Name – Val Tobin
Age – Fifty-three
Where are you from – Ontario, Canada
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
A Canadian who hates winters, I muddle through by spending as much time as possible snuggled up with a book.
I studied literature and philosophy at the University of Waterloo, then switched to computers and got a diploma in Computer Information Systems from DeVry. While I worked in the computer industry, I received a Bachelor of Science in Parapsychic Science from The American Institute of Holistic Theology (AIHT). I’m currently working on a thesis for a master’s in Parapsychology from AIHT.
During those years, I also became a Reiki Master/Teacher and an Angel Therapy Practitioner® with Advanced Standing trained by Doreen Virtue, PhD in Kona, Hawaii.
I have two kids and three grandkids, and live with my husband and cat.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My third book was recently published on Amazon. It’s a romantic suspense novel called Injury.
The one-sentence summary: A young actress at the height of her career has her personal life turned upside down when a horrifying family secret makes front-page news.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing fiction seriously in 2012. Before that, I had a lot of false starts or only focused on non-fiction. I contributed a story to the non-fiction Hay House book Angel Words by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, because I’ve always been writing something. But I didn’t consider myself an author until I published my first novel.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My fascination with UFOs inspired me to write my first novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing style is my written voice and reflects my personality.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title for my first novel by brainstorming on what and who the story was about. “Experiencer” was a term coined by Dr. John Mack to describe the UFO abductee experience in a non-threatening way. It’s controversial, and some abductees don’t like to use it. They prefer abductee, because they say it more realistically reflects what they endure.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The novel explores a number of themes, but I want my readers to take from it what they will and not what I dictate.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I hope not much of it is realistic or we’re in trouble.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A few of the experiences are based on true events, either from someone I know or on events in my own life. But most of it is pure fiction.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Lord of the Rings, Atlas Shrugged, Gone with the Wind, Watership Down, and so many other books I can’t list them all, have influenced my life. An author friend has helped me a lot and served as a mentor.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts, The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton, and A Whisper in the Shadows by Tom Falwell. Yes, I read multiple books at once. It’s a terrible habit, but I can’t stop. I squirrel books around the house and in my purse. Falwell’s book is the indie novel I’m reading on my computer.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently discovered Gillian Flynn, Michael Connelly, Jennifer Young, Tom Benson, and John Erwin. I’ve got a growing list of authors whose books I want to read, including Rhoda D’Ettore, Sharon Brownlie, Nico Laeser, Max Power, Silas Payton and many more. There are a lot of talented authors out there just waiting to be discovered.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on my fourth novel, Gillian’s Island. It’s a romance: A headstrong divorcee forced to sell her island home falls for the handsome and arrogant new owner.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, definitely. Whether it’ll be able to support me, I don’t know, but it’s what I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I like it the way it is.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My mother used to read us stories at home when we were kids, and my father would tell us a story at bedtime. It was always the same story, because he only had the one in his repertoire, but we didn’t care. I became fascinated by stories and wanted to create them myself.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Gillian’s Island is still in first draft, so it’s too raw to expose to the public, but I can share a bit of Injury, which was released in May:
Eyes closed, sheet covering her face, Daniella Grayson groped for the phone and dragged the receiver to her ear. “Hello?”
“This is Tobey Ames from TNN, Miss Grayson. Do you have any comment on last night’s arrest of your mother?”
Were she not so hung over, Dani would’ve bolted up. Instead, she drew her legs to her chest, assuming the fetal position. “No comment.” The hand that held the phone dropped to the bed. Thumb probing for the “End” button, she found it and disconnected the call.
The phone rang again as she contemplated whom to call first. This time, she let it go to voice-mail. The machine in the living room clicked on after the third ring. The message and beep played, and John Madden, her manager, came on, sounding intense. “Dani. Are you screening? Pick up. I’ve been getting calls about your mother … ”
Dani sat this time, resting her aching head on bent knees, and answered. “What’s going on, John? Tobey Ames just called, asking about my mother’s arrest.”
“I don’t know the details yet. They’re accusing your mother of killing your father twenty years ago. You would have been what, then? Five?”
Silence. Dani tried to understand what John was telling her. “My father left us when I was five.” Dani’s mouth went dry, and her hands and feet grew cold. “Lilli was a bitch from hell.” Nausea threatened and her spine prickled as she processed the awful news. Could it be possible? Oh, God. “She’s capable of it. If they’ve arrested her for killing Daddy, she probably did it.” An edge of hysteria had crept into her voice.
“Listen,” John said. “Don’t answer the phone or open the door until I get there. I’ll call the lawyer on my way over, and we’ll figure this thing out. There must be a mistake.”
Dani said goodbye to John and hung up the phone. She shivered as she slipped out from under the covers and got out of bed. A glance at the clock on her nightstand showed seven-twenty in the morning. No wonder she felt like shit—she’d just gotten into bed at four-thirty, helped up to her apartment once again by her trusty chauffeur, what’s his name? She always had trouble remembering. Oh, yeah, Cope.
Good looking as hell, but too young for Dani’s tastes, and her employee, so she barely gave him a second glance. But he was kind and helpful and made sure she got home safely no matter how drunk she was.
Dani grabbed her bathrobe and snuggled her naked body into the warm terry cloth. As she slid her feet into a pair of slippers, the phone rang again. She returned to her nightstand and disconnected the phone. It continued to ring in the living room until the machine kicked in.
She listened for the caller’s voice.
“Hello, Miss Grayson. It’s Mark Rutherford of ASN. John Madden suggested you give me an exclusive interview. I’d love to hear your side of the story. Please call me back at … ”
Dani shook her head in disgust while Rutherford recited his phone number. She pulled the plug on the living room phone as well. Anyone she’d want to talk to could call her cell.
She sank onto the couch, switched on the TV, and clicked over to the news channel. An eternity seemed to pass before the stories cycled to the one about her mother. Finally, the newscaster returned to the headline news.
A somber Toby Ames faced the camera, eyes filled with compassion. “Ms. Lillian Capshaw, mother of Oscar-nominated actress Daniella Grayson, was arrested last night in her apartment in Toronto on charges of first degree murder in the death of her husband Paul Grayson. Grayson’s skeletal remains were discovered yesterday morning in a capped well at a Sharon, Ontario residence once rented by the family. Ms. Capshaw was taken into custody late last night.”
Dani’s childhood home flashed on the screen behind the reporter. Plywood covered the windows, and two police cars sat in the driveway. Video footage of Dani appeared on the screen next, showing her exiting a limousine.
The newscaster continued in voiceover. “Miss Grayson, seen here arriving at the premiere of her movie, the Academy Award-winning best picture Injury, lives in Los Angeles and has not commented on last night’s events. We will update you as the story progresses.”
Dani flicked to a channel that focused more on entertainment news. After a few minutes, her photo appeared behind the news anchor, and he gave the same spiel as Ames had though without the premiere clip.
The footage then switched to a taped interview with Gregory Henderson, caught leaving a restaurant with a date. Dani swallowed past a lump in her throat and hugged herself, terrified of what Henderson might say.
Always an attention hog, Henderson leaned toward the female reporter and into the microphone. “No, I haven’t talked to Dani. She’s not speaking to me these days.”
Dani noted the slight slur in his speech. Henderson’s arm rested around the shoulders of a gorgeous blonde, who looked delighted to be with him, getting her fifteen minutes of fame.
“Did you meet Lilli Capshaw when you were dating Miss Grayson?”
“No ma’am.” Henderson swayed and steadied himself by leaning on his date. “Dani kept me all to herself.” He looked into the camera. “Call me, sweetheart. I’m here for you, baby.”
The date lost her look of delight.
After a few more inane questions from the reporter and more slurred responses from Henderson, the interview wrapped up.
What an ass. Dani switched off the television, recalling the premiere. She’d stepped out of the limousine and had smiled for the cameras while voices of people she didn’t know had cried out for her to look their way.
She hooked her arm through Greg Henderson’s and hoped her four-inch heels wouldn’t catch on the red carpet. “Greg,” she whispered, “don’t let go of my arm.”
He smiled at her. “Relax, baby. I’ve got you covered.”
Dani loved tall men. At five-foot-ten, she usually looked most men in the eyes—looked down on them, let’s be honest—especially in four-inch heels. Henderson was the perfect height for her, and their chemistry on screen and high-profile romance off screen had helped make Injury the hit of the season.
She tried to get in front of the cameras as much as possible and had worked hard at looking particularly stunning for that premiere. Her body-hugging gown had shown off her slender figure. She’d let her long, dark hair hang loose in a wild and carefree way that took hours with a curling iron to achieve.
Maybe my father is watching this, she’d thought, as she always did when she put herself on display in public. It’s why she put herself on display in public.
Daddy’s never seen me. All those times, I thought he’d see me and feel sorry he left us, and he wasn’t even alive.
The doorbell rang. John.
She unfurled from the couch and waited for him to enter. When the door didn’t open, she walked over, reached for the deadbolt, and then remembered John’s warning to not open the door. She checked the peephole. Nothing there. If that was John, he wouldn’t be hiding. She waited. The doorbell rang again, but whoever was there took pains not to be seen.
Dani left the door, went to her room, and opened her closet. There’ll be a media feeding frenzy. What am I going to wear?
Did it matter? Yes, she supposed it did, but it felt strange to know that her father wasn’t out there somewhere perhaps noticing her and thinking about contacting her.
At eighteen, she’d tried to find him, to ask him why he’d turned his back on her. She could understand that he’d want to escape controlling, abusive, obsessive Lilli. Dani herself had moved out of her mother’s home at sixteen. But Dani was a child when her dad had disappeared, and she’d taken the rejection and ensuing lack of contact personally.
The knocking on the door penetrated her thoughts. How’d that asshole get into the building? Multiple fists pounded the door, she realized. More than one asshole was out there in the hall stalking her. Then she heard voices arguing, demanding. She hopped back into bed, pulled the covers under her chin, and waited.
A key rattling in the door told her John had arrived. Dani sighed and slid out of bed. Peering out of her bedroom, she waited for him to step inside. John, handsome, rugged, older. But assertive, protective, kind. She itched to touch him.
Would he sleep with her now she was over twenty-one? It’d been five years since she’d tested those waters. When she’d first hired him to be her manager, she’d thrown herself at him.
She’d almost fired him when he’d rejected her, then had decided she didn’t give a shit after all. One by one, she’d seduced his associates, until she’d gotten it out of her system. The older men had been eager to accept the offer of her young body.
When John had complained, like he had any right to say anything about whom she fucked, she’d told him to butt out. He’d almost quit on her then, and she’d had to beg and plead and promise the moon to keep him as her manager. Fear of him abandoning her reined in her reckless, wanton behavior, and she’d battled to keep him in her life.
They’d had a holy alliance since then, focusing on her career, which had skyrocketed. She’d kept her attraction to him locked away, taking it out only in the darkest of nights when she took comfort from and pleasured herself on thoughts of him.
But now that ache for him was back, fierce, hot. Dani slid a hand down her robe and loosened the knot on the belt at her waist. The robe parted slightly, exposing her body in a thin, vertical line of curves and shadows. Her nipples hardened, and she parted her lips.
She tilted her head to the side and watched John struggle to shut the door as hands holding microphones jammed themselves into the opening, and voices shouted her name. John pushed against the door, and a man cried out in pain. The arms disappeared, and the door slammed shut.
“Don’t worry, Dani. I’ve alerted security. They’ll be gone soon,” John said, his back to her.
The normality of seeing him there shook her back to reality, and she closed the robe. When he turned to her, she faced him head on. “John.” Her voice caught in her throat, and his name came out low and throaty, but it was grief, not lust that did it. “What happened to my father?”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Fitting everything else I have to do in around it.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Tolkien. I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings when I was fourteen and have read it countless times since then. He has a clean style that’s captivating and emotionally moving.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, though I’d love to travel more.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Covers: http://paradoxbooktrailerproductions.blogspot.com.au/
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Killing my darlings.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
There are mistakes new writers make that are common, such as using filtering words like know, look, see, hear etc. You can pull the reader in by avoiding those in most cases.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Make sure you get an editor to review your work. Editors are gold.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my novels and giving me your feedback.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not a specific one, but the first books I read were Dr. Seuss books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband makes me laugh. He’s got a great sense of humour. My brother is pretty hilarious, too. Some of the terrible things I read in the news make me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Jesus. I have a lot of questions for him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t want a headstone. My husband can scatter my ashes somewhere.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
X-files was my favourite TV show. I also enjoyed Fringe, Breaking Bad, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, and Cheers. I’m watching all the X-Files again before the new episodes come out and Third Rock from the Sun on Netflix. I like action films, some comedies, classic films, and dramas. I love the Lord of the Rings movies, for the most part and the first three Bourne movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Hungarian food, Mexican food, and chocolate.
Yellow was always my favourite colour (you can tell I’m Canadian by the way I spell “colour” and “favourite”).
I prefer rock music to any other kind. I listen to Q107, a classic rock station.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was a software/web developer for ten years. I don’t want to do anything other than write.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is: http://www.serenitynowgifts.com/
My Amazon page is: http://www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/valtobinauthor
Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/valtobin