July 6th, as you know, held our latest Authors in the Park Event ~ Picnic with an Author. We had great fun, met some wonderful folks and enjoyed the day. We are now ready to dawn our exhibitor hats and begin making preparations for the Saint Augustine Heritage Book Festival in September. Also in September we will be co-hosting a Business After Hours with Lakeside Inn to promote our October 5th Authors in the Park Event ~ Book-tober Fest! Stay tuned to the #AIP website on Facebook for all our updates: FB.com/AuthorsInThePark
This week we have a treat for you. Author Deborah Valentine is joining us for an interview. So grab a nice cold drink, sit back, relax, and get to know this fabulous author!
Hi Deborah - it's so kind of you to take the time to stop by and have an interview with us.
I'm glad to be here, and can't tell you how excited I am to have to opportunity to be featured on the JLB Creatives Blog.
Fantastic! Ready to start?
Then here we go. But before we get to the questions, would you mind if I shared a bit about you first?
Not at all. I'd be honored.
Great! OK readers, here you have it: Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter who once lived in California but far preferred the British weather and fled to London, where she has resided for many years. She is the author of three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine Distinctions. A Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They featured the characters of former California sheriff Kevin Bryce and artist Katharine Craig, charting their turbulent romance amid murder and mayhem. They are soon to be available as eBooks on the Orion imprint The Murder Room. With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a new series of books with a supernatural edge. For more visit her website http://www.deborahvalentine.co.uk/ or The Knightmare Facebook page. She is a Goodreads author. I'm so glad to have the chance to meet you, and I'll be our readers feel the same. OK, let's start the questions. . .
. . .So you thought you’d be a writer – how’s that workin’ out for ya?
Perilous, but good.
* A zealous fan approaches your book signing table and wants to know everything there is to know about writing a book…right now! There’s a long line of fans waiting, and you only have a few seconds…what one thing would tell them to encourage them to become a writer?
Read voraciously. Write obsessively. Get a job somewhere within the industry for awhile so you’ll know a bit about the business itself and approach it with discipline and intelligence. Cherish your childish enthusiasm for stories.
Okay, that may be more than one – but I’d say it really, really fast!
* What book or books are you currently working on? Can we expect a new release soon?
I don’t know about ‘soon’, but there is a sequel to The Knightmare. I’m about two-thirds through the first draft – but I do a lot of drafts, and a lot of editing! Editing is essential and I’m obsessive about it. I really enjoy the process, getting right down to the nitty-gritty of the story.
* What kind of animals, birds, or fish do you like best? Do you have any pets - how many do you have – and what are their names?
I love animals – I even rescue the spiders in my bath. I’ve had a lot of animals in my life. Right now I have a tortoiseshell tabby rescue cat, Miss Garbo, and I leave food for the wildlife in the garden – my outdoor pets. I find animals essential for writing, something about connecting with creatures that are so instinctive. I don’t think pets are a substitute for children, or partners, or anything else. Having a relationship with an animal is a primal human need, a connection with the earth. Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like animals, my highbrow shoots straight up. I wonder what pieces are missing from that person.
* We all love stories – especially yours! Would you be willing to give the readers a synopsis of your current book?
The Knightmare is about a career-obsessed Formula 1 driver, Conor. All his life he’s had the same horrifying nightmare that – to him – feels more like a memory than a dream, even though it’s quite an unrealistic nightmare. Soon after he’s injured in a terrible racing accident he’s informed a woman, Mercedes, with whom he had a one-night-stand has died and left him as her heir. Now, as fantastic as that night was, he isn’t best pleased. But his sister goads him into going to Amsterdam to identify the body – really, she gets all the best lines! Quite an earthy young woman, his sister.
At Mercedes’ house he finds an illuminated book that transports him back in time to a past life as a Knight Templar. In reliving that time – of magic, crusades, sword fighting, massacres, love and betrayal – he discovers the reasons for his issues in this life. Let’s call it incredible hindsight! And when he gets back, finds all the people from back then are in his present – the gang’s all here! And well, there’s things to be sorted…
* What are your favorite genres of books to read, and what are your favorite genres of books to write?
I like well-written books with a fantastical element to them and, also, a bit of love and romance in there. For example, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and anything by Neil Gaiman. I also like historical fiction, like the books written by Sarah Dunant.
That’s also what I like to write – books with a fantastical element, a historical element, that are character-driven and illustrate a human truth. Also, with a bit of love and romance...
* Time to go to the movies! Out of all the ones you’ve seen, what’s your fav? And be sure to tell us why in case we haven’t seen it and would like to check it out.
Two immediately spring to mind. La Belle and La Bete by Jean Cocteau. It was made in 1947, just after World War II and they created the most magical special effects on no budget! It’s a great feat of imagination and childish enthusiasm.
The other is The Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott. A fantastic medieval story about a man seeking forgiveness. I can quote whole swatches of the dialogue back from memory – wonderful dialogue by screenwriter William Monahan! It’s also a film full of interesting intelligent men in chainmail. Truly a kingdom of heaven.
* Did you ever study writing? Feel free to elaborate – we’d love to hear about your education.
I ain’t got no education – I mean, not really. I finished secondary school, got my diploma. I’ve taken the occasional writing course, ‘occasional’ being the operative word! I’m wary of formal education. I believe in reading and I believe in living, in taking chances, in exercising your curiosity. The combination of reading and life itself is the best educator, in my opinion.
* If you could personally thank one person, or several (living or not) for giving you the strength, determination, and perseverance to continue in your writing who would you thank?
First of all, I’d like to thank all the people who discouraged me (they shall remain nameless). It made me realise how necessary it was for me to do it; that I HAD to persevere despite so many remarks that made me want to bat my head against a wall was a good measure of my need. It hardened my resolve.
As for those who encouraged me – and there have been many – I’d like to thank the first, Janet Linville. My second book, A Collector of Photographs, is dedicated to her. She’s a psychologist and got me started by saying: “What are you going to do with your life? You think like a writer – have you ever tried it…” And then, in so many words, told me to just get on with it!
* What is your favorite make-believe place you’ve ever created in a story? Is it a town? A hide-out? A futuristic city? The possibilities are endless! Please tell us all about your fav as we’d all love to escape with you!
Mercedes’ medieval castle in The Knightmare. It’s my dream home. The castle kind of merges with the forest – rather like the way my house plants are taking over, but more wild and dramatic! Animals roam free, there’s timbered rooms painted as if you’re deep in the forest, actual ivy grows through cracks in the stone; then there’s a bed chamber that has a cupola-style ceiling with stars and a moon that move (even though they are, ahem, paint), candles go on and off as you pass by as if on an automatic dimmer switch, honeysuckle vines climb all over the outbuildings, the kitchen is a hanging forest of dried herbs, there’s an exuberant garden to grow all those herbs – oh, and this amazing table made of hardened ivy… I mean, the list goes on… it has turrets!
And it’s in France (sigh)…
* How do you deal with rejection when you submit an MS?
Just file it. I used to kick furniture but after I broke my toe I decided filing was a healthier option.
* If you could cure something in this world, what would it be?
Stupidity and ignorance, particularly within myself!
* Of all the professions in this world you opted to be a writer. What brought you to it?
Desperation! I never felt I communicated verbally very well. I said things that made sense, but not the sense I meant (if that makes sense). So I wanted to say things better. Tell a good story! I don’t know how many times I’ve walked away from a conversation and wished I could write down an edited version, hand it back and say, “This isn’t what we said, but I think it’s what we meant – and now it’s more entertaining!” Obviously, that wouldn’t be a good way to win friends and influence people, unless you can do so as a totally invented story. Hence, writing fiction…
* Where can we find your book(s)?
The Knightmare can be found on: http://www.amazon.com/The-Knightmare-ebook/dp/B00BI1CWOC
The first crime series, featuring Kevin Bryce and Katharine Craig, will be digitally published through Orion’s The Murder Room imprint in July 2013. The old physical copies published by Victor Gollancz Ltd, Avon and Bantam can be found on Amazon, Abe Books and a number of other online book dealers.
Was that fun or what? Deborah is truly an author worth discovery. And that's what we're all about here at the JLB Creatives Blog.
If you are someone who serves in the literary world and would like to be featured on the JLB Creatives Blog like Deborah, check out the box in the top of the right hand column. > > >
Until next time. . .stay casual, live life to the fullest, and have a piece of chocolate for me.
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