Interviewed by Teagan
I am honored to be interviewing Lex Valentine today. She has numerous books under her belt and quite a few on the way. I can’t wait to learn more about this talented lady.
Hi Lex, I sure appreciate you taking the time to interview with the BookWenches. Let’s get started.
Lex, I really enjoyed The Wise Guy, the magic in it is very unique, is there anything in particular that inspired it?
The Darkworld was the only inspiration. I try to make my characters native to that world and not stereotypical. There are lots of books about vamps, wizards, and other paranormal creatures. When someone does something different I perk up. I like different. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some sites slam vamp writers for not doing their homework on the lore. I think that’s very narrow-minded of them. What if the author wasn’t trying to follow the lore but create something unique? The same holds true for magic. I’ve been waiting for someone to slam me because Rand doesn’t walk around with a wand like Harry Potter.
If someone asked me what really stood out about your writing I would have to tell them that you have a knack for making fantasy (paranormal) believable and realistic. Do you intend for that to come across to the reader or is that just something that comes through naturally in your writing?
It’s both I think. My intent is always to have readers become vested in my characters. My way of going about that was to create a world like ours where paranormal creatures such as dragon shifters and vampires live side by side with other creatures and humans. They have jobs and run businesses. They have families and homes and cars. They have the same issues that you and I do. They love and laugh and suffer broken hearts and angst. The paranormal just adds another layer to their issues. They have to worry about mates and mating, bloodmates and bonding, controlling the beast inside them, and finding a mattress to sleep on when they have big golden wings that shimmer and glow when they’re horny. I work really hard at making these characters someone you would want to hang out and have a mojito with.
I know that you write about a whole world called Darkworld and you have a website about it, tell us about that world.
The Darkworld is one of the Five Realms. Basically, the Five Realms is a universe with five worlds in it. Each world is connected to the other and isn’t necessarily a physical plane the way Earth is. The Darkworld is just like Earth. Same cities and countries. The difference is that humans aren’t the only race that live there. There are vampires (Acerbians), werewolves, dragons, the races of the fae, the magia, and humans. The vampires are not the undead. The werewolves are not stricken with lycanthropy but rather are a race of shape shifter.
In the Darkworld, a bite from a werewolf doesn’t turn you into one and vampires do not “turn” humans. Magic isn’t something just anyone can study and learn. Magic is born within a person. The Magia are a race with the ability to learn magic. All of the Magia are born with powers. For some it is simply the power to use magic. For others, there’s another layer to it and they become some of the more special characters in my stories.
The other realms will come into play toward the end of the Tales of the Darkworld series and that will really be the jump off point for bringing Tales to a close with Book 10 and open the door for stories from the other realms. I do have a Twisted series plotted and Cobblestone Press is publishing the first book The Pixie Prince. I have notes for a Magia series and Watchers (werewolf) series as well. These other three series will see more of the other realms which are the Netherworld (the Five Realms version of hell where the demons live), the Afterworld (aka Heaven where people go when they die), the Faeworld which isn’t quite a full realm but instead is a dimensional slice of the Darkworld that lies behind the Veil of the Jewel Box, and the Shadoworld which is a plane between the Darkworld and the living and the Afterworld and the dead.
Paranormal is so popular in fiction right now, why do you think that is?
Probably escapism and necessity. There’s only so many things you can do with a romance. The genre as a whole is limited to humans of different eras. Ideas and characters start becoming similar. Opening the genre up to romance between creatures that were formerly only horror novel characters gives the industry an entirely new playing field. Now, you’re opening up a whole new can of ideas. I see sci-fi romance getting a lot bigger too. The possibilities become infinite when you open up the romance world and begin mixing it with other genres.
People get tired of the same old thing. The paranormal adds an extra layer of excitement to a story and adds other types of conflicts as well. Vampires add a dark, hypnotic, forbidden (drinking blood) quality to a love story (well traditional vampires anyway). Werewolves and other shifters add the primeval element of animals and beasts to the story. Dragons and magic add the fantasy element to a romance. It gives people something more than a traditional romance with a traditional conflict.
When you set out to write a book, do you already know how the book will progress or do you write as you go?
I’m both a pantser and a plotter. I always have a loose plot that I work from. I know the beginning and the end and I have a number of “mile markers” that I have to hit along the way. Mile markers are scenes and events that have to take place during the story at specific points. They are key elements to the plot. I have the basics of the characters outlined so that I know mostly how they will react to the events that unfold in the story. Other than that, I just start writing and I let the characters talk to me as I go along.
What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing?
Finding the time to actually do it! Life intrudes all the time! Other than that, sometimes the conflicts between characters can get muddled and intense. I’ll write out a whole scene and realize the characters had a similar discussion five pages back. Luckily, the characters are just like us and they rehash stuff they’re upset about otherwise I’d look rather foolish.
Is writing full-time work for you or a hobby?
It’s neither. I don’t consider this a hobby regardless of the amount of time I have to do it. This is a career and a calling. I have never NOT written. It’s in my blood. Sure, at the moment I choose to pursue it as a career, but if I ever stop doing that, I will still write. I can’t do it full-time at the moment because I don’t make enough money from it to support myself and my family. I currently work full-time as a network administrator and accounting know it all for a large cemetery and mortuary company. When my writing makes me as much as I make there and the income is steady… then I’ll quit the day job.
What is one thing you could tell us about yourself that would surprise us?
I don’t know really. Maybe that my favorite books are the ones that make me cry. Or maybe that my daughter writes a very funny Twilight spoof on her blog sociallydead.com, a website I built for her. Or how about that I’ve been to racing school twice, once for open wheeled cars and one for stock cars. Mt. St. Helens rained ash on me. I used to own a Starsky & Hutch car. My birthday is Halloween. I build my own computers at home. I have a classically trained singing voice. I have a signature in screen lithograph by Patrick Nagel that was used on the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio album.
Oh! And I have six holes in my left ear. A double Helix – 2 cartilage piercings at the top of my ear. 3 flesh piercings in the lobe and a cartilage piercing right where the fleshy end of the lobe ends. All of the holes have gauged body jewelry in them not earrings. The 3 cartilage piercings are all 16 gauge and the 4 flesh piercings (1 in the right ear) are all 14 gauge body jewelry which is the size of belly button jewelry. I keep teasing my daughter that I’m getting my nipples pierced for my 50th birthday. It’s not true, but I am thinking about getting an Industrial piercing in my left ear despite all the holes it already has.
Can you give us any scoop on anything you might have in the works?
I seem to have quite a few things in edits currently. LOL The Pixie Prince is on the second of three mandatory edit passes at Cobblestone Press. I’m hoping it will be out before the end of the year. Silver Lining is a contemporary short that will be out in the Thrilled digest at Midnight Showcase in July. Mating is a short, erotic werewolf story currently with the proofers at Freya’s Bower. Mating’s companion story Runaways is with my editor at Freya’s Bower. I think both will be out within a few months. Fire Season is the prequel to my Tales of the Darkworld series at Pink Petal Books. It tells the story of Holden Antaeus and Garret Renquist. Rather than novella length like the last two books, this is a full length novel. It’s scheduled for release the first Thursday in July.
What I’ve got on the writing burner is a 20K M/M ghost story for MLR Press (crossing all my fingers and toes that they like it and contract it!), an 8K M/M cowboy Christmas story for a Pink Petal Books anthology, an 8K Tales of the Darkworld Christmas story, Ride the Lightning - the next Tales of the Darkworld novella, Never Been Bit - the sequel to The Pixie Prince, and Dream State – an urban fantasy novella I keep trying to finish so I can sub it to Liquid Silver Books.
Please let your fans know where they can find you on the web.
My official author website is at www.lexvalentine.com. My personal blog is at www.sunlightsucks.com. Information about the Darkworld can be found at www.talesofthedarkworld.com . You can follow “lexvalentine” on Twitter. On MySpace I’m cemeterywinter. On Facebook look for Winterheart. I also have free reads at www.pinkchairdiaries.com under the name Winterheart. And people interested in reading and/or writing at the paranormal serial where I write can check it out at www.winterheart.com/thebar . If they would like to join, they should send me an email and tell me where they heard about the Bar.