An interview with Lex Valentine
Who has been the biggest influence upon your work?
I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, but until the past two years, I’ve kind of cyclical. I’ll write, then I won’t. So I would say that if we’re just talking about this current cycle, which I feel is really my strongest and final cycle (I doubt I will ever stop now as I have in the past because I seem to have found my niche)… I would say that Katie MacAlister and Julia Quinn have influenced me the most because I identify so well with the way they mix humor into their stories. And Katie also because that’s where the genus for The Bar Story came from. Writing at The Bar is what put me on the path that I’m on now. The friends I’ve made there are priceless to me, in particular Jen, Laurie, and Mary. They too have been an influence on my work.
What upcoming project of your own are you most excited about?
I should really be the most excited about Shifting Winds since I just signed a contract for it. However, I think Silver Lining which has been subbed to Midnight Showcase is the story I’m most excited about. This story was born from a song I heard by Lady Antebellum and a fantasy I had of my ex. It’s an intensely personal story for me.
While doing research have you ever done anything really exciting or
Not really. Although, I did have to email a friend in Scotland who is into BDSM to ask him about floggers and whips when I was writing The Whip & the Chair, the 3rd story of my trilogy for the Pink Chair Diaries. And strangely enough, it’s not Whip that my friend likes the best. He likes The Wiz & the Chair better as evidenced by the comment he left on it. All the cemetery stuff in Shifting Winds I know because I work in that industry.
Who is your favorite fictional character created by someone other than yourself?
If I don’t count the characters at The Bar (an online paranormal/urban fantasy where I write) and I choose only from published works… Colin Bridgerton in Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn or Julian St. Claire in Riding the Rail by Julia Devlin. If I did count The Bar it hands would hands down be Alaric Kohl who was created by and written by my friend Jennifer Morgan. In fact, Alaric totally wins out over the other two.
Who is your own favorite character?
Right now my own favorite character is Alexa Harte, a vampire in my WIP entitled Never Been Bit. Alexa lost her bloodmate and because of it, she shouldn’t be alive. She doesn’t know how or why she survived the loss of her bloodmate and she’s pretty heartsore, but she’s feisty and amusing even though underneath she’s ripped to shreds.
What are you enjoying reading at the moment?
I’ve been riveted by two of the series written by Jennifer Leeland. The Command series takes place on the planet Asberek. The other series is a BDSM lifestyle series set in Northern California. I’ve read the two books in each series and they just left me panting for more. The third book in the Command series will be out soon and Jen’s hard at work on the third book in the other series. She’s a great writer, and a great friend. At the moment, she’s the only author I’ve been re-reading too!
Do you do anything to summon up inspiration – write to music, have a special writing hat etc?
I don’t like to have distractions. I hate it when my kid plops onto my bed and turns my TV up full blast with House or Ghost Hunters on. Sometimes I have to shut the doors to keep the kittehs out because they’re rowdy too. I sometimes play music if I think it will help the mood, but otherwise, there’s nothing really. I just need to have the characters in mind and the keyboard in front of me.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I work a lot. I’m IT so sometimes I get calls on the weekend or in the evening. I read a lot. I talk on Twitter on the Yahoo loops and YIM to friends. I play an online horse racing sim game and I moderate the message board there for the game creator. Other than that, I spend my time reading the blogs in my feed reader and commenting on them. The blogging community I belong to is the greatest group of people. I’ve met some of them in person, and I adore them.
What works in progress have you got on the go at the moment?
I have Alexa’s story which is one of the Twisted Tales of the Darkworld. I also have an urban fantasy called Dream State about mutants who are the only ones who can see the monsters who have been invading the world. Then there’s A Heart to Match which is a contemporary cougar romance about a model who falls in love with a romance author because of her blog and vice versa. I’m also about half finished with Hot Water, the sequel to Shifting Winds. It’s about the siblings of the couple in Shifting Winds. And finally, I have a ménage story called The Hedonist Club about a woman who buys a software company and falls in love with it’s former owner, who has just retired (at a young age) and bought a swinger’s club. The last thing I’ve got going are two plots that I’ve barely starting the writing for. One, is the third book of the Twisted Tales of the Darkworld – What You Wish For, and the other is the sequel to Hot Water. And finally, I have Regency romance that has 75K words and an ending I won’t write because I don’t like what I’ve plotted. After a year, I’ve gone back to the drawing board on the ending for this. I don’t want to waste 75K words.
Tell us about the books you have out:
I haven’t been pubbed yet, but I recently received my first contract for a novella called Shifting Winds which is about a vampire who wants a one night stand and picks up a dragon who is a home and hearth kinda guy looking for his mate. It was picked up by Pink Petal Books and will be out in the spring of 2009. I’m currently working on the sequel to this book, which I hope to sub to PPB as well. In addition, I have 3 other manuscripts subbed. Runaway Train is a short, erotic story about a female vampire named Dante who meets a werewolf named Roman on a train. It’s pretty much nothing but sex. Silver Lining is about a woman in her early 40’s who tries once last time to find someone to love. What she actually finds is a past love that she never forgot. The Pixie Prince is a Twisted Tale of the Darkworld. Each of the twisted tales in my world is based on a fairy tale, folklore, legend, or nursery rhyme. This story is a twisted version of the Princess & the Pea staring Max Fever an underwear model who becomes the Pixie Prince.
If your book became a big Hollywood film, who would you cast to play your characters?
For Shifting Winds, I see actor Victor Webster as Declan and maybe someone like Anne Hathaway as Elysia. I often visualize my characters as someone. Model Travis Fimmel is Max Fever the Pixie Prince and model Katie Green is Alexa Harte. I see model Anderson Dornelles as Olivier Wilde. Actress Rachel McAdams is Dante DeAmbrose and model Rafael Lazzini is Roman Wulf.
Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?
I recently won third place in a Halloween Flash Fiction contest sponsored by the Seven Wicked Writers. The five finalists were judged by the publisher of eXtasy books who then actually invited all five of us to submit to her a finished project based on the flash fiction. I’ve also won some writing contests on writer websites and message boards.
Do you think you have specific themes you continue to return to? If so what are they?
I’m a cougar, so I tend to lean toward cougar themes. I also have a tendency to go for stories where someone has lost their mate or lost a lot in their life, characters with a despair so great it’s almost ingrained, who find love and have their life renewed by it. The only other theme I can think of that I tend to favor is the one of lost love that’s found again.
What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?
My teenage daughter Nikki. Recently, she got a job as an internet DJ (Stikki Nikki at Outlaw Radion on fubar.com) and it’s been really awesome watching her blossom and learn responsibility.
Do you characterize by observation or introspection?
Both. It’s different for each character. Some are better described by their own thoughts. A character like Maris in Silver Lining is a creature of introspection. She holds her cards, her heart, her soul, close to her chest and doesn’t reveal things to others. The only way a reader gets to know her is through her own thoughts. A character like Declan Antaeus in Shifting Winds is deep, but he’s basically WYSIWYG. He’s outgoing and charming, intelligent and deeply committed to his family, an honor bound man who isn’t afraid to show his emotions. A character like that is often better described by the other characters.
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?
My favorite author changes all the time. Currently, I have to read ANYTHING by Jennifer McKenzie/Jennifer Leeland. I love Jen’s writing. Of course, when she’s writing on my blog that I’m brilliant, I love that the most. Just kidding. Hee hee. I think I really love her characters from Asberek. They are people you can identify with. She really gets under their skin and shows the reader who they are. I love a writer who can do that. My favorite genre is paranormal romance. Anything with vamps usually. I love those biters!
Have you seen those ‘author’s cave’ photos that show the office/study/corner of the table where famous writers work?
What does yours look like? OMG. I don’t know if I could show it. I have a totally messy desk. It’s an old IKEA desk and the white paint is dirty and scuffed. I have soda cans, water bottles, and candy wrappers and coffee mugs as well as bills and little giraffes on it. Actually, there are a few photos of my desk on my Flickr account because the cats like to sleep on it and we’re always taking photos of them. I built my computer myself. I have a 19” LCD monitor that I love and a leather chair and a cool little foot rest. I’m comfy mostly but it’s a pigsty. LOL
Do you enjoy TV and movies? If so, what are your favorite shows/films? Do you find they inspire your writing?
I don’t watch much TV and I never go to the movies. I do watch CSI and I do a recap for a friend’s TV blog at snackiepoo.com/teevee. I also watch In Plain Sight. Other than that, I watch nothing but sports: horse racing on TVG and auto racing on SpeedChannel or ESPN. Sometimes I will see something that inspires me, but usually it’s people who inspire me, or something I’ve read.
Now, use this space to tell us more about yourself.
I’ve been on the internet since 1995. I’ve had winterheart.com about that long. I’m kind of a domain idiot. I have a bunch of them. Here’s a list of them:
Winterheart.com – My personal website under my longtime nickname Winterheart (long time as in 20+ years). Most of my friends call me Winter and have for more than 20 years.
Sunlightsucks.com – My personal blog where Winter bitches about life and posts hotties.
Lexvalentine.com – My official author website. You’ll find all the info about my writing and WIPs and trailers here. Also, I have a writer’s blog here. I post excerpts and talk about the craft of writing and all the attendant stuffs.
Rottnroll.com – This is my DH’s domain. Mostly it’s a showcase of the websites we’ve built over the years, and has info in case an author wants us to create a cover or a trailer for them.
Winterheart.com/thebar – This is the home of the The Bar story. The Bar is an online paranormal/urban fantasy serial story written by about 10 people from around the world, male and female alike. (The males are all hotties.) Anyone wishing to read the Bar or become a writer there can email me at winter at winterheart dot com.
Sociallydead.com – This is my daughter Nikki’s (aka Motley) blog.
Davestiara.com – We built this to post photos and stories about the tiara that belongs to Dave2 of blogography.com.
Greatplainsresidency.com – A site I built for a group of people from the horse racing game I play.
You can also find me on the web in these social networking places:
Facebook – winterheart
Yahoo Instant Messenger – knacwinterheart
Twitter – lexvalentine, winterheart
Brightkite – Winter
Flickr – Cemetery Winter
YouTube – lexvalentineauthor