Alderslay #Alderslay – Val Portelli @vals_tales @ValPortelli , an #Interview #QandA

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –


Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Val Portelli, author of ‘Alderslay’, to promote her book!
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

The author’s pen name Voinks began as a joke, but was the obvious choice when her first book was published. Despite aged nine, receiving an initial rejection letter from a lovely editor at a well-known Women’s magazine, she continued writing intermittently until a freak accident left her housebound and going stir crazy. The completion and publication of her first full length novel helped to save her sanity during those difficult times.
A second traditionally published book gave her the confidence and experience to self-publish, dropping her pen name along the way when she realised that, although unique, it was not particularly memorable.
Her work now includes four contributions to anthologies, and seven published books including one co-written, as well as numerous short stories for her web site, blog and Facebook author pages. Although her novels tend towards modern fiction, her short stories cover various genres including her trademark ‘Quirky’ twist.
She is always delighted to receive reviews as they encourage sales, which contribute towards the upkeep of the Unicorns she breeds in her spare time.

Amazon Author Page
Facebook Voinks Author Page / Val’s Tales
Quirky Unicorn Website 

Val’s Tales
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts
Amazon Music

Synopsis :

51kAvwiIUPLAn old house. A new start. Ancient secrets.
When Gina stumbles across the remote, dilapidated mansion she’s convinced it will make the perfect home for when she and her fiancé Paul settle down together.
At first he supports the venture, but his frequent absences are a cause for concern, especially when the renovations reveal skeletons from the past.
Is local man Steve a prospective business partner or looking for something more?
Why are the normally reticent villagers prepared to accept her as one of their own?
As more uncanny coincidences link Gina to the gruesome history of the house, she must decide where her future lies, and if she is prepared to pay the final price.


Q&A :


First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My very first rejection letter was when I was aged about 9 or 10 and submitted a short story to a well known women’s magazine. Thinking about it now, it was amazing the editor took time out of her busy life to send a hand-written letter to encourage a naive child. Fast forward more than 40 years and I had a manic, full time job, hectic socal life and then out of the blue, a freak accident left me hospitalised, then bedbound for a year. It did give me time to complete my first novel and I haven’t looked back since.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I won a school prize of a book token and chose ‘Airs above the ground.’ It’s still on my bookshelf along with White Fang. For GCE ‘O’ level we read a book called 20th Century short stories, including one entitled ‘The Machine Stops’ which in view of the virus is totally relevant today. There are plenty of others, and although I pretend to be grown up, I’m actually quite happy reading books intended for any age group.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Every writer is individual although chatting to Shakespeare might be fun if I could understand his flowery prose. I have a few close author friends whose opinions I respect and we do brainstorm sticky patches and share ideas, but at the end of the day each writer is an individual and must find their own voice.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
This would probably be ‘Reno’ from Summer Changes, Winter Tears. The good thing about fictional characters is you can let your imagination run wild, and in many ways he would be my perfect partner. Tall, dark and handsome, kind and gentle but with a slightly wild streak, the invitation might include more than tea- he could get cake as well. 😀

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
It depends whether I’m writing a book, short story or blog post. An endless supply of black coffee during the day with the occassional chocolate and/or alcohol in the early hours. I used to keep a kettle on the desk next to me but realised having to get up and go to the kitchen forced me to take a break. Late at night I might play the odd online game, or check out social media to give my brain a change of pace before tackling editing or writing the next chapter.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Everywhere and definitely. 😀 Anything can trigger a thought process and someone might not realise a chance remark could end up with them featuring in my next story.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Pantser all the way. When I start writing the characters take over and I just follow their instructions. I’m often surprised at the way a story or book turns out.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Your first attempt will probably be rubbish but you can’t improve it until you have it written down (or saved on disk.)
Read as much as you can, take advantage of all the free instruction and training on the Internet and never stop learning.
When submitting your work, look through it in different formats such as printed out, on a phone, on a laptop or tablet, which helps to pick up typos and other errors. Changing the font and size can show up what you’ve actually written, rather than what you think you’ve written.
Stock up with chocolate, tissues and champagne to cover all eventualities but never give up.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To complete and publish the follow-ups to two of my existing books, and to actually set a proper marketing plan in place to get them better known. Publicity is not something I enjoy doing, so although I know a lot of the theory, in practice I scatter a few links in the hope they will stick, and retreat back to writing.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

The parchment was fragile and obviously very old, borne out by the dates on some of the documents. These appeared to be original deeds relating to the legal transfers of the property, death certificates and sale contracts, including legal restrictions imposed on the purchasers of the estate over the years. Laying these to one side to examine in more detail later, I discovered what appeared to be a series of journals written in an old fashioned, hard to read script.
Before I had a chance to scrutinise them, my attention was caught by a bundle of faded photographs. Several showed what was presumably the squire, resplendent in hunting attire and surrounded by magnificent horses and a pack of hounds, formal family photos with the lord, ladies in long ball gowns and coiffured hair styles, and women who from their dress were servant girls.
One looked familiar, and using a magnifying glass I examined it in more detail. Apart from the clothes I could have been looking in a mirror; the face looking back at me was my own.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Val Portelli.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

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