Interview with Valerie Laws

Valerie Laws

Interview Date: 8/17/2012


Valerie Laws has written 11 books, 2 are ebooks, one of those, new comedy LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG is her first indie book. She also writes plays and science poetry. She’s a mathematician, physics and biomedical science fan, also swims and travels a lot. Famous for writing on live sheep and beach balls. Has performed work live and in media all over the world and been Writer In Residence at many strange and wonderful places, eg a pathology museum, brain institute, mind-altering herb garden, Egyptian hotel... loves new challenges and adventures!

Kev's response: Poor sheep. Did you shave them and then write on them?!

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Several things! I became world-infamous for spray-painting poetry on live sheep to celebrate the principles of Quantum Theory (‘Quantum Sheep - a haikewe’). I collect skulls. I own a human spine (apart from my own!). I love wildlife even when it’s afterwildlife (no animals are harmed...). I’m a Writer in Residence at a pathology museum full of human specimens and I’ve been involved in dissection classes.

Kev's response: OMG, I thought you were joking about writing on sheep. Soon, I expect a sheep uprising.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I’ve been writing since early childhood. I’ve been a full-time professional writer for about 12 years.

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonably powerful.)

To breathe underwater. I’m an obsessive swimmer and snorkeler in pools and oceans worldwide. I’d love to be able to swim under the oceans without having to breathe air.

Kev's response: That could be a ton of fun in a lot of warm water places, and imaging if you could handle the pressure (and see in the dark) to go down really deep?

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

I like Spiderman but I don’t like too much about father issues or angst, I like action in movies!

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

To answer all three of the above questions, ideas come to me from personal experience, listening to people, headlines, and they keep hanging about until I write them. I write when I’ve got something that needs saying and then I work hard at it. I find it easier writing to a deadline. I write to give a voice to people, things, ideas, to celebrate them or tell their stories or make people see them in a new way. I usually have an idea where a novel is going to go plot-wise, but I like the characters to lead me through the process. But I have to spend some time promoting my work and organising readings/events and tours and doing admin. I need a more slowly revolving planet to give me longer days!

Kev's response: But then gravity might decrease, and we might all fly off!! I'd love to find a way to not require sleep...

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I write novels: crime (THE ROTTING SPOT), and my new comedy cross-over LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG) and I also write plays for stage and radio, and poetry - often science poetry, or a mix of dark forensic science poetry and funny sex poems! I perform my work all over the world. I create sci-art poetry installations in or on unusual media for exhibitions, with new forms of poetry which move and change electronically or by sheep/beach balls in water, all sorts of new ideas. I read a lot of books, novels, and poetry. I love films and plays too.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Reaching an audience, making people laugh and cry. Hearing them do it when performing or when watching one of my plays. Having reactions to my novels online or at events. I often have Writer in Residence posts which are so interesting, you learn so much and meet so many cool people.

Kev's response: Sooo ... you tell a joke and then slap people? Oh, you mean by writing!

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Not really! Sometimes it’s frustrating but that’s part of the challenge.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I always have several projects on the go at any one time. Not just novels but all the other genres I write in.

Have you ever wondered why evil people want to take over the world. Why not take under it?

It always seems like a lot of bother to me! Why would they want to? Clearly evil goes with stupid!

Kev's response: Or just plain crazy. It seems like some people just feel a need to rule over others.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I have written both and I think both will thrive and survive. I don’t see it as a competition between them.

What are your current projects?

I’ve 11 books out, 2 of them ebooks as indies. I’m promoting my comedy cross-over LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG - THE REAL STORY OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE (kindle & smashwords, see links below) which has some great 5* reviews from respected authors. It’s Lydia Bennet’s shameless story and it’s in modern teen language though it’s set in 19th century. I wanted her to speak up for herself instead of being scorned by all the ‘good’ characters in Austen’s novel!
Also my 1st crime novel THE ROTTING SPOT is now on kindle as well as paperback. It has cover quotes from very successful crime writers. I’ve just finished writing my second crime novel THE OPERATOR but it’ll be a while before it’s published. I’m touring all over performing from my new book of ‘CSI:Poetry’, ALL THAT LIVES, which is being well received and a lot of my new poems are being published in various anthologies. I’ve an installation of animated poetry showing in a London exhibition and it’s going to a Berlin film festival later on.

Kev's response: Very cool. The mere mention of animated poetry makes one wonder what it involves! I put links to these two books at the top of this web page.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

It’s an extra option which is great! Spend a lot of time formatting exactly to suit the guidelines and take great care. Try other routes to publication too, agents, publishers, small indie publishers. It’s hard to edit yourself so get other people to read it who will tell you what’s wrong with it! Most books take a lot of rewriting and editing.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

My ebooks: LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG and The Rotting Spot are linked at the top of this interview. My own website is so do visit. I have a blog at which I’m going to be opening up to other authors soon. You can follow me on Twitter, @ValerieLaws and find me on Facebook too. Thanks Kevin for a great interview!

Kev's response: Valerie, thank you for joining me, and leave the poor sheep alone!

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