I've read Valerie's books for years and loved them. I am pleased to introduce this wonderful author to you.
It’s impossible not to put much of yourself into characters, but rest assured I have never murdered anyone or taken a wagon across the prairie. One of the biggest pluses for me, is being able to express my Christian faith in my work. I have learned many of the lessons the hard way!
I understand that. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
If, by quirkiest, you mean purposefully, then I really don’t know. I did accidentally shoot myself in the shin about a year ago when I clumsily dropped a pistol. Yes, it hurt. But I managed to write it into a later book. When I decided I wasn’t going to die from the wound I got the giggles in the ER.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have always written extensively. Before publication, my friends received long, handwritten letters. Now, they’re lucky to get an email! As for writing professionally, I tried for my first sale when I was 40.
Before my first book sale, I wrote long letters, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I actually read a lot of history, especially lately. Having a chance to write Love Inspired Historicals has given me the perfect excuse to immerse myself in the past without feeling guilty if there are dust bunnies under the couch. Actually, I think it’s a whole bunny family! To unwind, I like to read suspense and short mysteries, such as Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines. And I’ve been a finalist for the Alfred Hitchcock short story prize 3 times in the past year; March, Oct. and Nov. as Valerie Whisenand, my married name. (Hansen is my maiden name.)
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
So far, I have 18 published by Love Inspired, with 5 more either scheduled or contracted for. Yes, there are a few mss. sitting in a drawer, unsold, but not many. Before Love Inspired, I wrote 7 books for Silhouette Romance as Val Whisenand, and prior to that for Berkeley, Kensington, NAL Signet, Lorimar Productions (Dallas), and a few short stories.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Here, you are assuming I have kept my sanity! Last year, I wrote 5 books in 13 months and nearly wore myself to a frazzle. This year, I’ve been encouraged to set up my own schedule so I’ve opted for only one every 3 or 4 months. I work quickly, then spend lots of time rewriting and polishing because that’s the way it works best for me. See? I am obsessed! When I get a contract and begin to complete a book, I find myself seeing the story unfold so that all I have to do is type fast enough to keep up. It’s exhilarating.
I, too, wrote 5 books in about 13 months in 2006. I know how you feel. How do you choose your characters’ names?
This can be the hardest part, for me. Once they are named, they start to take on personalities of their own. Sometimes I go through the phone book, making sure I don’t choose the name of someone I know, then match first and last names by mixing them.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This is a hard question. I don’t consider my salvation my own accomplishment so I can’t count that. And I didn’t conceive my children alone, so that’s out, too. I have, however, been married for a gazillion years and happily. I guess I’d have to say that never giving up is the key to any accomplishment I’ve made. Including my writing career.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, a dog. Definitely a dog. And then I’d look for an owner just like I am as a person. I love dogs and the feeling is mutual.
What is your favorite food?
On or off my diet? Pizza, I guess, with anything chocolate as a tie vote.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Fear of failure. Plain and simple. But if you don’t keep trying, you can be assured that you will fail. I try always to give the writing process to the Lord, then remind myself that how the manuscript is ultimately received is not up to me.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Read. Then read some more. Although I do sell on synopsis and sample chapters, now, when I began my first book I had read so extensively in my field, the chapters sort of composed themselves. Rarely did I have to go back and lengthen or shorten. It just flowed. And I think that’s another reason why I can write a book so quickly. It’s intuitive.
Frontier Courtship is a labor of love. So was the extensive research I did to write it. At the time I started it, I was living in CA, never dreaming I would soon move to the “wilderness” myself and complete the book here in the Ozarks. It’s one of those books that I had no ready market for but loved so much I finished it just for me. This one wasn’t quick because I took time off to continue writing contemporary romance in between sessions. Then, whenever I had a break, I went back to this wonderful saga. When it was finished, lo and behold, Love Inspired was opening their historical line and I was ready!
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m at www.ValerieHansen.com and on so many search engines I’ve given up looking. My books are available from Steeple Hill.com., of course, and on ChristianBooks.com, plus loads of the usual secular sources.
Thanks for giving me this forum. Blessings.
And thank you for being here, Valerie. I've thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
Readers, go to Valerie's web site and look at all her books.
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By the way, I don't know why my picture doesn't show on my profile. If you click the link to read the whole profile, my picture shows up there.