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Hi, Valia! Welcome to Bookish! Thank you so much for dropping by!
I’m so excited to be here!
To kick this off, can you tell us a little bit about your books?
Well, I have four books out now, so I’ll do a quick run down. Falling by Design, my debut YA Contemporary, is about a high school senior struggling to follow her dreams of becoming a fashion designer, while dealing with the return of her very hot, but oh so annoying childhood nemesis. Edge of Falling is a companion novel, focusing on two best friends and their journey on figuring out what exactly do they want out of life.
Pieces of Revenge is my first YA Thriller and it focuses on a girl who lost her whole family to a corporation that likes to play God. Anastasia, the main character, has a beyond perfect memory and a particular set of skills (very Liam Neeson like). She sets out on a revenge mission, meeting people along the way and discovering for herself why her family was murdered in the first place. Scarred by Vengeance is book two in the YA Thriller trilogy.
You write a few different genres. Do you have one you prefer to write more than others? Or is one easier to write?
It’s kind of funny when I look back over my books because I wrote Pieces of Revenge way before I wrote Falling by Design. I thought that I was better at action like writing versus romance, but now, I have discovered that it just depends on the mood I am in. When I get an idea, like I did with Falling by Design, I couldn’t write another genre until that book was out of my system. But the moment it was, I needed blood and gore of Pieces. I think for me, both of the genre’s balance each other out and make me a better writer because it takes that much more work. I’m always looking to expand on my writing, so we’ll see what other genre’s I’ll have under my belt soon!
Do you have a favorite character from your books? If so, who is it and why?
I feel like this is one of those questions that people would say, “It’s like picking a favorite child.” I’m not a mother so I wouldn’t know, but I’d think that it may feel something like this. :)
I don’t know if I have an absolute favorite character, because I truly enjoy writing each and every single one. But I think if I were to pick one character that stands out to me, it’ll be Anastasia. I’m just as stubborn as she is, so I think I relate to her the most. Then again, I think all of my characters have pieces of me in them. Logan is also a big favorite, because he’s a bad boy but a good guy all rolled into one. And he drives Anastasia crazy and that’s fun to write.
Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?
This is definitely one of those questions that deserve and ‘I don’t know’ answer. Honestly, when I’m slammed with an idea, I don’t even know where it came from. It just takes a hold of my whole body, it seems, and I have to write it out right then and there.
The only book I can truly rememeber having a starting point with was Pieces. I downloaded a song off itunes free song of the day gig, Clarity by Zedd, before they became popular. And the song just spoke to me. I listened to it at least five times on the way to meet my critique partner for a writing session and when I got there I told her, “I heard this song. Listen to it. I want to write the characters that feel that intensly about each other.” She told me to go for it, and Anastasia and Logan were born.
Let’s talk specifically about the Titanium series for a moment. The second book, Scarred by Vengeance released recently. What can people expect when picking up this series?
I think the biggest thing they can expect from Titanium is action. The whole series is written almost like a TV show. There’s not much character development in book one, but there’s plenty of hand to hand combat and car chases. I wanted it to be like that because sometimes you need a book that just takes you for a ride. Book two is a little bit more slow paced, and you get to really discover the characters for yourself, but not by much. You want action? This is the series for you.
Because my curiosity about this never fades, I must ask--how do you choose the names of your characters? Is it something you think about for a while, or do you go with gut feelings and just choose names on the spot? Do any of your character names have any special meaning? Have any of the characters’ names changed throughout writing?
Actually, I have a name choosing ceremony where I invite all kinds of sprits to guide me on the journey. No, I’m kidding. No animals were harmed in the naming of any of my characters. But it is a process for me. I cannot start a book until I have named my babies in the way that speaks to me. I like unique names, but I also like names that can be shortened into nicknames. I will browse every possible website or baby naming book until something speaks to me. Sometimes, it takes a while. But once I settle on a name, it sticks. I don’t think I’ve every changed a name once I start writing the characters.
Anastasia was one name that has a special meaning to me. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, I grew up hearing the stories of the last Romanov’s. I watched their burial on national television when they finally recovered the bones. My Anastasia has a little of that Russian royalty in her.
And again, because I can’t help but ask--how do you title your books? Do you come up with the titles before or after you’ve written the book? Have any titles ever changed throughout the writing process?
Titles are a spawn of the devil and they hate me. Seriously, I have the hardest time ever finding titles for my books. I think it takes me longer to name something, then it does to write the whole book. I have never had a title come to me before the book is done. It’s like I have to know what the book is before I can name it. I’m so bad at titles, it would be laughable if it wasn’t such a nuisance to me. I have a friend who names all her books before she writes them and I wish I could do that!
What is your writing process like? How long does writing a book usually take?
My writing process has really changed with every book I’ve written. I’m not an outliner, not even when I was writing book two in my trilogy. I write all over the place until I find my voice and then I put it in order and go from there. Before I start, I write out the back of the book summary and that’s the outline that guides my writing. I use notecards in Scrivener and regular paper ones to keep track of my ideas as I go along. I also don’t edit as much when I write. I just need to get it all out of me first. It’s trully a mess, until I go into revisions and figure it all out.
It usually takes me a good month to month and half to get the first draft out. Sometimes it takes way longer, but I think I’m finally finding a rhythm.
What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the future?
I’m actually working on quite a few things right now, because apparently, I like to torture myself. Haha. The project I’m working on at the moment is a NA Mystery. Think Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars kind of a story. I’m crazy excited about it because NA is a new genre for me.
I also have book three in Titanium series to finish and book three in my Falling companion series. Hoping to have those last two out this summer!
As a reader, do you prefer to read the same genres you write? Or are your reading tastes different? Who are some of you favorite authors? Some of your favorite books?
Your questions are so hard, Jessica! You keep asking me to pick favorites.
In terms of my reading habits, I’ve been trying to read a variety of genre’s every month. I’ll pick five books or so, raging from adult to young adult to non fiction, and try to get through as many as I can. Sometimes, it’s hard when I’m on a deadline, but I’ve learned that I absolutely cannot stop reading. I try not too read too much in the exact genre I’m writing, but around it. For example, I’m writing a NA Mystery, so I’m reading a lot of adult thrillers in any sub-genre that interests me. When I’m writing YA Contemporaries, I try to read chik lit, historical romance, mystery romance, you get the idea. I need to learn how to craft my books, but I also don’t want to unintentionally write something down that isn’t mine. It’s a process. Haha.
As for favorites, ah! Where to even begin? I’ve read so many fantastic books already this year. The Martian by Andy Weir, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I’m obsessed with the Others series by Anne Bishop. Should I keep going? Because I’ve got lots more recommendations!
And before we have to go, can you tell us something random about yourself? Also, that favorite character you mentioned--something random about them, too?
Hmm, something random about myself.... I like to play board games, I’m trying to collect snow globes from every place I visit, and I can’t fall asleep at night unless I have Criminal Minds on in the background.
As for Anastasia, she has a serious secret love colorful high heels. You won’t find this out till book three, but she’s obsessed. It’s very girly and not at all like Anastasia. As for Logan, he’s an amazing cook. There’s a story there, but I’m not sharing. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about those two.
Thank you so, so much for chatting with me, Valia! You’re awesome and we’ll definitely have to bring you back for another visit sometime :)
Thank you so much for having me! I had a ton of fun answering all the questions! You’re the best!
Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. Falling by Design is her debut young adult novel. You can visit her online at www.valialind.wordpress.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.
About Pieces of Revenge
A weapon. A broken life. A humanity lost.That is all Anastasia knows, that is all that she is. As an eleven-year-old, she witnessed her family's brutal murder and she's been on the run ever since. She's spent her life training and planning for the day when she can take her revenge.Kallos Enterprises is a well respected corporation, set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows, first hand, what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of those skyscrapers. Armed with combat skills and a beyond perfect memory, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her for years.
After arriving in the city, she meets Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn't remember him, but he remembers her. His position at Kallos Enterprises is useful, his presence is unnerving, and he makes her question everything she knows about herself to be true. If her perfect memory can't remember Logan, what else about her past is wrong?Time is running out. Anastasia has nowhere to turn, but to trust the one person who's a memory she should have, but doesn't. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must uncover the truths behind Kallos experiments and hope that the answers they find won't destroy the world forever.