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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Interview with Author Valerie Roeseler

Author Interview:
Valerie Roeseler
Author of Midnight Divine

Q) Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
A) I mostly read in the paranormal genre and a little bit of horror. While I’ve read a lot of great books, I think I was secretly searching for the one in my subconscious. Finally, I gave up searching and wrote the one I was longing to read.
Q) Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
A) You know, besides children's books, the first book I ever read was Stephen King's The Eye of the Dragon (I was nine-years-old). My love for books only grew over the years and truly took off with the discovery of British Literature and Greek Mythology. I was enamored with stories like Agamemnon, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and especially loved C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce. The beauty of their story telling put me in a trance, and I’ve always strived to do the same in a modern way through my own writing.
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) I've been writing since I was kid. In grade school, my neighbor and I would make up these elaborate spin-off stories around "The Nothing" from The Neverending Story. We thought they were so cool and tried typing them up on their DOS computer. Hahaha! I don't know what ever happened with it. As I got older, I became self-conscience about what people would say, if they would think my imagination was too dark or childish, and I worried if my writing style would be criticized. I found other outlets for my creativity with music, art, and dancing.
Q) What kind(s) of writing do you do?
A) With music, I started writing lyrics, and that turned me to poetry. Late in high school, I discovered my love for literature. I was enamored with words. There are only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet. Those 26 letters make over a million words in the English language. Can you imagine how many stories we can create with that?
Q) What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
A) All stories—fiction and non-fiction—are our legacies. Our legacy as mankind is not only born through them, but left for readers to live vicariously through them. How else would we know the struggles of world wars or the rise and fall of kingdoms throughout history? How else would we believe in a bigger picture to the meaning and explanation of our lives without the imagination of wonders within fiction?
Q) How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or another life path?
A) As some may notice with Midnight Divine, I try to avoid using words like ‘God’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Hell’, etc. It’s not because I do or do not believe in them being called such, but for respect of other cultures that call them different names and believe them to be different than what I imagined them to be for this trilogy. Spiritually, I have a connection with all walks of life. I’ve never strictly believed one practice. I studied religions as a teenager and young adult and found a connection with Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca, and even more, and I strive to understand how each one connects with each other.
Q) What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
A) I was constantly searching for a story that would really stick with me, connect with me in a way that would inspire the fire in my soul that had burned out. I finally decided to write the story I was longing for. I feel like I’ve definitely achieved that with a kick-ass heroin that didn’t need saving and was flawed in a relatable and realistic way, characters that you wanted to hate but end up loving, send an underlying message that there can be a light in the darkness of life, and finally, give readers a knowledge that I’ve learned through my own life; Family is not always blood and blood is not always family.
Q) Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
A) I’ve told very few people this. Another reason I began writing Midnight Divine is because I lost my outlet for creativity when I stopped my career in graphic design to be a stay-at-home-mother. My soul was dying and I needed to bring it back to life. As Ivy’s character was being developed, I started playing guitar and piano again. Ivy’s fire inspired me to stop rolling with the punches and fight for what I want. So, did I meet anyone during my research for Midnight Divine? Yes. I met myself again. It was the best reunion I could ask for.
Q) What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
A) Oh, goodness. Hahahahaha! I am so thankful for internet.
I did A LOT of research on The Dead Sea Scrolls. I can’t even give you a list of all the sites I compiled information from to get the backstories for Azrael and Lilith. The story that Evelyn tells Ivy about how Azrael became The Angel of Death is in The Dead Sea Scrolls, as is the story of Lilith being Adams first wife and how she strayed, becoming a demon.
I also spent countless hours studying the Enochian language. Ivy’s rank that’s revealed when Michael pulls her into the Veil for the first time is the true Enochian word for ‘Death’. In book two of The Helio Trilogy, it will be revealed how ‘Death’ is spoken in the Enochian language.
I think what took me so long to write Midnight Divine was the amount of research it took. I've always loved Angelic lore. When it came to Midnight Divine, I didn't want to create my own lore. I wanted it as closely related to Angelic lore as possible. The information is colossal! It's amazing the number of crossovers there are between Angelic lore and mythology. I admire mythology as well, so my research sucked me in quite a bit. It may have inspired me to write a new series. Only time will tell, because The Helio Trilogy is a massive project for me, and I want to see it through to the end before starting a new series.

Q) What do you think most characterizes your writing?
A) Characters that you can connect with, deep emotions that pull readers deeper into the story, and a plot that keeps you turning the pages. I also like to plant tiny details that end up making big connections in the twists and turns of the plot. I like to shock and awe. Lol.

Q) What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A) Like I said, the amount of research for Midnight Divine was colossal. The most challenging scenes to write were the fighting or training scenes. My husband thought I was ridiculous when I would ask him to let me try a move on him, so I could explain it better. I would ask him what could be realistically expected to happen during certain moves, and he gladly explained... all the while mocking me playfully. Let’s just say I threw him on his ass a few times, but not to worry, we love to rough house sometimes. Hahaha! He's the best.

Q) What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A) It was this sense of completion, as if this story was waiting inside of me all my life to be released.

Q) Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.
A) Oh, yes. Lol. With the entire world of Angels and Demons, there can be concepts most are not familiar with. There is a poison called ‘Qeres’. It is a real thing! It was a perfume used in ancient Egypt during the mummification process. It was rumored to be poisonous to Angelic beings. Also, I use the word ‘Sheol’ in place of the Christian word ‘Hell’. Sheol is actually a Greek word that was used when translating the Hebrew texts of the Christian Bible. There is also the Angelic Hierarchy which may get confusing, but I intentionally explain the ranks bit by bit so that the information doesn’t get lost on the reader. I may need to make a diagram by the end of The Helio Trilogy! Lol!

Q) Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.
A) If I don’t get the chance to explain and the reader sees that it’s a Paranormal book, they tend to believe the subject is either ghosts and things that go bump in the night or they believe it’s about vampires and werewolves.

Q) What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?
A) When I tell people that the genre is New Adult Paranormal Romance, they automatically think it’s erotica! When in all actuality, it’s considered New Adult because of the content (cursing, sexual situations, drugs, alcohol), and it’s under Romance because of the underlying love triangle Ivy struggles with. I was actually contemplating changing the genre to Urban Fantasy! Lol!
Q) What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?
A) There are more “Paranormal” subjects than just Vampires. If you let yourself dive in, your world would explode with mythological creatures you’ve probably never even heard of! It can be quite enthralling.

Q) What inspires you?
A) Music is my muse. Before I became a writer, I was a graphic designer. In college, I found music driving my creativity. I worked faster and more thorough. I enjoyed it so much, I would get caught up working ridiculous hours. I baffled my professors when they would catch me in the art room, standing at a design table, art tools astray, headphones blaring, and bouncing on my toes as I worked. It’s been the same way for my writing. I sit at my computer, one earbud blaring music (because I have a toddler that demands my attention), and my foot twitching away as I type. And my brainstorming sessions? That’s when my house becomes spick and span while I dance around and sing along to my Spotify playlists.

Q) Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
A) Amber Lynn Natusch has a series called The Caged Series. I loved the way she describes her environments and inner dialogue. Jamie McGuire opened my world to Angels being an actual subject in the Paranormal genre with her trilogy The Providence Trilogy. Amy Bartol threw me for a loop when she made me fall in love with her anti-hero in The Premonition Series, and I strive to do the same. Ania Ahlborn inspired me with her book, The Bird Eater. She has a way of revealing the beauty in the darkest corners that I also strive to achieve. All of these women have been successful in the self-publishing world and inspired me to take the leap.

Q) What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
A) When I started writing Midnight Divine, I was writing for myself and didn't expect to publish. From the beginning, I wrote as some would write in their journals, yet my writing was complete imagination. I didn't outline a single thing until I was about seventy percent from the end. It was then, I realized how much easier it made the writing process! I did everything out of order and paid for it dearly during the editing process. I didn't create my character bios until about halfway through the process, and only because I kept forgetting little details. Won't be making that mistake again!
When I felt stuck or didn't know how to express something in the most epic way I could, I went out, discovered, and researched with my own hands and not just my mind.
And something that I’ve found the most useful during my writing process was to always, always, always... keep a small journal and pen on me at ALL TIMES. These are my weapons. I’m never caught without them. You'll be surprised at how many times your surroundings will inspire a certain scene or dialogue. The prologue of book two for The Helio Trilogy was inspired by walking into Cracker Barrel during the holiday season! I took pictures and recorded video of the music playing in their store to remember the feeling I wanted to capture. I didn't even write the prologue until four months later! But because I documented all that I could, I managed to capture that feeling and keep it with me until I was ready. I never know when inspiration will hit me like a train. It can come in the form of a song, a smell, a view, a word spoken in the distance. In these moments, I become one with my characters and I’m able to write them better.

Q) Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
A) I wish that I could say that I’m a full-time writer because I’m a stay-at-home-mother, but I have a toddler that demands attention every 5 minutes. Lol! I have to set time for myself to be able to write. But once my little monster starts school this year, I will consider myself a full-time writer.

Q) What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
A) Oooooo! Good question here. Can college be considered a day job? Lol! While I’ve worked in quick lube, changing oil, plugging and replacing tires, etc. But the most experience I’ve gotten in life has been in college. I can’t tell you how many times I changed my major. I started out a music major because I had been playing guitar since I was nine-years-old. I learned classical piano during my time in college… and played in an all-girl band called Caging Artemis. Lol! Yup. I know you’re starting to see the connection here. It gets better. Then I met a boy… fell in love with the world of street racing… ended up at a technical college where I majored in Automotive, but changed my mind within two semesters of graduating to major in Graphic Design. LMAO! I married that boy one week before both graduated.
This is the part where everyone laughs because Ivy’s character is my ‘alter ego’! LMAO!

Q) How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
A) I’ve only been reading eBooks for the last six years. I was forced into it, ironically. I had no room left in my house for more books. I ended up taking them all to a second hand book store, took the money I got in exchange, bought a tablet, and downloaded kindle. While I prefer print books, I am thankful for eBooks. And now that my family is in a larger home, I’m starting to get my collection back.

Q) What do you like to read in your free time?
A) I love reading in the Paranormal genre. I read Young and New Adult. And I even like to dabble in Horror every once in a while.

Q) What projects are you working on at the present?
A) Currently, I’m keeping my focus on The Helio Trilogy. It’s a big baby, and I want to see it through to the end before I dive into a new project.

Q) What do your plans for future projects include?
A) I’ve been contemplating on participating in an anthology, which is yet to be determined. But I’m more ecstatic about the talk I’ve recently had with another author in doing a crossover of sorts and co-writing a YA series. Nothing is solid yet, but it’s going to be epic!

Make sure to follow Valerie on all platforms the open giveaway closes tomorrow morning it's been such a fun group read thank you Valerie for all the hard work you have done putting this all together I am so excited for the rest of this trilogy!

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