Welcome Valerie as she talks about Forever Under Blue Skies
When did you write your first book? Is it published?
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’m not sure how long it took, but I slogged away while teaching fulltime and raising two teenaged kids. Although I had participated in a few mini workshops, 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. My first sentence had three adjectives describing the weather!
Back to the basics. 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 decided to go back to my first. Oh, my. I read my printed copy and was embarrassed at my purple prose, head hopping etc., and understood why the novel was not an instant hit at Mt. Hermon. But I stuck with the basic premise and found that my original research from library books was spot-on as compared to recent internet information and details gathered when my husband and I visited Australia.
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, even down to the bullnose roofs. I didn’t have to change much in that respect, although I completely revamped my plot. As far as the time period goes, I kept the story set in 1983 as the Australian Government changed their immigration laws in 1985. My story as written now, couldn’t take place after those laws were enacted.
I relied on details from my great-great-grandparents’ family tree for my story, even to using the town of Bendigo. Now, my family never lived on a sheep station, but that’s where the fiction part came in.
What was life like on a sheep station in 1983? Follow Marlow’s journey to find out.
What makes your main characters tick?
Marlow longs for close family ties. Her two goals for visiting Australia are all about family. First, to solve a mystery which has dogged her late husband’s ancestors for generations, and second, to trace her Australian-born mother’s family. Her tragic past leaves her vulnerable to self-doubt, so she has to fulfill her quests to prove to herself she is capable and can make sound choices.
Jake’s main goal is to shield his young daughter from further hurt. Her mother passed away four years ago, then Jake was foolish enough to succumb to an engagement that proved disastrous. Although he longs for a loving relationship like he shared with his wife, he is wary of any women who tries to enter his life.
Are you working on your next project?
My next novel is titled Justice at Dawn. Although I have completed the book and have signed a contract, I don’t have a publishing date yet. I’m still waiting on the final edits, so in a sense, I’m still working on it. Justice at Dawn is the final novel in my trilogy, Stolen Lives.
I created an agency called International Retrieval Organization, a super-duper detective agency of sorts. That’s one thing I love about writing fiction—I can give my agents unlimited resources. Weep In the Night is the first in the series. Bowen, an IRO agent, protects Sadie whose identity has been compromised. Lela, an agent mentioned in that book is the star in the second of the series, Day of reckoning. While Lela solves a major kidnapping case, she introduces us to Cooper.
Agent Cooper becomes the lead in Justice at Dawn. He has been an IRO operative for fifteen years. In all that time he has never worked with a trainee like Kitty Claire Briggs. Overflowing with energy, KC isn’t quiet long enough for him to think.
I’m looking forward to readers discovering how Cooper deals with his new trainee.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Three years ago, my husband and I retired to the Pacific Northwest. Our home is situated on a bay, and from our side-by-side desks we have a view of the water, tree-covered bluffs, and the ship lanes from Seattle to the ocean. When I am not working on my novels, I edit my husband’s non-fiction books. His eleventh book has just been published. I volunteer for several organizations in our little community. My duties include preparing meals, organizing, and editing articles for a local publication. Glenn and I enjoy traveling and are exploring our new state. I love to read fellow Christian authors’ romantic suspense novels.
Thank you for being on the blog today, Valerie.
Readers, if you would like to learn more about Valerie, you can find her on her website HERE
Or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ValerieMasseyGoree
If you would like to purchase her book, you may do so HERE