Q: Word on the street says you model all of your heroes after your husband. Is this true?
A: Absolutely! I'm madly and passionately in love with my husband, so why wouldn't I fashion my heroes after him? I take various physical features from him like his soft, dark hair, or his blue eyes, or his perfectly shaped mouth. I love his hands. I tell him all the time he has the best hands in the world! Mostly, I use his personal attributes like his unyielding patience when it comes me. Or his tenderness and gentleness. I love the full support he gives me and that he shows for my dreams. He never dismisses my writing as some fleeting hobby, but rather understands that this is important to me, and something I just have to do. And have I mentioned his butt?
Q: If you fashion your heroes after your husband, does that mean you fashion your heroines after you?
A: Heck no! That would never do. I desire to create every heroine to be a better person than I am. I have flaws--and my heroines do as well--but they have far less flaws than I do! My heroines are also much more daring than I am. They're bolder, too. More aggressive. See? Nothing like me!
Q: Who's your favorite heroine?
A: Of my own creation? I tell them I love them all, but my favorite heroine would have to be Ashlynn from the Myerson Mystery Series. In Honor Thy Neighbor she's an extremely strong individual--surprising even herself at times--and no matter what happens to her, no matter what she loses, she remains full of grace and softness, and possesses an innocence most people lose when life pulls them down into the gutter and beats the crap out of them. She's a highly creative person and just happens to be a published author. About the only thing Ashlynn and I have in common is that she's madly and passionately in love with her husband, too! That and her creativity.
Q: Who do you get your creativity from?
A: God. Seriously, it's a gift. I believe God gives everyone gifts to help them succeed on the path He has for them. I thank Him all the time for this gift. I thank Him all the time for the blessing of being a published writer, too. A creative writing instructor of mine hammered this realization home to me several years ago. I walked into the class on the first day and it was filled with people--some of whom thought the course would be easy credit. She opened the lecture with: "How many people here think creativity can be learned and is not a God-given talent?" Several people held up their hands, and she looked at them and replied, "You're wrong. If you don't think of yourself as a creative person, there is nothing I can teach you." The next time I walked into class, there were only a handful of people. The rest dropped the class. I learned a great deal in that course--and from that instructor. She's also one of the people who told me a writer has to be disciplined in her craft, which is why I write every day. I rarely miss a day when I don't write. I'm surrounded by creativity, too. Steven is highly creative. He draws and paints and has created several of my book covers. My mom is creative as well, and has a great imagination. My Aunt Sis is highly creative, too. She draws and paints and creates things from wood all the time. It helps a person to nurture creativity when they're surrounded by creative people.
Q: Any hobbies?
A: I love plants and flowers, so every spring I transform our screened-in outdoor living area into a garden with Asian lilies, Dianthus, various other flowering plants, and a huge Poinsettia plant that has grown into a tree. Due to our freezing winters, I have to house the plant during the winter. I once had a full-grown banana tree growing in our living room. The blossoms are gorgeous and very fragrant.
Q: If you could leap into any character, which would you pick?
A: Oh, tough question. Like potato chips, I can't pick just one. Mary Poppins. Maria from The Sound of Music. Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Jane Eyre. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Eliza Doolittle from Pygmalion. Dr. Kay Scarpetta from the series by Patricia Cornwell. The list could go on and on!
Q: Which of your books would make a great movie fans would clamor to see?
A: All of them! Seriously, I think The Myerson Mysteries would be a great series for TV, and The Lincoln Room would be an excellent theater attraction.
Q: Finally, what's next for Valerie?
A: I'm editing the sequel to Honor Thy Neighbor, which continues the storyline where Honor leaves off, but finds the Myersons deep in a new mystery. I'm also revising the prequel to the series, which takes the reader to the very beginning--the mystery that brought the Myersons together and solidified their love for one another.
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