Vegas Showgirl Pens a Best-Seller
by emma trotter
Show-stopping redhead Vicki Pettersson may be a New York Times best-selling urban fantasy author, but she still likes to sit on her balcony, gaze at our town’s bright lights for inspiration, and remember her days growing up here, before she had a fan club.
“I was born and raised in Vegas, so I always like to say it’s still just a dusty desert town with a big, bright bulge in the middle,” says Pettersson, who now splits her time between homes in Vegas and Dallas.
Her first series, the six-book Signs of the Zodiac, firmly secured her place in the genre of urban fantasy, and on June 12, she’ll release The Taken, the much anticipated premiere book of her second series, Celestial Blues. As part of her promotional tour, she’ll visit Clark County Library for a reading and book signing on June 21.
The plot of The Taken centers on rockabilly Katherine “Kit” Craig, who pairs up with fallen angel and private investigator Griffin Shaw, who has come back to Earth to solve his own murder. Shaw must also protect journalist Craig as they encounter a few other mysteries, including being hunted by a killer. Pettersson says she modeled her main characters after the dynamic on-screen repartee of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
Before she shot to stardom, Pettersson graduated from UNLV with a BA in English. At 21 she was cast in Jubilee! and later in Folies Bergère, where she danced for a decade until finding her true calling: author. “The timing was uncanny,” she says. “I was working for a long time to become an author, and all I was getting were rejection slips. Then, oddly, I told my producer I was pregnant [and couldn’t dance much longer], and the very next day I got a call that my book had been picked up by HarperCollins.”
The Scent of Shadows, her first book, cemented her status as a popular fantasy author. Although fictional, all of her books incorporate real locales in Las Vegas, including The Peppermill, Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, Neon Boneyard, and Downtown Cocktail Room. Expect to find additional hot spots like Frankie’s Tiki Room in The Taken.
Comparing the latest book to her previous works, Pettersson says, “I spent a long time in the dark world of the Zodiac. There was no way I could create a female character that was tougher than Joanna Archer. This time, I decided on a [lighter, less scary] supernatural element and, of course, Las Vegas as a setting. Then I could play with so many other ideas that had been knocking over the years at my subconscious.”
photography by christopher devargas. Typewriter courtesy of Yesteryear Mart, Las Vegas