they say. Don't get me wrong, it hurts like hell when people straight up insult instead of giving advice. Everytime their words hurt a part of me. The weirdest thing about my writing habit, is the fact I haven't given up yet.
Loading ...