- Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.
Valerie: I’ve never gone on any but would like to someday. My travel focus is visiting ancestry sites and bucket list places.
- Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
Valerie: I would choose Ireland. That’s actually something I hope to do one day but for a few months.
- Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
Valerie: Getting up and moving around helps, taking a relaxing shower or browsing images on the subject helps a lot.
- Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?
Valerie: I’m a bit of both. I write out all my ideas (brainstorm), make a brief outline, and dive into writing.
- Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?
Valerie: I think my biggest quirk is that I always need to be writing two polar opposite stories at once. If I start a sweet fantasy, I’ll also work on something dark and dramatic.
- Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
Valerie: Fantasy is my favorite genre because it encompasses so many types of stories and can take place in both the real world (urban fantasy) or a completely new universe.
- Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Valerie: I enjoy hearing readers’ feedback, but I’ll always write what I think best suits my original stories. Sometimes that works out and gives them exactly what they want, sometimes, it’s a pleasant surprise.
- Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Valerie: I would tell her to not be afraid to share her work. I waited far too long to allow my first novel to be published.
- Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Valerie: Probably writing software was the best money I’ve spent on anything directly related to writing.
- Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Valerie: That’s an interesting question. I’d probably say a free-spirited dolphin that likes to travel between different oceans, as I like to write in different genres.
- Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?
Valerie: I believe I have around eighteen at the moment.
- Day: What does literary success look like to you?
Valerie: It means my stories have made a positive effect on my readers, whether by inspiration or pure entertainment.
- Day: What’s the best way to market your books?
Valerie: That’s something I’m still learning. Social media has helped find the most readers. I’m currently looking into having someone manage my Facebook page so I can spend more time on writing and less on self-promotion.
- Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Valerie: That entirely depends on the book. I can spend a few days or a few hours before starting to write, but I’ve also done research after a story is in progress. The internet is a wonderful thing to be able to use anytime I need to fact-check.
- Day: How many hours a day do you write?
Valerie: That also depends. I can write anywhere from a couple of hours to eight.
- Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Valerie: I love placing secrets and little Easter eggs in my stories. It tickles me when a reader finds me on social media and messages me about them.
- Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?
Valerie: I can’t share the detail because it’s a heavy spoiler, but in my fantasy novel, Sustain, there’s a scene where the protagonist has to do something extremely painful and self-sacrificing for the greater good. I needed a tissue box beside me to write it, even though I knew what was happening.
- Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
Valerie: I’m content with writing any time of the day, but I seem to power through more late at night. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a night owl.
- Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?
Valerie: My primary focus has always been the characters. When they’re the top priority, everything else falls into place.
- Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?
Valerie: Melody Moss is an outstanding dark fiction writer who is getting her feet wet but has great potential. https://www.amazon.com/Melody-Moss/e/B0B99BLNSD
Valerie’s top three Kindle Vella stories are:
What would you do for a quarter of a million dollars? A group of eight surrender control of their lives to participate in a social experiment with rising stakes and unforeseen challenges. Their only significant decisions are the doors they unlock to an unknown space. Join Cora as she embarks on a fun, sweet, and romantic adventure of a lifetime with rising tension, frustration, limited privacy, and desire.
At seventeen years old, what Avalie wants most in the world is to be with Albert. However, his father has other plans for him. To keep them apart, he imprisons the genie in a lamp. By chance, the magical object eventually finds a kindhearted human named Elijah. Together, they begin a quest in a modern world to help Avalie find Albert, let her people know of Albert’s father’s treachery, and search for someone to be Elijah’s forever love.
A young woman returns to a small, remote lakeside town to spend the summer before her senior year with her estranged father. She encounters a menacing doppelganger, sparking memories, and the dark secrets of her forgotten past begin to unravel. She realizes that sometimes it’s better to forget.
Valerie’s top three novels currently are:
A time long past—humans were defenseless and kept at the mercy of powerful beings who controlled their world through natural magic. Sustain is a fantastical tale that follows the lives of the most influential Kastelian family of that age.
Cole, the eldest of three handsome sons, was a strong, arrogant man born into privilege, power and hatred. Raised by his merciless father—a self-proclaimed king—Cole and his brothers were key players in his father’s plan to annihilate their adversaries.
The family’s loyalty is tested when Cole brings a mysterious stranger named Arna into their lives. With this new addition to their world—danger follows her—as secrets unfurl around them.
Can Cole learn to distinguish between good and evil, despite his upbringing? Will he defend or destroy the ones he cares about the most?
At its core, Sustain is a story of growth, courage, sacrifice and extraordinary love.
Alice always believed her life was ordinary. She’s devoted, a good girl who has always done what was right. Until the day she inherited a mysterious family heirloom from a father she never knew. An heirloom that is the key to unleashing the unfathomable magical properties hidden within Alice’s blood. Powers she knew nothing about and can scarcely comprehend. With the appearance of two strangers claiming to be warlocks, the unravelling of years-old secrets and misrepresented bloodlines begins.
Luke will stop at nothing to gain the right to rule, even if it means manipulating Alice and her newfound powers for his own gain. The only thing stopping him from achieving his throne is the one thing with which his powers cannot seem to help. He must learn to love.
Dimitri would do anything for Alice. He owes a debt to her family that can never be repaid, but falling for Alice was not how he planned to repay it.
Can Alice come to terms with who she has become? Will she learn who to trust before it is too late?
Heirdom is a fantastical tale steeped in magic and action. At its core, it is a story of discovering love, the value of friendship, and the sacrifices people make for those they care about.
“It feels like he’s always in my head, whether he’s speaking to me or not, just sitting in the shadows of my mind, silently watching me.”
“There were so many layers to him. I wondered if the ones that stirred madness would someday consume those that sought to be good.”
Lillian longs to see the world. Instead of soaking in incredible sights, learning different cultures, and eating delicious food, she gets shunted off every summer while her parents travel without her. When someone she thought she could trust kindles a rumor about Lillian, it spreads like wildfire through her small Arizona town. Lillian suddenly finds herself a pariah. Now more than ever, she wishes to escape. When the abnormally perfect William and Olivia move into the beautiful Victorian manor they inherit from their uncle, Lillian finds herself inexplicably drawn to them. The twins are reclusive, never seeming to leave their home despite the business and millions left to them by will. But shy, William is growing restless, and overbearing Olivia is pushing everyone to their limits with her antics. Still, they are the rare few who don’t treat Lillian as an outcast. Lillian wonders, however, if there could be an ulterior motive to their benevolence. The twins seem to want something from her, but Lillian can’t figure out what. “The Curse of Allston Manor” is rife with betrayal, sacrifice, and love. Unexplained happenings, pranks that cross the line, and stolen dreams cause chaos to escalate to a boiling point. This book will grab you from the first page and leave you desperate to find out what happens next.
For more of Valerie’s work, check out her Amazon Author page! Follow her on Twitter @valerieclaussen!