Interview with Val Tobin

Published 2014-02-11.
Describe your desk
It's an organized mess. A row of books on writing and on a variety of supernatural topics sits directly behind my laptop--grist for the mill. Meditation music CDs I play when I need inspiration help tease the muse out of hiding. I keep magazines and brochures on research topics near at hand, so they tend to get stacked up in piles on and around my desk. My travel mug of coffee or tea is always within reach, and so is my glass bottle of water. Then, for atmosphere, I have candles (never light them), crystal skulls, yarrow sticks in a jar (don't ask), a slinky, a box of vitamins, a box of my favourite snacks, and photos of my friends and family.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North York, Ontario. In Ontario, the weather affects a lot of what you do. It can change or kill plans, especially in winter. People focus on it. Weather and climate play an important role in my stories.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was a child, around six or seven. But I kept it to myself. I started sharing when I was in my thirties, but only non-fiction. Fiction has always been my first love, though, but it's taken half a century for me to allow it to manifest.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Creative control. Advice from other authors.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Losing myself in the story world. Living with my characters--even the evil ones. It's a great way to explore concepts, to delve into ulterior motives and contemplate what drives people.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's wonderful to have people resonate with what I write. It's like having a bunch of people who vibrate on your wavelength. Fans are the rewards for sharing your writing. Without fans, you may as well leave it in the desk drawer and just take it out when you feel like rereading it. But that's hiding your light under a bushel. If even one person enjoys my stories, then it's worth sharing them.
What are you working on next?
The sequel to "The Experiencers." It's called "In the Valley of the Headless Men," and takes the main characters further along on their respective journeys.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King; J. R. R. Tolkien; Margaret Atwood; Anne Rice; Ayn Rand; Richard Adams; George R. R. Martin--too many to list.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My cat. He's a determined bugger when he wants to be fed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading. Spending time with my friends, kids, and grandkids. Working on various projects, such as completing my masters degree.
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