Today, Tag Line Tuesday is happy to welcome the inestimable (not to be confused with “inesteemable,” which isn’t actually a word) Valerie Douglas, or as she is sometimes known, V. J. Devereaux. I will be using “VJD” to abbreviate Valerie’s name, rather than the other pair of initials. 😉
Ed: So let’s get started, and feel free to answer the bio stuff “creatively,” as creative writers are wont to do. Where you from?
VJD: Moon Base Alpha
Ed: You have a lunar Day Job?
VJD: Wait… I have a JOB?!! NFW man… (decrypt as you pleased… but nof****** way)
Ed: How about a Dream Job?
VJD: I has it.
Ed: And of course, the inevitable, why do you write?
Ed: …is Everything. 😉
Now, on to the Lightning Round (patent pending)
Band – Nickelback
Food – Steak
Game – Oblivion (I write fantasy, so sue me.)
Word – onomatopoeia
Color – aquamarine
Animal – cat
Piece of clothing – Ummm, no
Movie – too many choices
TV show – Big Bang Theory
Song – “Feelin’ Groovy.”
Line from a song – “I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep…”
Pizza topping – veggies – especially ‘shrooms
Crime – there’s a favorite crime?
Place – anyplace by an ocean…
Quote – “It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” – Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 – 1970)
Ed: To round out the bio, how about something random about yourself, please.
VJD: I have four cats, none of which are normal. i.e. one has only one eye, one has a broken jaw, one sucks her tail….
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
VJD: The read the book feature.
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
VJD: Of course, dozens! And they all did, I hope!
Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
VJD: It wasn’t a book, per se, but a comic book…
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
VJD: Ulysses by James Joyce. I’ve read a lot of the classics, but that ain’t gonna happen, dude. I tried.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
VJD: *laughing* Never lie, you’ll meet someone who asks your opinion! I’ve had that happen often enough when I DID read it.
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
VJD: Oh yes! Read one… loved it… kept watching the pages flutter by and trying to figure out how the author was going to end it… and then… “To be continued”. Threw the bloody book against the wall and never read one by that author again. I don’t know who’s brilliant idea that was, but the author lost a fan.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
VJD: Not that I can think of…
Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book?
VJD: “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
VJD: They tend to come to me. My epic fantasy was originally named “The Otherling,” but I didn’t want that one character to be the focus, and then one day the title came to me. The sequel was even easier, and so alliterative – A Convocation of Kings – because they were so key to the plot.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
VJD: Like the titles, they just come to me. Occasionally I’ll use a name generator like one of the baby name sites. Or, as in Servant of the Gods and Heart of the Gods, I’ll look for names of that time/period.
VJD: An Elf in The Coming Storm.
Ed: You know I *have to* put up the pic of you with the Elf Ears at the end of interview now, right? 😉
What do you think your books say about you?
VJD: That I stand by the courage of my convictions. Which sounds more pompous than I wish it did.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
VJD: Oh, always… I forget which painter said it, but he said a painting is never finished, only abandoned. At some point, you have to let go.
VJD: Oh, there’s too many – I fall in love with all my characters – how do you choose one? There’s Elon from The Coming Storm – he has such strength of character, and yet he still struggles. Colath has it easier, he doesn’t question as Elon does, he just does what is right. Then there is Ailith, who gives up her crown and chooses to follow because it’s the right thing to do. Or Nike, who’s trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. Kyri, who gives up everything to do what’s right for her people, and has it go so terribly wrong.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
VJD: I can’t do that. Never have been able to. My characters live in themselves.
Ed: What’s your favorite line which you have written?
VJD: “Light shone through the dome, the clear crystal in its center symbolizing the light of reason, with the four pillars of knowledge, justice, compassion and wisdom to support it.” (from The Coming Storm)
Plotter or Pantser?
Ed: Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
VJD: Stop, you’ll never make it…
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
VJD: *grins* The hours… both best and worst. My characters have been known to wake me up at midnight, and let me go two days later.
Ed: Why Indie?
VJD: Because I can tell my story the way I intended to tell it. I don’t have to ‘dumb it down’ and I won’t.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
VJD: At first it was everything I expected, the glorious high of spinning out the story, the rush of seeing it finished, and the sudden inspiration that drove the sequel… and the one after that. Then reality struck as I tried to find a home for my work and the ‘gatekeepers’ slammed the door in my face. I got so close – an agent called me on a Saturday at home, I had a request for a full – but both fell through. I was accepted by a small press publisher, but they made changes to my first book that actually had me in tears. I was horribly offended. Now I’m an Indie, and no one will ever again tell me how my story should go.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
VJD: I can’t see it happening. With plotters I can see how it would be possible, but I’m a pantser and my stories are too individual.
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
VJD: Nothing, it all taught me something, and now I can pass that down to others, so they can make better decisions based on real experience.
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
VJD: Not to forget the joy of it.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
VJD: Never give up… and don’t close your mind to alternatives. As terrifying as it can be, sometimes you have to walk the high wire without a net before you know what you’re capable of.
Ed: And finally, some REAL answers to HYPOTHETICAL questions. 😉
Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
VJD: *grins* Nothing, it’s all up in the Cloud.
Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
VJD: A catchy style, a generic blurb
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
VJD: I tried that. It didn’t and doesn’t. You have to stay true to your voice. That first novel, the one that got accepted and the editor made changes? The reviews commented on the changes. I took the heat. Never again.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
VJD: Adjust my standard of living *grins*
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
VJD: I’m just glad you DIDN’T ask me about my erotica!
Full info on the sometimes “elfin” Valerie Douglas and all her works in mulitple genres (yes, even *that* one) can be found on her website. Do stop on by. 🙂 http://www.valeriedouglasbooks.com/