Today we are talking with Valerie Evans about her creative process. Valerie Evans is the author of the Anberlin Chronicles.
Valerie Evans has been writing since she was in middle school and started the first book of the Anberlin Chronicles back in 2012. All three parts were published earlier this year in a staggered timeline. She has always loved fantasy and bringing stories to life so she’s excited to share more stories from Anberlin as well as a new project involving werewolves.
So let’s get into the questions!
First, tell us about your book!
Kindred Spirit focuses on Aria Tate who is a witch that sees ghosts and lives in a very supernatural town. Vampires, werewolves, witches, an occasional demon, and the many unaware and aware humans call Anberlin home. The trouble starts when she saves an injured man’s life only to learn that he’s a hunter of people like her then worsens when her childhood imaginary friend, Faith, returns in adult form. Suddenly, the pranks of her childhood and Faith’s current behavior seem malicious and alienating which leads her to wonder if maybe it was more than just an overactive imagination and what Faith wants from her.
How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?
Funnily enough, a movie called Imaginary Friend starring Lacey Chabert started me on this path. It dealt with an imaginary friend coming back as an adult and her questioning her sanity. However, I was disappointed to learn it wasn’t supernatural so I began crafting a story of my own where it’s definitely supernatural but the what isn’t so obvious. Who better to draw things dark and malicious than a witch with some strange hobbies?
Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?
Aria Tate comes from a long line of witches but also has an unfortunate side effect of seeing ghosts. She runs a junk shop with her brother’s girlfriend and tries to be as normal as possible. While I didn’t have any particular real life person, her appearance as red hair and green eyes was inspired by my Irish ancestry. I translated my love of thrift stores and all things strange into creating her store.
Jeremy Hayes came from far too much Supernatural. The idea of hunting supernatural creatures intrigued me, but I also wanted to play with the idea of can people change when given all the facts? He grew up with a limited view of the supernatural then gets dumped into the middle of it by crossing paths with Aria. He’s forced to face supernatural creatures are more than he realized and begins to question if he can continue to kill them so indiscriminately.
What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?
In a lot of ways, Anberlin is like the town where I grew up. It’s small and everyone knows everyone. Strangers are rare and the businesses are locally owned. It’s a lot more interesting with its supernatural citizens, though!
Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?
It was originally intended to be a stand-alone novel except new questions arose. Hints were dropped, and I found myself learning more about where Aria’s magic came from. An event took an unexpected turn and gave me a chance to explore “magic comes at a price”. It wasn’t intended to have such a romance angle, but Jeremy and Aria’a chemistry popped up almost immediately so I had to explore it deeper.
What is your writing process like?
I’m an outline person, but I normally do it in chunks of 5-7 chapters with basics ideas or hints then write the meat of it freehand. I try not to edit as I go unless I left off unsure of a scene. I’ll sometimes write scenes out of order then have to find where they fit into the rest of the story.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I love the writing phase because I finally get to see all these choppy notes become a cohesive story. It always takes me fun, unexpected directions, too, so it’s like an adventure where you don’t have to leave the house.
What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?
The most difficult part was the confidence part because I’m overly critical. I’d had people praise my work in school assignments or writing fanfiction but making an entire world and characters of my own was new. I actually overcame it through conversation and a supportive network in my real life so I took the step to finish and publish.
Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?
I’ve read so many great authors but Holly Black started my fantasy obsession; however, I’ve shifted away from fairies to more mainstream fantasy species. A close friend and my sister inspired me, too, because both had early access to the first draft of Kindred Spirit and encouraged me to make that push toward self-publishing and getting my stories out. And the rest is history!
Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?
Write the story you want and be true to your own vision. Don’t be afraid to write something new and strange!
Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Valerie Evans, check out the links below!
Until next time,