Before I introduce today’s special guest, I’d like to announce the winner of our giveaway of Lisa Mantchev’s Eyes Like Stars ARC! There were some good entries, but the winner is….. Heidi2524! Congratulations, Heidi! If you’ll drop me an email with your mailing address, we’ll get your book right out to you.
Today we’re talking with Valerie Griswold-Ford, writer and editor. Val contributed a chapter The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, co-edited The Fantasy Writer’s Companion and edited The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy Volume 3: The Author’s Grimoire. Her debut novel, Not Your Father’s Horseman, a dark fantasy take on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, came out from Dragon Moon Press in July 2005, and the sequel, Dark Moon Seasons, is available now in stores.
I met Val at RavenCon this spring, when we were both assigned to a mysterious panel on teaching people to blog. We only had one student, but we had a great time getting to know each other, and I know you’ll love getting to know her, too! So without further ado – meet Val!
1. You’re a writer and an editor – which came first? What do you love most about being each of them?
I’ve always been a writer. Well, actually, I’ve always been a storyteller. I wrote my first book at age 7. I didn’t start editing until college.
What do I love about each? Hmm. I love the characters and discovering all there is to know about them as I write. Writing takes me all over the world and beyond. I love the creation aspects of everything. But editing lets me see what other authors do, and that’s not only fun, it’s highly educational. And of course, I get to see all sorts of writing before anyone else.
2. Writers seem to have their own quirks about their process. Do you have any unusual habits or superstitions about your own?
It used to be that I couldn’t write without a cold Pepsi at my elbow, but I’ve given up soda, so now it’s a hot cup of tea and a lit candle. And music. I have playlists for all my novels/novellas, and it keeps me in the mood of the world I’m creating.
3. We met at Ravencon, which was a pretty fair distance from your home in New England. What do you like about travelling? Where would you like to go that you haven’t been yet?
I love to travel! I get that from my dad – we’ve got wandering feet. To me, every time I leave home, it’s an adventure, and I adore adventures. Besides, I get all sorts of story ideas every time I travel. I’d love to do a con in England/Scotland/Ireland. I’ve never been overseas, and I really want to travel to the Old Country, as my grandmother called it.
4. Speaking of cons, do you attend many of them each year? What are some of your favorite cons? What would be your perfect panel choice?
I don’t do many (darn economy!), but I’m gradually expanding my con circuit. Right now, I do RavenCon, SnowCon (in Bangor in January), NEGACon (in Farmington, ME in August) and I’m planning on CapClave in October. I’ve done StellarCon in the past, but Raven is hands down my favorite right now. It’s just small enough to be fun, but large enough to attract some really good talent! Hmm, perfect panel choice? I dunno, there’s so many! I love to talk about story and mythology, though, so my perfect panel would have to include both of those.
5. Who are your favorite authors? How has their work affected your own? What are you reading these days?
My favorite authors are a mixed bag – I do a LOT of reading in a lot of genres. My favorites shelf includes: Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, CE Murphy, HP Lovecraft, Hans Holzer, Randall Garrett, Anne McCaffrey, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Katherine Kurtz and Diane Mott Davidson at the moment, but there are some that cycle in and out. I love Jacqueline Carey and Lynn Flewelling, but I’m woefully behind on their stuff, and I need to get back into the Dresden Files (I read the first one and then got distracted). I’m also reading the Adam Dagelish mysteries right now. I’m terribly addicted to British mysteries. I adore them, because they all seem to be so character-driven, and that’s how I am in my writing. I’d love to write a mystery, but I’m not sure I can pull it off yet. Maybe at some point. On my nightstand right now is Mainspring by Jay Lake, The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines, The Haunted Looking Glass (Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey) and the latest issues of Bon Appetit and Better Homes & Gardens.
6. So what’s on your horizon?
Well, I’m editing this little anthology of magical pirate stories for next year… *grin* I’m also working on Last Rites, the final Dark Horseman book, and promoting Dark Moon Seasons, which just came out. I’m working on a novella that I’d love to sell to Nocturne Bites, about a love that literally never dies, and I’m shopping an urban fantasy called Belladonna Dreams.