Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Val Tobin, age fifty-five.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have an eclectic education. I started with literature, psychology, and philosophy at the University of Waterloo and then went to DeVry Toronto for a diploma in Computer Information Systems.
After working in the computer industry as a software/web developer for ten years, during which time I also wrote for an on-line tech magazine, I became a Reiki Master/Teacher.
From there, I received my Angel Therapy Practitioner® certifications from Doreen Virtue in Kona, Hawaii. I also studied for and received a B. Sc. In Parapsychic Science from the Institute of Holistic Theology. Then I completed a master’s degree in Parapsychology.
Writing was always something I did, and I wrote for a variety of on-line publications. I also contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s book Angel Words, which was published by Hay House. In 2013 I published the first novel in the Valiant Chronicles series. I’ve written and published five more novels and some short stories since then.
I still live in Newmarket with my husband and cat, and enjoy spending time with my kids and grandkids.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have another novel in progress. It’s called Poison Pen. Here is a one-sentence summary: Three wannabe authors suffering from various mental disorders find love in unexpected places when they interfere in the investigation of a colleague’s murder.
I’m also working on turning my master’s thesis on the after-effects of near-death experience into a non-fiction book
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written. It was a natural progression from my love of reading.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, because I’ve always written. I didn’t consider myself an author until I had a few novels published. Weird, perhaps, but true.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a story inside that was busting to get out.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Experiencers is a reference to a term coined by Dr. John E. Mack, a leading researcher into UFOs and alien abductions. He used hypnosis to help abductees recall their experiences.
He preferred the term “experiencers” to “abductee” because he considered abductee to have too many negative connotations. Some contend that abductee is more appropriate since that’s what’s happening — the person has no choice when taken.
Some readers will recognize what’s behind the title while others will come to learn about it from reading the story. From there, readers can decide on which side of the debate they fall.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style flows naturally from my personality and the way I think. I write in numerous genres and don’t find any more difficult than the others. They all involve hard work.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Life influences art in whatever form of expression it takes, including writing. Some of my stories reflect incidents from my life. The Valiant Chronicles had a few true-story-based events in it.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes, I’ve travelled to some of the places I wrote about. It’s always better if I can see the places for myself. I’ve been to California, for example, which features in Injury. I’ve also spent a lot of time in Port Perry and Bancroft, which provide some of the settings in the Valiant Chronicles. For The Experiencers, I took time to explore Algonquin Park.Poison Pen is set in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’ve been there numerous times but will revisit it this fall to scope it out specifically for my story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Covers and Design did all my covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All my novels contain messages, but it’s up to readers to discern the message that pertains to them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Writers that have grabbed my interest lately include Eric Lahti, Norman Turrell, and Rebecca Bryn. My favourite writer has always been Tokien. Lately, I’ve been voraciously reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and Michael Connelly’s books. I’m also a huge Nora Roberts fan.
What strikes me about these works is the author’s style, the stories told, and the interesting characters moving the plot forward. All components work together to create stories I just can’t put down.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
An author friend mentored me through the process before I was first published. He’s a hybrid author who helped me a lot. I find other authors are wonderful for offering support and guidance. The Indie Author Support & Discussion group has been invaluable. So many awesome people in that group.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see writing as a life purpose.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The thing with electronic files is that you always have a do-over if you need it. Right now, I don’t see anything I’d want to change.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn something with every book I write. With Earthbound, my latest release (a prequel to The Experiencers), I explored the possibility that there’s an afterlife. Much of what I based the story on (exaggerated for added thrills, of course) came from my formal studies in parapsychic science, parapsychology, and other courses, as well as my experiences as an Angel Therapy Practitioner® and Reiki Master/Teacher. I’ve also participated in paranormal investigations in Canada and the US, which has given me a unique perspective on ghosts and paranormal events.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If the Valiant Chronicles were made into a film, I’d love to see Jensen Ackles or Misha Collins play Michael Valiant. Laura Prepon might make a great Carolyn.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
It’s always better to delay hitting “publish” than to find out you released a file full of errors. Before letting your manuscript out into the world, make sure you go through it even if you’ve had someone else proofread it. I’ve seen instances where an author relied on someone else to upload and publish, and the file contained formatting or technical errors. That’s not a good first impression to give new readers of your work.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and feedback.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lee Child’s Night School; Eric Lahti’s Henchmen; Why They Kill by Richard Rhodes; and The Mental Health Disorders Sourcebook edited by Karen Bellenir;
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading Dr. Seuss books and a book of stories written in Hungarian.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus, because he’d be cool to hang out and chat with.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading. Paranormal investigations. Travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like action movies, relationship movies, science fiction movies, shows about the paranormal, The X-Files, Supernatural, and some sitcoms shows. I really got into the show Grace and Frankie on Netflix.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Chocolate, yellow, rock and roll.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She’s watching you.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K
Thank you, Fiona, for the opportunity to share about my work.