I shall be engaging in a number of interviews with independent authors. May you find these informative, entertaining, and perhaps even inspiring to go out and locate their books!
This interview is with author Valerie Douglas .
Dear Valerie, can you offer us a little insight into who you are?
I’m never what anyone expects. *laughing* I’ve been told I can be intense. Imagine that! I’m funnier on paper than in person, although I can tell great stories. (surprise) Most people find me pretty goofy at first and are shocked when they find out I’m pretty smart, too. I’m love a good debate on almost any topic.
What is the reason that you started writing? When did you start writing?
I started writing because I had to, no other reason. Since I was a child I didn’t just have an imaginary friend, I had dozens. Writing down the stories they wanted to tell me came later. I wrote one story at fourteen, an epic fantasy at seventeen, but didn’t start getting serious about it until my twenties. Then life got in the way for a while.
Are you writing under a pen-name, do you use your own, or is your work out in both ways?
I do both, since I write both mainstream novels and erotica.
What, do you think, is your best book? And why is that?
The Coming Storm and The Last Resort are the two best things I’ve ever written, both have rich and wonderful characters, detailed plots with powerful messages and complex world-building. (Even The Last Resort which is contemporary, but the world behind the resorts is as involved as any other society.) Writing them was a labor of love.
Naturally, after the best book, what is your worst, if there is one? And why do you feel that way?
I don’t have a book I consider worst. If there ever was one it’s in the trash. I’d never put out anything that was less than my best in terms of characters and plot.
How do you think your writing has changed over time? Did it change at all?
Oh definitely. I’ve learned how to be a much better writer. I’ve always been the go-to person where spelling is concerned, and I thought the same of my grammar. It’s still quite good, but every writer has bad habits, over uses words, etc.
And can you say that writing has changed you?
In many many ways the act or struggle of putting complex ideas down on paper allowed me to clarify them for myself. And, in the case of The Last Resort, was actually kind of revelatory. In the book – which has a lot of biographical elements, my male lead asks my protagonist a question I’d never dared ask myself. It was… interesting.
What is the most daring thing you ever did or tried in your writing? In which book did that happen?
Nike’s Wings. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to carry off all the elements of the storyline, but you should always do what scares you, you should always stretch your boundaries. People who’ve read Nike love it.
And, if your feel up to it, what is the most daring thing you ever did in your life? Feel free to skip this one, not everybody is up to revealing much about themselves…
Go up in a helicopter. I’m deathly afraid of heights and enclosed spaces, which pretty much covers the helicopter thing, especially with six people crammed into it. When the pilot tilted the thing to give us a better view… He kept asking what that noise was. It was me, trying to breathe. *laughing*
Is there something you still want to have a go at, in your writing life? Is there a challenge you envision that’s worth pursuing?
Oh, tons. Let me at ‘em. I’ve got sequels to almost everything I write to do yet, but there’s a western sitting in the back of my brain percolating. The research is all done, and the first half of the story… it’s the second half…
Has your writing ever been compared to the writing of another (perhaps even famous) writer/author? And do you like that?
Dear God, no. I don’t want to be like anybody, I want someone to try to be like me.
Do you have one or two favourite books (written by someone else)? If so, what are they, and why do they appeal to you so much?
My personal favorite will always be To Kill a Mockingbird – a story of a young girl’s coming of age that raised questions about race and mental illness. It started a national conversation, the results of which we still see today.
Which book you ever read would you label as least readable book, so far? Feel free to comment as liberally as you want to the why.
There are some classics that I simply can’t get through but just because they’re not my cup of tea and there was the one book I read that ended in a deliberate cliffhanger. I never read another book by that author.
Is there a book that you know of that should never have been published, in your opinion?
Actually, no, because I fear who would make that judgment. As long as it’s edited and formatted properly, publish away. On the other hand, there are some people who want to be writers who really shouldn’t. Just because you know how to write doesn’t necessarily make you a writer. That, though, is something each person has to decide for themselves.
Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with? And what genre would you like to write in then? Something you’re familiar with?
Truthfully I can’t see it. I’m a ‘pantser’, that is I write by the seat of my pants in a stream of consciousness. That doesn’t lend itself well to collaborations, and would take too much plotting for me.
Let’s see… is there something in the realm of ‘wise words’ you once picked up that you would like to share? This does not have to be limited to writing, there is more to life than writing. At least, I heard there is. 😉
It is not what happens to us in life but how we face it that matters. If at the end of the day you can say you’ve done the best you could with love, laughter, courage, dignity and honor, then that was a day well-lived.
And as a last question, what is cooking with you? What’s your work in progress? Is there a tip of a veil that you can lift for us?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Nike’s Wings, a prequel to The Coming Storm and the aforementioned Western is still floating in the ether. I also want to do a sequel to Heart of the Gods – it was always intended to be a series. The same with Last Resort. I need more time in a day! *grins*
If there is anything else you would like to share, for example a thought, some promotion for your book(s), then here’s your chance!
I’ve got a new release, a romantic contemporary suspense called Lucky Charm, that’s just waiting for a new cover….
Thank you, Valerie, for your time, and for sharing your words with us!