This week I sat down with Val Saintcrowe for do a deep dive into her writing.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list,
I live near Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the U.S. with my son. I read a lot and I watch a lot of shows on the CW (a television network). No matter how old I get, I can’t seem to get enough of teen drama for some reason. And yes, I will be watching the Gossip Girl reboot, because it’s one of my guilty pleasures.
I write new adult romantic fantasy as Val Saintcrowe, and then I have a ridiculous amount of other pen names in which I write various other genres, including historical romance, urban fantasy, and thrillers.
What got you started in writing?
I’m one of those writers whose got the aw-so-cute anecdote about writing their first story when they were six (It was called “Joyce Spindle and the Purple Stone” and it was a sort of mashup of Trixie Belden and The Hobbit). I’ve basically always written, but I didn’t finish my first novel until after I graduated from college, and I didn’t start financially supporting myself with my writing until I was over thirty.
What do you like to read?
I love epic fantasy with a strong romantic component and with strong female characters. I’m a big fan of Kiersten White, Tricia Levenseller, Sabaa Tahir, and Holly Black to name a few writers. I also have a weird fascination with serial killers, so I’ll sometimes venture into really dark stuff or Gillian-Flynn-esque psychological thrillers.
Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?
The first book I published was called Breathless, and it was under a different pen name (you can find it under Jove Chambers now). It was a sort of YA thrillery romance thing, sort of in the vein of Twilight but a good bit darker, about a girl who’d been raised to kill a supposedly evil boy, but she ended up falling in love with him instead. And, well, she wasn’t totally sure that he wasn’t evil. That book and its sequels were eventually responsible for my being able to quit my day job and write full time, but the pen name eventually fizzled out and I moved on to other genres.
How do you create your characters?
I steal them from CW shows.
No, I’m not even lying. Guillame from The Clash and the Heat series is just called Jughead on the outline.
Seriously, I tend to nail down whatever it is a character wants, or what is driving them, and then everything else usually comes from that.
Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?
Boringly, I write at a desk in my office. I need good ergonomics to crank out the words. *grin* I do write outlines, but I like to keep things loose enough that I can go off in different directions if the muse takes me there.
What are you working on as we speak?
I’m in the very early planning stages of a series that will be about a world in which a group of magical creatures (Elves? Fae? Werewolves? Haven’t decided yet) are enslaved to humans, and they lead a rebellion. There will be several couples on various sides of the uprising. I really like forbidden love or love across opposing factions, so I’m pretty excited about that.
What would your advice be for aspiring authors?
Love the work, because it’s a heartbreaking business, and if you don’t find joy in the creation, the rest of it will eat you alive. The only way you fail is to give up.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Newsletter signup: http://www.vjchambers.com/join-val-saintcrowes-email-list/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Saintcrowe/e/B088NMXSSB
Newest or upcoming release: The Sins of Falcons https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T8CC7NQ
My next interview will be with Karen Tomlinson on March 20th.
In the meantime, happy reading xx