Today, I’m interviewing an author who has quite a bit in common with me. She’s got a wicked awesome sense of humor, loves doggies, can’t live without music, and her muse moves on liquid fuel. Give it up for Kyleen Valleaux! Here’s a bit about her.
Kyleen is a Michigan native and telecommunications veteran. She has been writing since the age of twelve, often forgoing homework for either reading the latest Anne McCaffery novel or penning her original stories. (Said stories are locked in a trunk in her bedroom, never to see the light of day.) She was highly active in the early online Elfquest Community and helped found two round-robin writing Holts. Because writing was never enough to pay the bills, she’s worked in Graphic Design, as an IT Professional, and is deep into her third career as a Site Acquisition Specialist having worked for most of the large wireless carriers in building and upgrading their networks. She writes an average of two and a half books a year and is working diligently to publish with an insanely ambitious schedule. She lives in Michigan, works full-time in the mundane world, and is responsible for the care and feeding of three German Shepherds, one cat, and a Millennial.
Hold on to your seats, because Kyleen has some cool videos and fun pictures to share with us today!
K.V.- I write to mostly soundtracks and instrumentals. My newest find is “Two Steps From Hell” – you can find them free on Amazon Prime music. They also have a bunch of youtube videos out. I also love the Murray Gold “Doctor Who” soundtracks. And then, I’m pretty sure I own nearly everything that John Williams has composed.
D.R.- What’s your favorite song for editing?
K.V.- Silence. Editing is hard and I need to keep my head “out” of the story and focus on the words and grammar. Because of that, I try to minimize distractions.
D.R.- Do you have a writing routine?
K.V.- I don’t. I should, but I don’t. I’ll often write either first thing in the morning before I have to start my day, or before I go to sleep on my laptop in bed. Weekends, because I have a challenging job (which is a nice way to put it), are mine for writing and editing (and laundry, grocery shopping… and all the other things that go along with masquerading as functioning adult).
D.R.- Beach or woods?
K.V.- Both. Being a Michigan girl, the two are tied together. This past summer I rented a campsite in the Manistee National Forest for five weeks. I didn’t get to stay up there during the week, and the deal was for “come and go camping.” I did, however, get to live my little trailer (aka “the Party Can”) there and plugged in and ready. Where I was situated was about 30 minutes east of Lake Michigan. I got a lot of reading, writing, and just enjoying the peace of nature done.
D.R.- Coffee or tea or something else?
But I do drink coffee daily, that’s usually my go-to drug in the morning. But with the cold nights of winter coming, I’ll have a nice cup of green tea before bed.
D.R.- Who is your favorite animated character and why?
K.V.- Sailor Moon! I love both the manga and the anime. I think the appeal is that a 14-year-old screw-up can save the world with the power of love. Even though I give my characters a lot ofroadblockss to their happy ending, I am a HUGE believer in it. I think the harder they have to struggle for it, the sweeter it is.
D.R.- What’s the food or drink you always tell other people to try?
K.V.- Sushi and Miso Soup. I think a lot of people are ick’ed out by it because of the raw fish, but really, it’s not gross at all. It’s really good – you just have to get by the cultural bias of eating meat raw.
D.R.- How do you get ideas for stories?
K.V.- I get them every day – they just come to me. I’ve got a whole notebook devoted to story ideas. Just living and observing the world is enough to inspire anyone, I think. My problem is that I have too many ideas to ever write them all. This frustrates me.
D.R.- What’s your best writer’s block buster?
K.V.- A shot of tequila, leash up the big dog, and go for a three to four-mile walk on the river trail. It quiets my mind and lets me focus on where the story really needs to go next.
D.R.- What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about writing?
K.V.- Never stop. Writing, that is. If you get stuck, you may have to put that story aside and work on something else. Also, write for yourself first. If you fall in love with your own story, other people will too. If you’re only “meh” about it, expect the same from your audience.
D.R.- Tell us about your plans or ideas for a new-to-you genre in the future.
K.V.- I have published the first Chronicles of the Garlon T’zen book – there are about eleven of them already written, but they need to be broken up into novels and edited. My first ambition was to publish two a year, but I’ll do two this first year, and then probably one a year after that. (Real life got in the way with a new job that is far more demanding than my last one.)
I am also nearly ready to release my second novel, in a different ‘world.” Right now I just call it Dragon and am working on a proper title for it. The first book is one of two that tell the overall story. The first book ends on a bit of a cliffy, but I’ve been assured that it works. Book 2’s events take place five years after the events in Book 1. My plan is to have Book 1 out by the end of November 2016 and Book 2 by June of 2017.
And then I have a stack of “one-off” novels that are just fun. I plan to release one of those a year. The first one is a Super Smutty Romantic Comedy about a Romance Writer (who is a man but writes under a female name) who is over a year behind on his deadline. His long-suffering editor decides that he needs a Nanny and hires him one. It was a ton of fun to write, so I’m pretty others will like it too!