This month I interviewed Val about her books and what she has coming up! Please read on to find out more about this wonderful Indie Author!
Let's start with what books have you published so far?
Val has written 161 works in total and includes labels such as:-
Back Alley Bad Boys
Darkness in the Light
Fostered by Mother Nature
A Better Place
A Girl called LUV
Now we know about your books, we'd like to know about you, tell us about yourself, Val, we're all curious!
I've been married 47 years, and have 2 daughters, the eldest is a PhD MD, my youngest is my wild one, a manager at Bed Bath and Beyond. Both products of the late 1970s
I was born in Binghamton, NY, currently reside in North Carolina, hoping to end on the beach in the Caribbean (70 years old). I run my own business, having degrees in both the bio-sciences and engineering (2nd in class), we do research and development. I did the C thing back in 2007, T-4 squamous cell carcinoma in my right sinus, broke into my oral cavity taking my right side upper jaw, cheek tissue, hard palate. I was supposed to be dead but Dr Carol Shores, my angel, literally saved my life.
I Invented the XEROS dry mouth pump for oral cancer survivors such as myself, got it through the FDA by myself, and purveyed the medical device globally. Selling the business in 2020, 1) I'm getting too old and 2) having other pursuits that I want to explore before doomsday.
Living on the coast I observed people stayed away from the ocean or sat far off on the wooden boardwalk and gazed. Considering that, I invented the Sand Crab Beech Runner (and more recently the Sand Crab Land Runner), partnered with a craftsman, whose house was blown away by Miss Florence the hurricane. Considering the minor setback, we’ll be developing the Sand Crab in 2020. My hobby turned business (1993-3-2014) was web development. I studied art in my dad’s studio at the age of 7 (1957). I also studied stage under the direction of Miss Helen Foley, the mentor of Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone.
Interesting life! What got you into writing?
A personal love story that is put out on the table in True & Tragedy, I sent it to the editors, it was returned, I was politely told, it sucks, I shelved it and began OBSERVING (Andrew Wyeth, my favourite U.S. artist said to his kids anyone can teach you to paint, you first need to learn how to OBSERVE).
Shortly, stories FLASHED in my brain, from beginning to end. My fingers couldn’t type the keys fast enough. I wrote shorts to learn how to write. Five years later, after writing 8 other novels, I pulled the first novel Our Beautiful Love Story, subtitled, A True Story that Never Happened, off the shelf and got into it. It wasn’t happening. About on my 9th rewrite, I knew exactly what I had to do. I removed my lover’s character, replaced it with a purely fictitious character and BOOM. I’ll have it done by the end of 2020 then put it through the editing process. Ironically, Our Beautiful Love Story will be my first and last write, since I’ll retire the writing project at the end of 2020 and move forward with the Sand Crab.
Since ALL my writes are the REAL DEAL, I call them love stories, advocating love. The stories range from sicky sweet to blood, guts and tears, violence, abuse, war, rape, drugs, you name it, all done in love. They occur in the past, present and future. Some stories bring in the sci-fi and fantasy worlds. I have several YouTube videoes, one with real people actors. Musicians from all over the world contributed. I have a couple works in audible format and some are illustrated. The overall experience doesn’t seem real. I have to step back and cry.
I’m in discussion with a local filmmaker (many films have been made in NC - Nicholas Sparks, for example) to put one of my works on the big screen. With that all said, what REALLY got me into writing was my insanity (or is it sanity?). I write to stay alive. What I don’t mean is keeping the heart beating, I mean to keep my single brain cell active and alert!! It’s working!
I don’t write to make money (come 2021 I’ll be marketing and promoting my reads, so we ain’t done yet). I write to keep my two feet firmly on the ground and head held up high. Believe you me, not easy after dancing with Mr. C, getting radiated and chemo’d to death and getting aged by it all.
I write because I cannot speak. Yes, I went to a few book fairs.
Isn't insanity a sign of genius? What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing?
I hate that I can’t write fast enough. Anywhere I sit, stand, lay a million stories waiting to happen. I’m missing out on millions of coolness. I love that I pursued writing even though the editors told me that my writing sucks. Maybe that motivated me because I don’t suck, period! When I joined the local writer’s group and became a formidable member, I was asked to take the group over, I cried. Why? I can’t speak. The group made an attempt to recover and failed under another’s direction. Locally, there is NO WRITER’S GROUP. Living on the ocean in a tourist town, there isn’t a lot of things going on (like writer’s groups). Sad.
Who is the worst villain you’ve ever written, and why?
Gawd! With 161 writes, they all badasses! Let’s take it to my editor. She doesn’t say a word when blood and guts fly but she scolds me when a girl is getting raped and the character in the read sits on his ass doing nothing for her. Damn! She drills me a new …. you know what! So, I’d have to say the rapist villains are the worst (oh, don’t worry, a meat grinder would be their choice if you only knew what I did with these pervs.). I actually got permission from a rape centre to collect donations but never implemented it since the website wasn’t yet published and put out there a couple years back. I’d like to offer free reads IF the reader donates to the cause.
One of my first writes East Town, the villains kidnap his 10-year-old daughter. The family went to hell and for six years they all lived in hell. He found the kidnappers and killed them after they revealed where they buried her. I think at that time it was very difficult to write. My mind kept going back to my daughters, what if …
I think that is every parent's nightmare to lose a child. What is next on your list to write/publish?
I have 17 out of 161 in print so will slowly work the others to that status. All 161 are digitally published.
That is going to make you extremely busy! Who is your favourite author, and why?
Val Amant! The passion opened doors that I NEVER imagined would be opened. If it wasn’t for Val Amant, I wouldn’t be where I am. Val Amant had the most impact on my life than any other writer, past, present or future
Who encouraged you the most to write?
After defeating Mr. C with some of the best medicine ever created, named HUMOR, I have to say that the who is me. Like I said, the stories flashed in my one working brain cell and that encouraged me to get all that stuff out of my head and down on paper, else, I’d explode! A test of this is, I accidentally erased/deleted 21 of my writes in 2018 and spent a good part of 2019 bringing them back onto the shelf. All still in my one working brain cell!!
Are you as avid a reader as a writer?
NO! I’ve read and written technical and legal documents galore back in the day being in the bio-sciences and engineering. When the EPA enacted a specific law in 1985, I read the entire federal register and became the go-to person in the State of New York regarding that law, even the regulators never read it.
Yes, many writers say that one must read to be a writer. Okay!?! Personally, I OBSERVE and now that I know how to write (thank you editors) I am that writer who doesn’t read. Now, yes, I read but far and in-between. Why?
First, I can read digital just fine but I cannot read paper. My right eye was involved in the Tango with Mr. C and it doesn’t like words on paper for some unknown reason. So …
Second, I OBSERVE. I am a visual person and the story plays out like on the big screen. I was driving down the road in the neighbourhood and a girl was riding her bicycle. I OBSERVED HER the way Andrew Wyeth says. Within the second the entire story FLASHED in my brain, beginning to end, Sumer Comes, Sumer Goes I painted her story that evening. Driving down highway 58, I passed the Roadway then saw a girl walking alongside the highway towards the Roadway. Cha ching! Brain flash! The novel, Dani, was created, inclusive of the girl and the Roadway.
To OBSERVE is to WRITE, that is the answer.
What’s your favourite genre?
Okay, this question made my humour kick in. When I was first starting after being told that I suck. I naively struggled with genre. I could not get it straight in my head. Soon, after exhaustive research, there are a trillion opinions, a trillion genres, so I laughed my ass off. Since I write love stories then my favourite genre is love stories. However, respecting the FOUR LITERARY GENRES my favourite are what I write, fiction and nonfiction out of 1) poetry, 2) drama, 3) fiction, and 4) nonfiction. [source: https://study.com/academy/lesson/literary-genres-definition-types-characteristics-examples.html]
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what type? Or can’t you stand background noise when writing?
Music, background noise, etc is either there or not. I can write in the doctor’s office, on the beach, at the library, restaurant, you name it. However, when my writing and my one and only working brain cell begin to fight, I turn around in my office and tune them out on the keyboard belting out a tune. At the end of this week I get my 88 key keyboard (sounds and plays like a real piano) and I can’t wait! It's something new! Anyway, I then turn around and continue writing, like nothing happened, works every time. I did/do this when I write code or script in web development as well.
If you could interview any famous author who would it be and why?
The best famous author’s that I’d interview are all dead! I DO have colleagues who are writers, not famous, and yes I’d interview them. I’d interview any writer if s/he chooses. Famous is not a biggy. It would be fun!
Tell us a secret that none of your fans know!
1. I don’t have any fans and that’s cool.
2. Cooking - before I got oral cancer I HATED TO COOK. Now, when I cannot eat (I have to drink all of my meals), I am fascinated by cooking! I want to learn how to cook all the Russian/Slovak meals that I grew up on. At over 90, cooking is the last thing on mom’s mind. So, I’m going to have to hide in a kitchen somewhere I go to war with the stove and oven!
3. At this point, secrets need the right combination to open Val Amant’s Pandora!
Remind me to stay out of your kitchen! Tell me what your main character would say about you!
Oh, Gawd! 161 main characters and they ALL hate me! If they could climb out of the pages, I’m doomed! Why did you make me like this? This isn’t me! You are EVIL
Run Val, run! Finally, any words of advice?
OBSERVE and WRITE ON!
To keep up to date with Val, please find her on the following!
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in the article are the interviewees and may differ from the interviewer/general public. The works and images published here may be subject to the Authors copyright, please do not copy the images or claim them as your own.