BBT: Hi, Valerie, Thank you for joining me for this interview. Please take a minute to introduce yourself and your books that are currently available.
Valerie: Thanks so much for inviting me, Trista! The past year has been quite exciting. My first book, CATNIP, was published in July, 2012, by That Right Publishing. CATNIP is a cozy mystery set in the fictitious town of Dunbarton, Ontario. Amanda Dunbar, matriarch of the Dunbar family the town is named after, flies in the face of reason and leaves the family fortune to her cat, Marmalade. The fur starts to fly when Christopher Mallory, lawyer and trustee to the cat, has to break the news to the rest of the family. The terms of the will state that if the family remains in the house and takes care of the feline heir, the money will ultimately pass to Amanda’s grand-daughter, Alicia. However, should anything happen to Marmalade that even hints at foul play, the estate will pass to the local animal shelter. When Maramalade disappears it is a race to locate him before Christopher and the family lose everything. The stakes are raised even higher when a murder occurs and they find themselves the prime suspects.
BBT: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Valerie: I always loved books and started writing when I was twelve. It was mysteries even then.
BBT: Is fiction the only genre you write in?
Valerie: At the present time, it is.
BBT: Do you have a specific writing style?
Valerie: I write cozy mysteries that have a touch of humour.
BBT: What are your current projects?
Valerie: I just sent my second novel to my publisher. It is called HORSE SENSE and it’s the second in the Dunbarton Mystery Series. Chris and Alicia travel to King Township to help their friend, dressage rider Alex Craig, who has just discovered she has been the victim of fraud and theft.
The third novel in the series, FROG LEGS, is in the planning stage.
BBT: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Valerie: Starting a new book is the hardest part. It isn’t getting the idea. I have lots of those. It is the knowledge of how all-consuming it is once it is begun. I have to keep pen and paper beside my bed and in the car because something will come to me and if it doesn’t get written down right away it can be lost.
BBT: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Valerie: Trying to get published can be a long and frustrating experience. Even the most successful of authors received many rejections before finding a publisher. The closing of submissions by most of the larger houses has increased the difficulty and finding an agent is a time-consuming and often fruitless pursuit. Despite all of this, it is possible to find a publisher. Make your manuscript the best it can possibly be and then get it out there. There are many new indie publishers who are accepting submissions without an agent. Don’t give up.
BBT: What genre do you most often read?
Valerie: As you can tell from my own books, I love mysteries. Some of my favourite mystery authors are Louise Penny, Kathy Reichs, Elizabeth Peters and Alan Bradley.
BBT: What book are you reading now?
Valerie: I’m reading Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs. It is a fascinating story involving archaeology and the discovery of Biblical era bones in Israel.
BBT: What would you say has had the most influence on your writing? (books, experiences, etc.)
Valerie: I believe that all of the books I have read over the years have influenced my writing style. While my books are fiction, many places and incidents that occur in the stories are based on things that have happened in my life.
BBT: Do you have a blog or website?
Valerie: I have a website. It is www.valerietate.weebly.com
BBT: Anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Valerie: I love hearing that someone has enjoyed my book. It is a thrill for me every time someone takes the time to write a review.
BBT: Thank you so much again, Valerie! I read most of CATNIP and really enjoyed it. I look forward to finishing reading it as well as to reading your other books. Readers, I highly recommend Miss Tate’s work. If you like to cozy up with a good, page turning mystery, you won’t want to miss CATNIP. You’ll find a link to purchase it, as well as an excerpt from the book on Valerie’s website, where you can also learn more about her and keep up with her upcoming novels.