Please help me welcome Author Valarie Thomas to my blog again. Thanks for coming back. Welcome Valarie.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a full-time history teacher and I absolutely love history and although my book The Griot takes place in the future, it’s steeped in history.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I do a lot. I’m a mother of two and by the end of this year, I’ll be a mother of 4 because I’m having twins. I also am a digital media consultant who helps women reach their business goals through blogging, social media, and more.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes. I teach 7th grade U.S. History.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing since middle school, but I didn’t finish my first book until two years ago. It took about two years to write it including the editing and self-publishing process.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I chose to write the genres that I love to read! I love mysteries with a bit of fantasy and horror. I sometimes find it difficult to find black books in these genres.
Where do you get your ideas?
I read a ton and I meditate. I write and rewrite.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Absolutely. To combat it, I take a break, read, or watch movies.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I definitely should have outlined more in my first book. It would have saved so much time and energy in the writing and editing process. I’ll never make that mistake again.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I love the way J.K. Rowlings creates magic in her story. She is incredible at world-building and these robust fictional worlds that feel real. I want to be able to do that in all of my books.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I wanted my book to be edited correctly. That was incredibly expensive. Going back and forth with the editor and seeing the silly mistakes that I made was embarrassing and discouraging. Also, the process was sooooo long. I definitely wanted to quit but I couldn’t because I announced that my book was coming!
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would definitely outline as much as possible so that when I’m writing I already have everything in the plot figured out. I would also market a lot better and probably hire a professional book marketer.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Selling in person and using my social media pages is how I market.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? No. Unfortunately, I’ve only completed one book so far.
Can you tell us about your book?
The Griot takes place 200 years after a group of African Americans decide they’re leaving the U.S. and forming their own society in Africa. 200 years later, this society has turned into a thriving kingdom, but it has definitely been built on deceit. The Griots are the only people who know the real secrets of their society, secrets that can tear their kingdom apart and a brewing rebellion threatens all of the secrets they’ve worked so hard to hide.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
In my first book The Griot, the main character has a lot of my anxieties and strengths. I’ve been to Africa a few times so the setting is very real.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part is the end because it’s full of action and I can’t believe I finished a book!
How did you come up with the title?
The title, The Griot, is based on West African storytellers/historians. In my story, if you’re a griot, you’re respected and somewhat feared. It’s also a secret society who knows secrets that other people in their society don’t know.
What project are you working on now?
My next book will be a thriller and I’m very excited about it. It’s actually about writers who go to a writing retreat and people start dying. It’s definitely the type of book that I love!
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I hope to release my next book in 2020.
How can your readers find you?
Readers can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Valariesthomas/
and they can find me on Amazon http://amazon.com/author/valariesthomas?fbclid=IwAR1ImPoHUGddVPN2qgZ9hyqnHuw9Bk3C_OV7pDlIAZ5kQeahQKr8Q2zEXSg