Please welcome Val, check out her interview with me, her books, and like, share - READ.Tell us about your books, genre, stand-alone or series.
I’ve published seven novels, one box set (The Valiant Chronicles), and some short stories. The Valiant Chronicles is also available as a series of individual novels. My main genre is romance (romantic suspense, paranormal romance).
The Valiant Chronicles set is a supernatural thriller comprised of three novels: The Experiencers, A Ring of Truth, and Earthbound.
The Experiencers introduces the main characters and the conflict. It’s a story of good versus evil but with the added challenge that some characters believe they’re working for the greater good when they’re not. I’ve always enjoyed exploring perceptions, truth, and reality.
A Ring of Truth completes the journey after a much darker turn. The two main characters get to a point where they have some closure. Their story continues beyond the scope of the novel, but this was a good place to leave them. I’ve considered revisiting this world a number of times but haven’t started working on anything yet. Instead, I wrote a prequel, which is where Earthbound came from.
With Earthbound, I explore the afterlife from the perspective of a murder victim who is instrumental in triggering the epiphany that changes the course of Michael Valiant’s life in The Experiencers. Michael is an anti-hero. With this character, I wanted to explore a number of concepts, one of which was how a person can kill but still be a good person. How can someone like that carry on? How much remorse can one live with? How do you recover from committing heinous crimes if you have a conscience?
Gillian’s Island tells the story of a socially anxious divorcée who confronts her greatest fears when she's forced to sell her island home and falls for the dashing new owner. The idea for it came to me when I was looking at a website for a friend’s island resort. I thought that would be a wonderful place for an introvert so long as they had someone else deal with the guests. Then, of course, I thought about that saying that no man is an island. The character of Gillian Foster sprang to life from that, and the story evolved around her.
Injury is another romantic suspense and grew from my ruminations on what it must be like to be famous and not know your father, to believe he abandoned you. How would that affect a young woman’s self-esteem over the years? Her relationships with men? Would she wonder if her father regretted abandoning her? Was he out there wanting to contact her? Then I took it even further and wondered how her view of herself would change if she discovered her father hadn’t abandoned her after all—that he’d been murdered and her mother killed him. This story begins with the revelation about actress Daniella Grayson’s father and the resulting fallout when the media get a hold of the story.
Walk-In explores the new age concept of walk-ins but in the context of a paranormal romance thriller. I’d always been fascinated by the possibility that a soul could contract to leave the body and allow another soul to inhabit it. This isn’t possession, because the exiting soul agrees to relinquish the body for another soul. Without getting too much into it, I contemplated what an evil being might do with this and the story evolved from that.
Storm Lake is a short horror story with children as the main characters. I wanted to take a thirteen-year-old girl and make her a hero. I also have a small non-fiction story in Angel Words by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue, which was published by Hay House. Aedammair’s Choice is a short fantasy story that will be published in an anthology for charity with fellow authors from the Indie Author Support & Discussion group.
How long have you been writing?
Ever since I could read (around age five), I wrote. I started putting my work out there around 2000/2001 when I wrote tech articles for Community MX. I wrote for other online publications after that but didn’t get into fiction writing professionally until 2013.
Are you traditionally published, or self-published?
I’m self-published (except for the story in Angel Words, which was published by Hay House.)
If self-published when/why did you take that route.
An author friend who is a hybrid author (traditionally and indie published) discussed the pros and cons with me based on what he’d experienced. He steered me towards indie publishing, and I published my first novel, The Experiencers, in 2013.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
How many hours a day do you write?
When I’m working on a draft, I use word count as my target rather than time. I’ll typically target 1,500 words. Sometimes that means I can move on to something else after a couple of hours. Other times, that means I’m pecking away at my manuscript all day.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I read some of my book reviews. If a bad review contains constructive criticism, I’ll learn from it. The good reviews also provide opportunities to learn. They tell me what readers like about my work, what works.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The scenes in Storm Lake were difficult to write. I don’t like mutilating and killing characters, but this was a horror story, and the situation called for some horrifying stuff.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Harold and the Purple Crayon.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I enjoy all parts of the artistic process. I love nothing more than taking an idea and turning it into a story filled with interesting characters. Even editing and revising turns me on. What makes me cringe is blurb writing and marketing.
Who is your favorite author and have you ever tried to emulate them?
I have a lot of favourite authors, for example, Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, Tolkien, Richard Adams, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Nora Roberts, and so many more. I learn from them but don’t try to copy their voice. As an author, I have my own style, my own voice.
What book changed your life?
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien changed my life. I read it when I was fourteen and fell in love with fantasy novels then. The Valiant Chronicles is my homage to LOTR. While it’s not a fantasy story, it’s an epic, multi-character journey with the modern world as its backdrop.
Is there anything you want us to know about you or your books?
My main goal when I write a story is to entertain. I want to pull the reader into the life of one or more main characters. Readers will, hopefully, relate to the characters and live vicariously through them. I want readers to get lost in the story and forget about the real world while they’re immersed in my worlds.
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FB page: https://www.facebook.com/valtobinauthor/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K/
ALLi profile page: https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/members/val-tobin/profile/