Her first book, A DISH OF STONES began her career in fiction, delighting readers from all over the world. This inspirational story was followed by NOTES FROM RANDOM KNIGHT, a fantasy series beginning with NOTES ON A REBELLION and followed by A GIRL CALLED RANDOM. The third in the series, TIMESCAPE, will be released in 2016, as will the sequel to A DISH OF STONES, titled MEADOW'S END.
She has also released two romance novella series, NEVER LET ME GO in the 'Untamed Hearts Romance Series', and CHRISTMAS AT MISTLETOE ABBEY, in the 'Snuggle Up' Romance Series’.
You can find more information about Valentina and her books at the following sites!
Summary for NOTES ON A REBELLION ~ Volume I
In 2046, on an Earth ravaged by ‘The Warming’, the self-styled Lord Zacharias Azazel has exerted his repressive power over much of the mainland and installed his army, The Thayne in Castle Firamodor on the Island of Fae. Random Knight, a prisoner in one of the compounds prepares to take on a surprising adversary who tests her courage to the limit when she endeavours to save the exile community from certain starvation facilitated by a man she thought she knew.
The Warming continues to cause turmoil on Earth. Seeking vengeance against Random Knight and the exiles for taking his castle, power obsessed Zacharias Azazel enlists a grotesque accomplice, Chaos the Navigator, and his ghost ship, The Morvydd, to help him commit a crime that will make every parent tremble with fear. As Lord Azazel grooms the Scion of the Knights as his heir and prepares his soldiers to retake Castle Firamodor, Random and her companions run a gauntlet of obstacles in The Compendium, while Chaos forms Les Marionnettes, an army of children stolen from a century past and turned to stone. Set against a tale of sibling rivalry, time travel, and a war of angels between the Sachiel and the Marceline, past and future collide to create a heart-rending story of loss, discovery...and the most wonderful love of all.
Summary for TIMESCAPE (to be released) ~ Volume III
Random Knight, Ethan Smith and their friends cross a time slip…The Bridge of Withered Hands, from 2050 to 1888, and comb the rat infested streets of Victorian London, endeavouring to find Random’s half-brother, the tyrannical Lord Azazel. Determined to end his reign of terror, they realise this could be their last chance to secure a peaceful future for the exiles at Castle Firamodor on the Island of Fae. This dark story set against the crime-ridden streets of late 19th Century London unites favourite characters from the previous two volumes, and introduces new ones like Lazar, Marmalade Bonnefille and Orianne Degar, all with the same aim; that they will rid the world of Lord Zacharias Azazel.
Q&A with Valentina
The inspiration to write has always been with me, even when I was young. I just knew I wanted to be a writer. The urge to scribble down titles, plots, character names, and new worlds is always present, and for that I feel very lucky. I'm never lost for an idea. In fact, I have too many, if that's possible. Where readers have a long 'to read' list, (me included) I have a longer 'to write' list. At the moment I'm writing the next volume in THE NOTES FROM RANDOM KNIGHT series, and the next in the MEADOW'S END series. I've also outlined another novel, FINDING ELLIE. It's never ending, and I love it.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character in my fantasy series is the eponymous Random in NOTES FROM RANDOM KNIGHT. She's an ordinary girl called upon to do extraordinary things. She's loving, caring and very brave. Don't get me wrong. She's not perfect. She can be impatient, bossy, and her one-liners are very quick witted and feisty. I think it's why I like her so much, because she has flaws. Like us. She also has a great deal of determination in her soul, and she wants to do the right thing by the people she cares about.
What made you decide that you wanted to write in this genre?
My first novel wasn't in the fantasy genre. A DISH OF STONES is a family saga/romance. Random Knight from NOTES ON A REBELLION appeared in my mind's eye fully formed. She pushed me to write her story, and even though the fantasy genre was one I hadn't written in before I wanted to explore it and I'm so glad I did. Creating a fantasy world has opened up so many writing avenues for me, and helped me to develop my craft.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?
For A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, I carried out a lot of research which is something I take pleasure in, but my fondness for symbols, clues and puzzles leads me down all sorts of paths and I have to make sure I write the scene so it's enjoyable and easy to follow. These scenes are very difficult to write, simply because although we're in a fantasy world there must be a certain amount of adhering to basic principles , such as the Evil and Odious numbers I used for one of the obstacles Random must overcome in The Compendium. Yes, it makes for an exciting scene, but they're not easy to write.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?
I learned I have the stamina and the tenacity to keep going when it seemed like the end was so far away. This is writing. As the song says, if it gets tough, you keep going until you've accomplished what you set out to achieve. Never give up. Keep working.
If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
Before I wrote novels I was a copywriter, and I really enjoyed it because I met clients from all over the world. However, forensic science and criminal psychology interest me, and I've always had a hankering to own a bakery or a tearoom.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My family. They mean everything, but I've kind of accomplished what I set out to do, which is to write the stories I want to write. It's a personal thing I guess. I wanted to be a writer, and now...I am.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Well, anything by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Jane Ayre also had a very big effect on me. I love Adriana Trigiani's novels, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Narnia novels, Dan Brown because of symbols and puzzles, Enid Blyton, Memoirs of a Geisha, Lord of the Rings, J K Rowling and the Harry Potter books, A Woman of Substance...and lots and lots more.
What can we expect from you in the future?
When I've completed TIMESCAPE, which is the third volume in the NOTES FROM RANDOM KNIGHT series, and MEADOW'S END, the sequel to A DISH OF STONES, I'll write FINDING ELLIE. I'm planning another novel, SPILL, in the thriller genre, and another romance in my SNUGGLE UP series. Phew, I think that's enough to be going on with, but there's lots more I want to write.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I remember when I wrote my first book I was quite scared because it seemed such a mammoth undertaking. I knew what I wanted to write, and the emotions I wanted to convey. My advice would be, 'Have faith in yourself. Believe you can do it and you will. Don't give up, no matter what. Read loads, and remember every single word you type on the page is one word closer to the end. Good luck.