|Today’s author interview is with the talented Val Tobin, author of The Experiencers, The Valiant Chronicles, and Gillian’s Island.
Please welcome Val Tobin to XterraWeb’s Author Interview Series. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.
Before we get started, we would like to thank Val for taking the time to give us this interview.
Amor Libris: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Val Tobin: I have a diploma in computer information systems and ten years of industry experience doing software and web development. That satisfied the left brain part of me. However, I’ve always had a fascination for the paranormal, philosophical, theological, and spiritual.
In October of 2004, I became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. I went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Parapsychic Science from The American Institute of Holistic Theology in 2007 and then a Master’s in Parapsychology in 2016. During that time, I also went to Kona, Hawaii to study under Doreen Virtue and completed both the Angel Therapy Practitioner ® training and Advanced ATP ® training.
I’ve participated in paranormal investigations in the US and Canada.
I draw on all of that in my writing.
Throughout my life, I wrote whenever I could, but I only published non-fiction articles. I wrote for Community MX and other online publications. I have a story published in Angel Words, a Hay House book by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue.
My dream was always to write a novel, and in 2012, circumstances allowed me to write The Experiencers. Since then, I’ve been publishing one or two novels a year.
Amor Libris: What is your favorite motivational phrase, and why?
Val Tobin: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
That quote resonates with me because creative people live in their own worlds, as I always have. When I was a child, I was accused of daydreaming, being over-sensitive, and being odd. Pursuing education in a field that explores the metaphysical reinforces that reputation.
I once woke up in the early morning to find a man standing next to my bed. At first, I was terrified that someone had broken into the house. When I realized I could see through him, I relaxed. It was only a spirit. Many would believe I was dreaming or hallucinating, but that’s just another version of hearing what others might not—in this case, it was seeing what others might not.
Amor Libris: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Val Tobin: Read. I read like a fiend.
Amor Libris: What books and/or authors have influenced you the most?
Val Tobin: Authors: Margaret Atwood, Nora Roberts, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Marion Zimmer Bradley, George R. R. Martin, Ayn Rand, Stephen King. There are too many to list them all.
Books: The Lord of the Rings, Watership Down, Duncton Wood, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Gone with the Wind, A Handmaid’s Tale, Rebecca, Atlas Shrugged, A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables. Again, there are too many to list them all.
I’ve listed some children’s novels, because they influenced my evolution as a person and as a writer.
Amor Libris: Are there any new authors who have caught your attention?
Val Tobin: Some authors who recently caught my attention (so, new to me, not necessarily to the writing world) include Nora Roberts—yes, I only discovered Nora Roberts in the last couple of years—Michael Connelly, Lee Child (also discovered in the last year or two), Gillian Flynn, and Jodi Picoult.
As well, I’ve got some indie authors on my list of new author gems: Nico Laeser, Rebecca Bryn, Alan Annand, Jennifer Young, Janet Cameron, John Erwin, and too many more to name. Most of the indie authors I read can be found on the IASD website or on Your Next Favorite Author.
Rebecca Bryn I discovered when I beta read her current WIP (Work in Progress). She posted on Facebook that she required beta readers, and I volunteered because her story sounded interesting. It was based on a true story and is historical fiction. Her style is riveting.
I became interested in Nico Laeser’s work the same way.
Amor Libris: Can you share the title and blurb of your latest book?
Val Tobin: Earthbound is my current WIP (Work in Progress). It’s a prequel to The Experiencers and part of The Valiant Chronicles series.
Jayden McQueen is dead. However, that’s the least of her worries. Turns out, she’s a murder victim, and nobody knows it but her.
Who killed her? Why? How?
In her quest to find answers, Jayden sets in motion events that propel humanity toward a future already written. But just because events appear inevitable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight them. Does it?
Amor Libris: Who is your favorite character from your latest book, and why?
Val Tobin: Jayden McQueen stole my heart. She’s scrappy and saucy and relatable. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to attend my own funeral. I explore that through Jayden.
Amor Libris: Are any of the characters and/or experiences in your books based upon yourself or someone you know?
Val Tobin: Arnie Griffen, from The Valiant Chronicles, is a composite of two guys I knew years ago. Gillian Foster from Gillian’s Island is an introvert, as am I, so in that way, you can say her character is based on me. However, my characters are a construct of the story world. They evolve based on their family history and environment, not on what I steal from reality.
The experiences in my novels do at times draw on real-life experiences, particularly The Experiencers.
Michael’s “dream” of Jessica reflects an experience someone I know had, as does Carolyn’s encounter with a UFO in the school yard. Carolyn’s visit from someone in the spirit world when she’s sitting on her back deck reflects the incident of the spirit that I mentioned above. Her method of picking up psychic messages reflects my own, though she’s much more psychic than I’ll ever be.
Amor Libris: Can you share with us about what you are working on now or your next project?
Val Tobin: My next project will be a contribution to the About Three Authors series of books available on Amazon. So far, there are two published works in the series, Whoever Said Love Was Easy? by Patti Roberts and Stolen Hearts & Muddy Pawprints by Georgina Ramsey.
My contribution, Out There, follows three wannabe authors suffering from various mental disorders who find love in unexpected places when they interfere in the investigation of a colleague’s murder.
Amor Libris: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Val Tobin: Hire an editor. Mine have saved me from making some embarrassing errors public.
Amor Libris: How can we contact you and find out more about you and your books?
FB author page: www.facebook.com/valtobinauthor/
Amazon profile page: www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K/
Smashwords profile page: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/valtobin
Universal Links to Books:
The Experiencers: www.books2read.com/TheExperiencers
A Ring of Truth: www.books2read.com/ARingOfTruth
Gillian’s Island: www.books2read.com/gilliansisland
Storm Lake: www.books2read.com/stormlake
***** (5 stars) Well-written, unique twist on the paranormal with romance and motorcycles.
C.J. Pinard has a different take on the usual paranormal characters of vampires and succubi. I enjoyed the twist she created as it kept me wondering what exactly the paranormal characters were and what they were capable of.
Her skill in foreshadowing is remarkable and isn’t what I typically see. She sets readers up thinking one thing, subtly guides you to wonder if your thought process is right or wrong, and then hits you with the outcome when you least expect it. There are many unexpected twists in this book, not just with the story line, but also with the characters.
Soul Rebel is mainly Nolan’s story. He is a sweetheart, one of the good guys, and a hard worker. Who can resist a man like this who works with his hands and rides a motorcycle as hot as he is? Nolan has made plans for a life he has dreamed of for years, only to have his dreams shattered and his life turned into a nightmare (many times literally) by Eva.
Eva is definitely not the right woman for Nolan. To Eva, Nolan is more of a necessity than someone she wants or needs–it isn’t really Nolan she wants, but something he has. Eva will stop at nothing, not even stealing, to get what she wants, Despite not wanting and needing Nolan the way he wants a woman to want and need him, she doesn’t want anyone else to have Nolan, not even her twin sister Charity.
Charity and Eva may look similar, but their personalities are as different as night and day. Eva is dark, evil, and full of shadows. Charity is sweetness, kindness, caring, and light. She brightens the darkness creeping into Nolan’s life and does more for him than he expected or believes he deserves.
Soul Rebel is a well-written book, and Ms. Pinard does a wonderful job providing background information on characters without an information dump. I really enjoyed the way the characters cross each other’s paths in unexpected ways, yet the timing meshes well with the story line. There is nothing better than both you and the main character being surprised by a previously unknown fact about another character. By the end of the book, you are invested in the lives of the main characters. Even though you know the outcome to the question at the heart of the story line, you need to know what the future holds.
Is Nolan completely saved from the darkness? When Nolan acted on instinct, did he accidentally make a powerful enemy? Will the secrets of Archie and the Rebel Riders affect Nolan in the future? Will Eva seek revenge and come after Charity and Nolan?
This was a great start to a new series, and I can’t wait to read the next books, learn the answers to my questions and find out what the future holds for Nolan, Charity, Archie, and the Rebel Riders.