Happy Monday! I hope you're doing well and your week is off to a gentle start. I have an interview with Val Tobin for you today! You can get to know her below, and then stop back on Friday for an excerpt from her romantic suspense.
What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
I have a master’s degree in parapsychology and used to do psychic readings part-time while I worked fulltime in the computer industry doing software and web development.
Do you have your own writing space? If so, what's in it?
I have an office on the main floor of our home where I write at a desk surrounded by books, candles, incense, oracle and tarot card decks, god/goddess statuettes, crystals, and other items that stimulate my muse. I also have a Lord of the Rings poster and a print of a cat sleeping on a bookcase.
If you could bring to life any of your characters, which would you choose and why?
It’s tough to choose because I love all my main characters. I guess from Poison Pen I’d bring Robin to life, because I enjoyed following her thread the most of the three main characters. Out of all the characters I’ve created in all the books I’ve written, though, I’d want to bring Michael Valiant from The Valiant Chronicles to life. In my dreams he’s Castiel, Aragorn, and Jason Bourne all rolled into one.
What genre would your characters read?
Robin would read a lot of non-fiction, especially tech books. Daphne and Beth would go for fiction, Daphne preferring thrillers and Beth preferring romance and fantasy.
You're stranded on an island. What two books would you bring with you and why?
The Lord of the Rings and Gone with the Wind. It doesn’t matter how often I reread these two books. Each time is a new experience.
What's your favorite 90s jam?
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
Why did you choose to write in the romance genre?
I let the stories dictate the genre, and I find studying relationships fascinating, so even if the romantic thread isn’t the primary focus, there’s always an element of romance in my story. Even my horror novel, The Hunted, has romance in it. The main characters, Rachel (Frosty) and Jack (Hound Dog) riff off of each other. They both have a competitive streak and each wants to top the other. It makes for an interesting and fun dynamic even if they’re in the midst of horrifying circumstances.
Tell me one unique fact or quirk about one of your characters.
Beth suffers from narcolepsy.
What inspired your book?
Patti Roberts invited me to contribute a romance novel to the About Three Authors series and offered to create the cover for me if I participated. The story had to be romance and it had to be about three authors (any configuration of male/female and at any point in their careers).
At the time, I was thinking about the various ways crime novels can be written. I used to enjoy the old Columbo series, which was a howcatchem (an inverted detective story) rather than a whodunit story, each week. The viewer knew who the killer was, but the suspense was in when or if the killer would strike next and how Columbo would catch him/her. I decided my story would be a howcatchem, so you have this fox-in-the-henhouse situation where the reader knows who the killer is (you follow him on the murder in the first chapter), but the characters have no idea who among them is the predator.
I love cat-and-mouse stories. Also, I wanted the three authors to all be women because, in addition to exploring the unexpected romances they stumble into as a result of this murder, they all draw closer as friends. Female relationships are important, and I wanted to explore how these three characters would love and support each other at such a terrible time in their lives.
The victim, a fellow author, is Daphne’s brother, Robin’s potential lover as she recovers from a previous loss, and Beth’s friend.
If you only had three lines to tell readers about your book, what would you want them to know?
Readers will get a kick out of reading about these characters who navigate through the writer’s life and all its ups and downs during a crisis in their lives. It was fun to write, and I hope readers will find it equally fun to read.
Writing can be murder.
Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.—Marilyn Monroe
Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.—Oliver Stone.
Success has eluded aspiring author Conrad Barnes, and he blames Leon Patterson, his close friend and greatest rival, for all his woes. He has the perfect solution: rid the world of the egotistical bastard—and he knows the perfect person to frame for the crime.
Leon Patterson has it all: fame, fortune, adoration from fans, and respect not only in his small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake but also around the world. He’s a pillar of the community and a leader in the writing group he organizes. He’s generous with his time, helpful to his friends and fellow authors. Life, for Leon, is perfect until Conrad arrives at the door one fateful morning.
The Three Authors
Robin refuses to leave the house, Daphne has OCD, and Beth falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. When the evidence in Leon’s murder points to Beth, the three decide there’s only one thing they can do: catch the real killer. All three find themselves caught in a cat-and-mouse game where anything can happen and no one is safe. Can they overcome their fears and phobias before Conrad claims another victim?
Detective Jacob Turner is a modern-day Columbo in search of a clever killer. Logic tells him that to catch the murderer he must follow the evidence, but instinct tells him something doesn’t add up. Then, the case becomes personal and the hunt is on ...
A "howcatchem" rather than a "whodunit," Poison Pen is a stand-alone novel and part of the About Three Authors series, which includes Whoever Said Love Was Easy? by Patti Roberts and Stolen Hearts & Muddy Pawprints by Georgina Ramsey.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C9ZMJQX
All Retailers: https://books2read.com/poisonpen
Val studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto to get a diploma in Computer Information Systems. She worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years, during which time she started to get serious about energy work and the paranormal and occult.
In October 2004, Val became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She acquired ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii from Doreen Virtue, PhD.
Val started work on a bachelor of science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007 and received her degree in September 2010. She obtained her master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT in April 2016.
At the end of October 2008, Val returned to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the Spiritual Writing workshop and the Mediumship Certification class. Val wrote freelance for online magazine Suite101 and was Topic Editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.