Thursday, January 12, 2012

Author Interview: Valerie Gillen

I am happy to welcome Valerie Gillen to my blog today. I recently read her book A Little Magic, and she was kind enough to agree to an interview, thank you so much Valerie!

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A. I've been writing little stories since I was a kid (girls and their horses), and through high school. I've been writing on and off for many years, and have a few manuscripts stuffed in a drawer, like a lot of writers do. Maybe someday I'll take them out and see if they can be resurrected.

Q. Who is your favorite author? Why?
A. I loved Harry Potter for the interesting world JK Rowling built, and the characters. She really had you rooting for Harry to have a happy ending to his story, with all the terrible things he had to go through. Other favorites are Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher and the Harry Dresden series, Nora Roberts, Alice Hoffman and Suzanne Brockmann. I think they all do great characters and if you don't care about the characters, you won't care what happens to them.

Q. What was your inspiration for A Little Magic?
A. Loving Harry Potter as I did, I wanted to write a YA set in the world of magic. I wanted to have the heroine be a stepdancer, as I am myself - I thought it would be interesting to have her do something that you don't see in every book. And I wanted to set the book in Vermont, my beloved home.

Q. What other projects are you currently working on?
A. I just put up a romantic short story called The Last Blind Date, and I have another short story I'm polishing up. I'm currently working on my next YA which is called Everything to Live For. It's about a girl who has suffered a grievous loss and loses her way in life; she's failing out of high school and doesn't see the point in going on. Then she discovers that an ancestor of hers was hung as a witch in 1700s Connecticut. And the adventure begins...

Q. Where is your favorite place to write?
A. Probably at my dining room table, facing away from the window so I can't get too distracted. Although, I did a fair amount of work on A Little Magic while at my daughter's gymnastics school while she was working out.

Q. What was the hardest part about writing A Little Magic?
A. I think probably like any writing project, the hardest part is when you get stuck and you can't think where to take the story next. It's easy to panic and go - uh, this is not working, I'll just toss it and start something else. Sometimes it helps to just step away for a few days, let your subconscious brain work it out. I tend to do that a lot when I'm walking my dog - think, okay, the main character is in this situation - what happens next? If you're at one point and you know where you want to end up, how can you get the character there? What needs to happen inbetween? I think sometimes if you let your imagination roam free without trying to put limits on it, the solution will come.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A. Don't give up. It's hard to break into traditional publishing but now that we have the e-book option, it's opened up a whole new world for people. Rejection is hard, but if somebody takes the time to give you comments on how to improve your writing, take it to heart. Read other bestselling writers, try to see what it is about their stories that strike a chord with people. They say, write about what you know, and I think that's also true. Also, write what you would love to read. It's pointless trying to write the next breakout paranormal just to get on the bandwagon, if you don't read paranormal and don't like the genre.

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