The Coming Storm, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Coming Storm?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: It was a book that had to be written. *laughing* Honestly. I started it on a Friday and wrote the entire weekend with no sleep, all the way through Sunday night even though I had a business trip on Monday morning.
The Coming Storm is a classic heroic fantasy I couldn’t find much any more, the kind of fantasy where the characters fight against seemingly insurmountable odds.
The Kingdoms have been divided for centuries, fighting each other as well as the Elder races, the Elves and the Dwarves. (Don’t expect the usual story, please.) Peace, though, has finally been achieved and has held for nearly twenty years―an entire generation of men―thanks largely to the diplomacy of Elon of Aerilann, first among equals in his Elven Enclave. However, something now threatens that peace. Attacks by the borderlands creatures that have long been the bane of all three races have suddenly increased. On the opposite side of the Kingdoms Ailith, heir to the kingdom of Riverford, finds her father inexplicably changing. Discovering the reason why puts not only her life but her very soul at risk. Joining forces with Elon and his companions they try to uncover their common foe, but Ailith has a secret that could bring down the Alliance and destroy everything for which they’ve fought.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: Most of the time they’re just there. Sometimes they come completely out of the blue, they just appear on the page. Each one with a unique personality. When I write it’s more like watching a movie, I see and feel the characters as if I’m sitting in the room with them. I know them intimately, from Elon’s steady confidence and his struggles with his honor to Gwillim with his flowery flirtatious speeches to Ailith. I’ve never had to ‘create’ a character. Some are completely imaginary while others are based on real people, but those real people fit the story perfectly.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: Anyone who loves a good adventure but particularly anyone who loves fantasy novels. Most of my books should appeal to everyone, that’s certainly true with The Coming Storm. There’s more than enough action for the men and the hint of romance to satisfy the women. Be warned, I’m not a YA writer, my characters are adults, but I am the writer I hope the YAs will turn to when they move beyond YA.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating imaginary characters in my head, listening to the dialogue between them. Although I read insatiably, I rarely needed to read, there was always a story waiting. I wrote my first book when I was eight or so and got an A. My next attempt was in my twenties but that was a tough period for me. As I passed the forty mark, though, part of me recognized that ‘if not now, when?’ It wasn’t conscious. I just started writing. My first published work was released two years ago, an erotic novel called Night Moves written under the pseudonym of V. J. Devereaux. My heart though, belonged elsewhere, with the fantasy and adventure novels I love to write.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: I’m a definite ‘pantser’ if you hadn’t already guessed. For me it usually starts with a specific scene. In The Coming Storm it was the ending, which I won’t spoil, but it begged the question, how did they get to that place? In Song of the Fairy Queen it was the mental vision of the Fairy
Queen alighting on the parapet, armed for battle, her hair blowing, looking down at the King who had called her, his castle under siege below them. Then it’s write the story of how they got there and what happens next…
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: Harper Lee – one book to change perceptions for an entire generation. Tolkien, of course, in much the same way. Azimov and Heinlien. Can’t forget J. K. Rowling, either.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: Back to Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, or Lord of the Rings, or the Dragonrider series. Then again, who needs a dragon when you’re a fairy with wings. *grin*
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: I have two separate web pages and individual author pages on Facebook for each, plus book pages for all my books. My web page software helped me get my name to come up first on Google. All of my books have book trailer/videos on YouTube and they’re linked to everything. I created all of that myself. I’ve bought both Facebook and Google ads but I don’t know how much help they were. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re willing to spend a couple hundred with no sure return on investment. And, of course, I ask for and answer any blog requests I can find or get.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: E-publishing is the fastest growing market today. When they use the catchphrase paradigm shift, this is it. The whole publishing market is changing, giving the writer more choices. Kindle is the largest ebook reader on the market, plus you have the connection to Amazon. It’s a no brainer. It was also fairly easy to set up.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
VALERIE DOUGLAS: Don’t expect miracles. It takes time. There are and have been people who simply blow up overnight. Some had the money to invest in advertising, another had a large circle of friends among the fastest growing segment of the market (Young Adult). Unless you fall into either category it will take time to achieve anything remotely like success. Celebrate each small one instead. I remember the first time I saw a completely unsolicited review by a reader and they LIKED the book. Gave it five stars. (Not Magic Enough, part of The Coming Storm series.) That was a great moment.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Under the pseudonym of V. J. Devereaux she's the author of five erotic novels—Night Moves, a paranormal suspense; Cherry's Jubilee, a contemporary romance; Special Delivery, a contemporary romantic suspense; In the Flesh, a paranormal suspense; and Demon's Kiss, a paranormal suspense.
If you're looking an author who writes great stories with full-blown characters that are a little different, you'll find her here...
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