Today I am over the moon to welcome the very lovely Valerie-Anne to my blog. It’s exactly 1 year since this lovely book was published. Check out the beautiful new cover…..
Publisher: Novelistas Ink Press (24th June 2015)
You’ll find more info, including a link to buy, further on. In the meantime enjoy Valerie-Anne’s Q&A…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your books please?
Firstly, I just want to say a quick thank you to Kerry, for inviting me here to answer her questions. We met a few years ago on Facebook via a mutual friend, and Kerry’s been a much appreciated supporter of my books ever since.
I write contemporary, grown-up fiction with magical threads woven through it, although my earlier books published by Hodder & Stoughton were straightforward mainstream romances with a touch of comedy. My debut The Wrong Sort of Girl won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award, and my latest novel Four Sides to Every Story was shortlisted in the 2015 Love Stories Awards.
Where do you get your ideas from?
If you can forgive the cliché, sometimes it feels as if I pluck them out of thin air. They come from so many different places, and in so many forms, that it’s hard to keep track. A snatch of song lyrics on the radio, a painting or photograph, an article I’ve read, a TV programme, something I’ve overheard or something left unsaid… The list is endless. I find it impossible to think back to the ‘conception’ of a book and remember precisely how it came about (just as well I’m talking about books and not children!) Plots and characters evolve, they rarely end up how they began.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
My characters’ physical features might sometimes be based on an actor or celebrity, at least at the start. I find Pinterest a great source of inspiration – and fun – on that score. But they soon take on a life of their own. I’ve never based a fictional character on anyone I know personally; I don’t see any fun in that. Half the enjoyment is creating someone new.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Haha, well this is tricky too. They come from anywhere and everywhere, much like my plots. I do try to ensure I don’t have characters with similar sounding names in the same story. If there’s a large ‘cast’, I make a list of all the letters of the alphabet and fill in names accordingly in the gaps, although I don’t start at A and systematically work my way down, because someone would be bound to notice! But it’s a tip I picked up to avoid the confusing possibility of having Amy, Adam and Alice all popping up in the same book. It helps to have names of varying length, too. Even if real life isn’t like that, and you personally know a Sarah and a Sara, or a Ben and a Benny, it’s hard work for the reader to keep track if the names aren’t different enough. As for surnames, my favourite method is to flick through a road atlas of the British Isles. There are some great names there, ranging from the common to the bizarre!
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I ought to conform to the fashion of the moment and say I bash out a first – very messy – draft and then go back to tackle all my editing, but I’ve never been much good at that. I always do some editing along the way, even in the first draft, as I often read back over the previous day’s work to get myself in the mood and the right frame of mind for continuing with the story. I’ve found if I write an overly messy draft, I end up making a colossal error at the start that impacts the whole story, which I only notice during a second read-through. Any subsequent drafts take much longer because of it. In the grand scheme of things I’m somewhere between a plotter and a panster. When I start work on a new novel, I usually have a beginning, and I often know where I want to end up, with a few key scenes along the way. Personally, I feel stifled if I map out the book any more than that, although of course I’m constantly making notes along the way. I appreciate that every writer is different. This is just my own version of the writing process – sorry it wasn’t ‘in a nutshell’, Kerry!
Do you have a favourite author?
Not really, as I love too many different authors’ styles and stories. But if it helps, one of my favourite books is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I always recommend it to any newbie writer of romance. If you’ve read it, you’ll understand why. Romance isn’t always about tall, dark and handsome with a six-pack, or feisty modern redhead/blonde/brunette in designer heels who’s worried about her weight/job/children/insert-anything-really. It isn’t always about looks, or sexual tension. In my opinion, there’s a lot more to it. And I think it’s a good writing exercise to try stripping away physical attraction and lust from a romance, at least once, to understand the deeper elements at play within a dynamic, page-turning love story.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I was a petite child with a huge reading habit. There was a library on my way home from primary school, so my family always knew where to find me if I wasn’t at home or school. My parents fed the habit by buying me Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series – two or three at a time. Then it was the Secret Seven. Then Nancy Drew. In between all that I was back at the library, devouring anything else I could get my hands on. I have to confess though, I started reading The Hobbit but never finished.
When did you start to write?
When I learned how to read and write. Quite literally. When I was about four or five, I wrote and illustrated very simple little books and asked the nearest available adult to staple them together for me. I vividly remember penning a story about a little boy whose mother’s nose was incredibly long and spiral-shaped, although I didn’t use such descriptive language – I wasn’t that advanced! But I remember what the nose looked like in the pictures I drew. Needless to say, this wasn’t based on anyone I knew!
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got two projects on the go at the moment, one more advanced than the other. The less advanced is a sequel to Four Sides to Every Story and is purely in note form, apart from a prologue and an epilogue, which I’ve already written, both of which have made me cry. Although there’s no guarantee they will end up in the completed book, they’ve become my anchor points, and there’s an awful lot of emotion ready to be packed in between. The other project currently stands at around 45k, and is being written by my alter ego, who is a little shy and sensitive at the moment and trying out something new, without a fairy tale theme to fall back on. She’s inching forward, because writing it is painful and bewildering and soul-destroying, but she suspects it will be OK, because she knows the ending, and it’s not all doom and gloom.
When can we look forward to a new release?
Sometime in 2017 – hopefully. So, message for my three kids: take note, and let me crack on with the writing while you sort out your own PE kits (all the clean stuff can be found in your respective wardrobes). It’s not as if you’re not old enough. I promise to still cook wholesome-ish dinners, and your dad will still do the primal hunter-gatherer thing and escort you safely wherever you need to go while raiding the Co-Op every few days for bread and milk.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I enjoying tweeting @VABaglietto. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Wattpad. You can find all the links on my website: valerie-annebaglietto.com along with the option to contact me via email. And please do get in touch, as I love to hear from writers, readers and bloggers, and anyone with a love of books, basically!
Thank you so much to Valerie-Anne for joining me on my blog today. I’m a big fan and always happy to support you and your books.
Happy Book Birthday! 🙂
Buy Four Sides To Every Story here – Four Sides To Every Story by Valerie-Anne Baglietto
*SHORTLISTED IN THE 2015 LOVE STORIES AWARDS*
If you found ‘the one’ would you know it straight away, or would you need a little push in the right direction?
What if there was someone like Lily Rose Whyte in your life, whose sole aim was to help you? Someone who could jiggle fate and fortune in your favour, without you even realising.
And what if you live in a sleepy Cheshire village where nothing much seems to happen, except suddenly one summer, everything does. Your life is turned upside down and inside out. As we all know, love has a habit of doing that.
But hold on. Slow down. Because what if – for once – Lily’s got it wrong? About as wrong as she can get. What would you do then?
Don’t worry, though. Life isn’t a fairy tale, and magic doesn’t exist. So, as long as you don’t read this book, and you never meet Lily Rose Whyte, you’re perfectly safe.
If you haven’t already and would like to, you can read my review for this lovely book here – Four Sides To Every Story by Valerie-Anne Baglietto
Why not add all of Valerie-Anne’s lovely books to your TBR list? You’ll find them all here – Valerie-Anne Baglietto Amazon author page