Who is Victoria Valentine?
I'm a New York fiction writer and indie book publisher. I also enjoy dabbling in poetry, but would not call myself a true poet. I've raised three great kids; two daughters and a son, and have been blessed with two wonderful grandsons. I've written two novels, a poetry collection and a children's storybook. My books can be found at http://www.victoriavalentine.net My annual anthologies,Literary House Review and Skyline Review, and Hudson View quarterly poetry digest, can be found in the New York Public Library and some college libraries in a few different states. Hudson View is also distributed in South Africa and India.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The novel, Crooked Tree, by Robert C. Wilson was the inspiration for my first book, The Last Resort. The Last Resort was never published as a novel, however, some chapters made their way into a short story horror anthology written by myself and Massachusetts novelist, Steven Manchester. I love horror, especially if the story takes place in a forest, which to me is eerie and can provide a fantastically frightening backdrop for a truly horrific story. What's creepier than a cabin in the woods, in the dark of night, howling wind … howling wolves! Werewolves are my favorite creatures of the night. I'm considering a novel about werewolves, but not until I finish Sweet Dreams, a novel about a serial killer who's working his way up the east coast. I've also written a book of inspirational short stories and poetry that's been sitting here for four years, waiting to be edited and published. It's designed and formatted. One of these days I'll finish everything I've started. I'm easily sidetracked, especially by indie publishing.
What were the challenges in bringing your book to life?
Time. Finding the time to finish the original concept which entirely changed along the way. However, my biggest challenge is my uncontrollable need for perfection. Love Dreams could have been finished much sooner, but I highjacked myself many times along the way. I started Love Dreams 25+ years ago, and those first seven chapters and a skeleton outline sat on my desktop until last year, when I decided to finally finish it. Even though it's been released, I still don't consider it finished. I'm my worst critic. Each time I read something I've written, I find the need to keep revising.
Do you ever wish for something more than writing?
A nice big Lotto pot so that I could open a huge publishing house with paid editors and other personnel to help me publish as many aspiring writers as possible. And to actually pay writers for their extraordinary efforts, devotion and contributions to the literary world. There are so many struggling writers, wonderful writers, who go undiscovered, unread because it's so difficult to land agents and publishers. If I could, I'd publish them all. Also, I'd like my own books to be read and enjoyed by many, and to be a NY Times best selling author. I guess this is the desire of every writer :-)
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I admire quite a few writers, but would have to choose the authors of books that I found most compelling. Robert McCammon is one, and of course, Robert C. Wilson. I find it ironic that for someone who's such a horror enthusiast, my first full novel to be released is a steamy romance. Still, I had to throw in a bit of horror in the form of Rob's ghost haunting Sienna in Love Dreams.Two of my favorite romance writers are Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins, although there are many more current writers I admire and am inspired by.
When did you first learn that you wanted to be a writer. Was it just a natural instinct or did you find it later in life?
I've always been a dreamer, concocting plots and situations. From the moment I could hold a crayon, I knew I wanted to be a writer. As I grew up, I found every reason under the sun to expand upon things such as personalizing party invitations, greeting cards, even shopping lists, notes, etc. I loved writing short stories and even rhymes. At the time, I didn't realize I was really writing poetry. These days I rarely compose rhyme; I prefer free verse and prose. In high school I won tons of candy bars in writing competitions. In my younger days I experimented with art, but have since realized art is not where my talent lies. However, I enjoy designing book covers and formatting indie books. I love publishing. Second to writing, publishing is my passion. A friend, Steve Cartwright, once said I have ink in my blood. He's so right. Each time I've put publishing on hold to work on one of my own projects, I've returned prematurely. My need to be submerged in literature and anything involving book publishing is insatiable.
Are you a big reader? If so do you think that had anything to do with becoming a author?
I used to constantly have a paperback in my hands. My mom and I would buy books, exchange them, then donate them to the library. Unfortunately, these days, I don't have the time to read as much as I'd like to, however, I do read manuscripts for the writers whom I publish, and short stories and poetry for my “Water Forest Press” anthologies and digests. My life is so busy and hectic, I don't have much time to sit down and enjoy a book.
Where's your favorite place to write?
A room filled with music and wind chimes; my office/den/catch-all room which contains computers and printers, a dresser, three laundry baskets lining part of a wall, and a closet stuffed with printer paper and ink, mailing supplies, books and magazines. And of course, a ceiling to floor bookcase. Years ago, when I first started Skyline Literary Magazine, I used to do my own printing, collating, and binding, so I've very well stocked.
Who helps you write the most?
My daughter, Phaedra. Actually, my entire family supports me, but Phae cheers me on and helps edit the anthologies, and books and stories that I write. When I'm overwhelmed, we'll share tea and mother-daughter moments, then it's back to the grind, but refreshed.
Here's where you can find her and in her words. :D
I love to create youtube videos to promote my projects. I also read story excerpts and poetry. Videos can be found on Water Forest Press video channel:link
Love Dreams is available in print and kindle, and is listed with many online retailers including Water Forest Press and Amazon.com:link
Water Forest Press Books: LINK