Thursday, November 19, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Valerie Massey Goree

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Valerie Massey Goree

Today, I am thrilled to feature Valerie Massey Goree. Not only is she an excellent writer, but a fantastic critique partner. My own books are better because of her insightful input. I had the privilege of reading Forever Under Blue Skies while it was a work-in-progress. Without further ado, listen in as she shares about her latest release.

LM: Welcome back, and thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of Forever Under Blue Skies. What was the inspiration for your story? 
VALERIE: First of all, thank you for hosting me, Linda. Forever Under Blue Skies is very close to my heart. It is based on the first novel I ever wrote, long before everyone had a computer. Not to give away my age, but I bought a word processor back then and decided to write a story using details of my mother’s family roots in Australia. I didn’t attend a full-fledged conference until my book was finished. I chose Mt. Hermon Writers Conference as the venue to present my masterpiece. Well, the multi-published author who gave me a critique said I had the bones of a good story, but I needed to learn a whole lot more about the craft of writing. I set aside that novel, but kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision. After publishing five novels with Parson Place Press and Pelican Book Group, I returned to my first and revamped the plot. 
LM: Research is a very important part of writing any book. What sort of research did you do for your story (especially in these days of lockdown), and was there any intriguing bit of information you knew you had to include? 
VALERIE: I did the original research a long time ago in the Dark Ages when we only had library
books! I grew up in Rhodesia, a former British Colony in central Africa, and I speculated that since Australia was also a former colony in the Southern Hemisphere, the architecture might be similar as well as the vernacular. I was right. My husband and I visited Australia and stayed on a sheep station, and I was able to confirm or adjust details in my story. One intriguing bit of information came from the grazier on the station we visited. We drove up to a waterhole, the sheep scattered and then we heard continuous bleating. He explained that each ewe and lamb have a unique cry. If they get separated, the ewe will call and her lamb will respond until they are united. 

LM: Born in South Africa, raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), you spent many years in the San Antonio, Texas area, and you now live in the Pacific Northwest—quite a mix! Why did you decide to relocate and what is it you love best about the northwest? 

VALERIE: Although I loved living in Texas, the heat and humidity were not my friends. When it came time for my husband to retire, we chose to move to a cooler climate. Our condo is right on the water, we don’t have air conditioning, and yet the highest temp I’ve recorded in our home is 78. Needless to say, I love the weather, even the gray skies, and the scenery. 
LM: How do you devise your characters? Are any based on you or people you know? 

VALERIE: Before I completely plot my story, I work on my characters’ profiles. I list traits I want them to possess, especially ones they’ll need to overcome trauma and succeed, and build a backstory to show how they landed in the present. I don’t base any character on someone I know, although I will incorporate a trait or two. 

LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process: research, writing, or revising? 

VALERIE: For the most part, revising is my favorite. The word and ideas are already down on paper, and I just need to polish or correct. 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Favorite season: Spring 

Favorite childhood book: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

Favorite place to visit: My husband and I have been blessed to visit many interesting places around the world. But as we get older and distance travel is harder, I’d say my favorite place is where our children and grandchildren live. 

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers? 

VALERIE: Don’t give up. Keep writing. Join a writers’ group where you can share ideas and receive constructive critiques. Read the genre you write. Then read some more. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 


About Forever Under Blue Skies:
Travel to Australia to solve a family mystery? Sure, Marlow could do that. But she didn’t take into consideration the vast outback, nor the owner of the sheep station. Widower, Jake Barclay, is everything her late husband was not—honorable, considerate, a pure gentleman. She came prepared with sunscreen, but hadn’t built a high enough screen around her heart. Jake was dubious about Marlow’s reason for visiting his station and thwarts her plan at every turn. Until he sees how she interacts with his vulnerable, young daughter. If they solve the coded message, can Marlow return to Texas, or will Jake offer her a forever home in the outback?

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