It’s my first guest post of the new year, and today I’m welcoming Val Portelli, who writes under the pen name Voinks, to tell us a little about herself.
So, let’s kick off 2018! Over to you, Val.
What inspires your story ideas or characters?
A variety of things. Sometimes just browsing Facebook or seeing the news can start my imagination working. I ran a five Random words series of short stories where readers gave me the words, and I had to write a story incorporating them. That was great fun, especially when I was given words like Pterodactyl, serendipity, aspidistra, and Dracula, chips and seagulls.
Characters are sometimes a conglomeration of real people, but they often take over and dictate how they will turn out. I just do the typing.
What has surprised you most about being a published writer?
How many things there are to learn. Naively I assumed a writer just sat down and wrote, but metatags, keywords, blurbs, tag lines, ARCs and beta readers are now part of my vocabulary. I’m still working on the marketing executive, web site designer and various other necessary skills.
The thing that really struck me was how wonderfully supportive other authors and bloggers are. Writing can be quite solitary, and I expected it to be ‘every man/woman for themselves’. Instead I discovered they are the first to cheer every small success, or encourage you through a bad patch. Have a daft question, or something you don’t understand, and they will go out of their way to help and offer a solution.
Hmm. I’m still not sure about metatags and metadata! You’re right about the writing network, though. So supportive. What are your writing goals long term and/or short term?
Short term I want to finish editing my two finished, but long neglected manuscripts, and get them published. Longer term I want to write more books, perhaps extending some of my numerous short stories, continue learning about the industry, and perhaps even set up my own publishing company to produce my books.
I also want to get a dedicated telephone line, and a team to take all the calls from Hollywood producers, fighting each other to make my books into block-buster films, (we can but dream) and to breed unicorns.
Can I put my name down for a unicorn foal? Which genre would you like to write in but don’t think you could?
I’d like to write children’s stories, but having no young people around find it difficult to categorise what the different age groups would enjoy. Having said that, several people have commented that some of my stories would be perfect for children, so perhaps I’m just a kid at heart.
Nothing wrong with that. Let’s dream a little – your book is going to be filmed! Which song would you choose for the theme?
‘Follow that dream’ for ‘Changes.’
‘Kismet’ for ‘ABC Destiny.’
‘Wisdom of the ages’ for ‘Spirit of Technology.’
In case these songs seem a bit obscure, perhaps I should explain I’m a great Elvis fan. Hearing him sing, while the credits roll with my name as the author would be fantastic.
Oh, my husband is an Elvis fan. I love Follow that Dream. What thing or things are guaranteed to cheer you up?
Being by the sea, sunshine on a winter’s day, finding exactly the right picture for one of my short stories, and a complete stranger saying they love one of my stories or books.
Great choices! What’s your favourite social media outlet and why?
Facebook. I appreciate there are the trolls, the scams, and the ‘what I had for breakfast’ posts, but it can be a wonderful source of comfort for those on their own, as well as a means of keeping up with the news. I’ve made some great friends through the various sites, and sometimes it’s difficult to realise I’ve never actually met them.
Yes, I’m with you on Facebook. What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best is writing, and the worst is marketing.
Where do you write?
I’m lucky enough to have my own home office, so I do most of my writing at my desk. The tiger with the disdainful look is Raj. I think it was because I was packing some things away instead of getting on with writing.
It’s been great chatting to you Sharon, but now I’d better get on or he’ll be nagging me again.
Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog.
It’s been a pleasure, Val. Thank you for answering my questions. Happy New Year!
A little more about Val …
The author’s pen name Voinks began many years ago. It started as a joke when a friend bought a holiday home abroad, then gradually spread through the family, so it was an obvious choice when her first book was published.
Despite receiving her first rejection letter aged nine from some lovely people at a well-known Women’s magazine, she continued writing intermittently until a freak accident left her housebound and going stir crazy.
To save her sanity she completed and had published her first full length novel. This was followed by a second traditionally published book before deciding self-publishing was the way to go. In between writing her longest novel to date at over 100,000 words, she publishes weekly stories for her Facebook author page and web site.
She writes in various genres, although her short stories normally include her trademark twist of ‘Quirky.’ From having too many hours in the day, she is now actively seeking out a planet with forty-eight-hour days, to have time to fit in all the stories waiting to be told.
She is always delighted to receive reviews, as they help pay for food for the Unicorns she breeds in her spare time.
Find out more about Val by liking her Facebook author page
Or following her blog.
Get in touch with her via e-mail
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