Interview with Valerie Stocking, Author of The Promised Land
Valerie Stocking was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and wrote her first short story when she was five. When she was eight, she won a short story contest in Jack and Jill Magazine. She wrote her first play at the age of ten. In 1966, when she was twelve, she and her mother moved to a small town in Florida where they lived for a year. During this time, Valerie experienced difficulties with the public school system, tried a Seventh Day Adventist school briefly, and then dropped out altogether. It was her experiences during this year that inspired The Promised Land. Later, she would finish high school, graduate from college and earn a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies from NYU.
For nearly 30 years, she wrote and edited in various capacities, including copywriting, newspaper articles, and short stories. She wrote nearly 20 full-length and one act plays over a ten year period, which have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. She edited books for audio, abridging over 100 novels in a 6-year period. In 2010, she published her first novel, A Touch of Murder, which is the first of what will become the Samantha Kern mystery series. It was nominated for a Global eBook Award in 2011 for Best Mystery.
Valerie lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her dog and cat, and is working on her next novel.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! I was born in Waterbury Connecticut more years ago than I care to reveal. I’ve been an avid writer and reader from an early age. For more than 30 years, I’ve been involved with all different kinds of writing, and love it all! When did you begin writing?
When I was 5. My mother was a writer, and I used to read what she wrote on the sly. I was captivated with the idea of telling a story, so I dictated one called “Princess Blue Eyes” which my father dutifully took down. He seemed genuinely interested in it, and kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. I loved that I could hold somebody’s attention by telling stories. I was hooked! Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I write mostly during the day, although once in a while I get inspiration late at night and get up out of bed to write notes or a synopsis. What is this book about? The Promised Land is a coming of age story about an adolescent girl’s forbidden friendship with a biracial boy in a small Florida town in 1966.
What inspired you to write it?
I spent a memorable year in a small Florida town when I was 12. A lot happened to me that year, and I wanted to write about it, but I also wanted to address the racial tensions that were ongoing at that time. So I mixed fact with fiction, and that led to The Promised Land. Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I am not a member of a critique group at the moment. I have people whom I trust will be honest with me, and who are very experienced and capable critics. They read my work when I’m initially done with it and can’t figure out where to go next. Also, editors I’ve worked with have provided invaluable feedback. Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
No, and no. I prefer self-publishing. Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The easiest way is to go to Amazon and type my name in the search bar under “Books.” Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
My website is www.valeriestocking.com. I publish a blog twice weekly. Mondays is a potpourri of subjects, ranging from 1960’s Memories to Ghost Stories to a Writer’s Journal. Thursdays I am serializing a Samantha Kern mystery called Color Me Dead. What is up next for you?
Next is the sequel to my first Samantha Kern mystery, A Touch of Murder. The new one is called, Seen of the Crime. I have it done in draft form, but it still needs quite a bit of work. Then, I’m going to write a paranormal suspense novel. After that, either another Samantha Kern, or the sequel to The Promised Land. Is there anything you would like to add?
It’s been a pleasure being here. Thanks for having me!