I'm delighted to welcome Valerie Holmes, teacher of Creative Writing and author of many eBooks to answer some questions for us.
Thank you for having me on your site, Janice.
Are there any other authors in your family?
No, I am the only one. My mother had MS and much of my time was taken up looking after her as I grew up, so books did not feature as a priority in our lives, but my imagination became very interested in learning more about the world beyond our immediate situation. So going to the library was something I really enjoyed.
What inspired you to become a Creative Writing teacher?
I love helping others who have the drive and imagination to write to learn some of the skills needed. The skills can be taught but the ambition of the student has to be there to make it through to publication.
What's the best thing about living in Yorkshire?
I grew up in a coastal town north of the lovely historic town of Whitby. The coast there has wild sweeping sandy bays and dramatic headlands. Inland, there are moors, woodlands, vales and historic market towns, halls and buildings. Quite a few sheep too! Although the area is not known for a warm climate, the open spaces, walks and history are fascinating to me. York is a lovely time-capsule, fascinating to visit. I have lived in the south-east for many years and happily enjoyed the benefits of visiting and researching in North Yorkshire whilst being able to enjoy a busier lifestyle here and having easy access to London.
What are you working on right now?
'I have 32 published novellas, which I am currently rewriting and reformatting to eBooks. Quite a task, but I am getting there. They are all romantic adventures, in the traditional sense, or history mysteries. I want them to provide a few hours of pure escapism, away from peoples reality, and at an affordable price of 77p, making them accessible to all. I also have a novel in final draft stage, short stories and of course my tutoring work for Writing Magazine and the London School of Journalism to keep me busy.
How do you relax?
I love walking, even better if I can borrow my friends spaniels. Reading, theatre, films, baking, there are so many things that I enjoy doing that relaxing is easy once I switch off from the day job. One drawback of working from home is that there is constantly something you can be doing, but the the benefit is the flexibility of deciding when you do work. The research for my stories is relaxing because it is what I love doing. I have a family and we like to travel when we can.
Who are your own favourite authors?
Bernard Cornwell, EV Thompson, Daphne du Maurier, Claire Rayner, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Margaret James, Charles Dickens, Peter Lovesey, Peter James, I read many different genres and have so many authors whose work I admire that the list could go on and on.
Who would you like to play a lead role in a film of one of your books?
Oh, that is difficult, because all of my heroines are women who have overcome difficulty, thought on their feet and who end up with a promising future ahead of them. They are all so different from me, but I have always had a soft spot for Phoebe in Phoebe's Challenge, Hannah of Harpham Hall and Sophie in Sophie's Dream.
Name five fascinating facts about yourself?
That is an even tougher one! If you take out the 'fascinating' then five facts about me would be...
This year I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary.
I have two lovely children now 20 and 18.
I was twice short-listed for the category romance award by the Romantic Novelists Association (2006 & 2011).
My first publication was winning the Annual Ghost Story Competition in Writing Magazine.
I have travelled through Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and hope to visit Japan.
Thank you Valerie, for answering my questions. All the best for 2014.