Saturday, 24 September 2011

Words with... Valerie Douglas

Thanks to Valerie Douglas for this interview

Author of: 
Song of the Fairy Queen
Heart of the Gods
Not Magic Enough
The Coming Storm


How long have you been writing?

Since I learned how. I was making up stories and had invisible friends in my head for as long as I can remember.

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?

I gave up the day job when it looked like I had two or three books contracted through a traditional publisher. *laughs* Then one fell through and one went on review, which made the third questionable. The good thing is that one of them is still doing pretty well for me as an indie. I’m lucky that I have a very understanding, very supportive husband.

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?

Whatever it is that moves you; you must have a story to tell. You must, of course, have compelling characters and a good plot, but there should also be an underlying theme – doing the right thing at all costs; love conquers all; if you look beyond the past; if you let go of the past even enemies can find common ground, etc.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

For me it’s not inspiration, it’s more like obsession. *laughing*  I write because I must, because the characters call to me, begging me to write their stories.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

I’ve written 17 at the last count, 11 of which are published, and no, not in one genre, it’s too limiting! I write fantasy primarily because I love the genre, but it also gives me the latitude to do and say things I can’t in other genres.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

One first draft took me 72 hours of straight writing, another took almost a month, but then there’s several months in between of second and third drafts, polishing.

How long did it take you to get published? Did you take the traditional route or DIY?

It took about five years to get published traditionally, once I got down to being really serious about it, and then it was in a new genre for me. Let’s just say that while I haven’t given up on the traditional route, the Indie option is a LOT less painful.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers/those just starting out?

Do your research! Decide which route you want to take, and make sure you know what you want to achieve. Then… have patience, nothing good comes easy.

Do you have any works in progress?

A prequel and a sequel to Heart of the Gods, and a prequel to The Coming Storm, a new erotica under my V.J. Devereaux pen name…

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

Carrie from The Last Resort is definitely me, and Ailith from The Coming Storm.

Where and when do you write – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you? 

As I often say, I’m a pantser, I write by the seat of my pants. That’s the first and second drafts, and then I need quiet, dark, and a preset soundtrack that seems to fit the mood of the book. For editing/polishing, unless something comes to mind that really needs to be added to a certain piece, I usually do that in the afternoons. I’m lucky enough that my husband helped to redesign a room to be my writing room, a place where I can close the door and be uninterrupted.

Marketing – the bane of self-publishers – how do you find the experience? Do you have any marketing advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?

I blog and Twitter, do interviews like this, but I struggle with it, especially making the time for it. It makes me laugh though when some people say that in traditional publishing they do that for you. No, they don’t. You still have to do all of the above. They do arrange for reviews though. As for advice? Just do it.

Some of your fave things... Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out? Favorite things…

Animal – cats.
Food Рsteak, rare, with saut̩ed mushrooms.
Drink – homemade lemonade.
Film – too many to count.
Colour – yellow or blue.
Band – varies, depending on the mood. I can listen to opera as well.
Song – too many.
Place to chill out – by the ocean with a good book, a glass of lemonade and my husband.

One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Shakespeare's Collected Works; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Lord of the Rings boxset; Nora Roberts; Sea Swept – most are about the human condition.

Which book do you wish you had written?
All of the above.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Elon and Colath from The Coming Stormtwo great men… well…elves…

Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub?

Shakespeare, Harper Lee and Tolkien.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?

*grins* Writing has pretty much taken over…

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

A book on the USA Today bestsellers list, the recognition of my peers in one of my genres.

If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all it?

Invest all but 10% of it, and live off the interest. The 10% would go to charity to help stop domestic violence in this country and to help find water in the Third World.

Now for the creative bit… please finish this story in 100 words or less…

There once was a beautiful horse called Gelda. It had taken hours of patient grooming to get her coat to gleam, to braid her tail, and brush her mane to hang just so. She gazed longingly at the nice, deep, dusty hollow, tossing her head in frustration. She felt the reins give. Dust had never felt sooooo good.

Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

*grins* Actually, there’s a question I’m glad you didn’t askabout my erotica writing...


Twitter: @ValerieDouglasA


Thanks for commenting - have a kitty cool day! :)