I had the amazing pleasure of speaking with Valentina Heart about her latest releases. And because today is such a special day–happy Memorial Day!–she is giving away a copy of her ebook Two Hearts, One Voice (PDF, Epub). More information will be posted below!
E: First off thank you for speaking with me today. I’m super excited to find out about your writing process and what got you started as a writer. What exactly would you say is your inspiration? How did you get started writing m/m fiction?
V: Thank you for having me over, it’s a pleasure.
I’m not sure if it’s a standard answer authors usually give you, but for me everything is an inspiration. Sometimes it will be a song, other times a scene in a movie/TV show or even just a story that sticks with me. It has been known to strike at oddest times.
I suppose writing romance came with reading m/m. I was so into it when I first discovered there were books out there other than typical romantic paranormal stories, bits of the forbidden and just unusual. After that it was more of convincing myself I could do it.
E: I know when I write, I have a routine I go through. What kind of routine do you go through when writing? Any certain rituals that you perform or do you just jump right in? Do you listen to music when you write, and if so what kind?
V: Usually no. I have a story that keeps spinning round in my head and I have to sit and either write a short synopsis for it, or start on the first chapter before I can settle down. Lately it’s been a bit more controlled in a sense that I’ve started writing down chapters on paper in the hopes of following the story better and actually finishing a book.
As for music, there’s rarely anything specific. Sometimes I’ll just turn on VH1 for background noise or I’ll write in silence. I think there was only one instance where I was writing a short for Goodreads m/m group and the whole time had the same song on repeat.
E: You have a few fantasy-theme novels. One of them is the Mending the Rift series, which has a new book coming out, correct? Where did your idea for the series come from? Was there anything particular that inspired you to create Rin and Merin?
V: Yes, and I have a few SF stories in the works as well. It keeps pulling me back even when I think I’m done with genre for a while.
Two Hearts One Voice is the last in the series and it completes the story about Rin and Merin. With the two of them it was more of a feeling about the couple. I wanted a forced marriage and mpreg, the rest was all them. I think the first one was somewhat of a surprise. I finished it really quickly and the words just kept on coming. I guess I really had something to say there.
E: Mpreg is a tricky subject/genre. How do you go about handling the topic? Is there any advice you have for future writers who are interested in creating an mpreg-themed story?
V: Oh, I love mpreg. It’s a thing I can’t seem to shake, and I’ve read so many books with the subject I’m all but blushing. Considering that, I just had to sit down and get lost in my head for a bit until I decided on how I wanted to go about the subject. I’ve found that it’s really difficult to be unique when writing, because most of it has been done. Maybe not in a published story, but there’s plenty of fanfiction out there to stroke different tastes so I went the execution I haven’t read about before. I’ll probably put mpreg in more of my books. The Rift series was just the first.
I’m not sure how to give advice about creating an mpreg story. Some readers will say they don’t need details when it comes to pregnancy, others, like me, will tell you that we want the explanation behind it, more than just a happy baby in parent’s hands with the birth details blurred. But then again, when I read Twilight, I loved the books, even reread them. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t close to throwing the book against the wall when the sex scene (you know that really expected scene we’d all been waiting for through three books) had been glossed over. I think it’s pretty much the same as with any other subject – some readers will absolutely love it, while others will find plenty to object to.
E: Now in a discussion I had with you earlier, you mentioned your current project was an SF story. Can you tell us a little about that?
V: My current project isn’t the first SF story I’ve written, but it’s a first one set entirely in prison. I’ve probably always wanted to write something set in a prison, but contemporary just didn’t work for me and I’ve only recently settled on the right characters for this story. As always it’s a love story, with challenges and certain bleakness, but I’m focused more on the relationship between them rather than the surrounding story. We’ll see what happens.
E: What would you say is the most challenging part about writing a prison story?
V: Mistakes and writing out the depression. I’ve sort of avoided a part of that, but I’m still fearful of making mistakes.
E: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on that you want to share with your fans? Any new releases or future endeavors that we can look forward to?
V: After the last Rift book, my transgender story, Memories, is coming out. It’s a re-release but I’ve done a lot of changes to it. After that there’s another book in the Hope series. A bit of hockey nostalgia in that one.
As for the WIPs, I’m writing a couple of fantasy books. I’ve completely changed Battle of Hearts and will probably change more in it, plus I’m writing a prequel. And there is a sort of mob-contemporary and another SF I’ve started over a year ago but really want to finish at some point. I won’t go into all the sad others I just don’t have time for right now.
E: Lastly, do you have any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers? Any advice for aspiring writers who are trying to break into the market?
V: Pearls of wisdom? Um, no 😉 Maybe just a suggestion, to never be afraid of trying something new or unusual. Some of the best books/stories I’ve read were on the edge of being too much, outside of my comfort zone, but then ended up being one of my guilty pleasures. Life is just too short to limit yourself to only comfortable experiences.
And I guess I would say something similar to aspiring writers, you can’t succeed if you don’t try. It’s too easy to convince yourself that you’re not good enough or imaginative enough, but in the end, even if that IS true, we are not always the most objective when it comes to our own work. Give it a chance, let someone else judge your work for a bit and even if it fails, you aren’t likely to fall lower than your own self-doubts. The important thing is to try.
Giving birth had been a terrifying experience. Honestly, no words could ever explain the terror and the pain, the premature doubts of not being as good of a parent as your children deserve. Just the impossibility of ensuring their survival was defeating enough. It was best not to speak of everything else that accompanied the trauma.
Still, while my every insecurity had a base in reality, the first sight of my babies, the very realization that I was the one to bring them all to life was marked with immense pride and gratitude. They were there because Merin and I had made sure of it, because I had protected them in my body and because the two of us were calm and composed enough to keep our wits about us and control our magic to the very end.
All the pain, from the very birth to that of our situation before, when every member of our kingdom had had a say in our happiness, and when too many had plotted against us despite not always acting on it, was worth it. I had brought life into this world and nothing could compare with the happiness tingling deep in my chest.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valentina Heart lives in different locations in Split, at the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Like the directions of her stories, her life takes a new twist with every passing year, and she welcomes every single one.
As an avid reader for many years, she had a habit of mixing fiction with reality, until she realised she could simply breathe life to her characters and make them as real as they could get. From forever romantic to deeply troubled, they bring joy to their creator, just as they sometimes bring frustration with their naughty behaviour.
Kinky imagination aside, she enjoys music and movies just as much as reading, but give her summer all year round and she’ll be ready to free-climb, swim, or stretch in all those mind-stirring yoga positions.
Web page: http://www.heart-valentina.com
Facebook: Valentina Heart
Goodreads: Valentina Heart
Want to win a copy of Two Hearts, One Voice? Leave a comment with your e-mail address. Winner will be selected on Wednesday. The winner is selected randomly via random.org.