My next interview comes courtesy of the ever colourful Valerie Baeza. An author, writer, copywriter, publicist & freelancer, Valerie has a multitude of irons in the fire, including the novel, “Story of My Life”, and often shines a unique glow across a variety of social media platforms. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, NM Film News, Instagram, Goodreads & her own website.
Hi Val, thanks for taking the time to have a chat! First & foremost, your website reads "Storytelling has always been a passion of mine, and to make a career out of it is my greatest dream". What's the core inspiration that led you to taking this path?
I want to go on a journey and read stories I’ve never seen before or experience a twist on the familiar. I want to cry, be angered and swept off my feet with characters that do and do not look like me. I want to see and feel it all in one book, and that’s what I strive to put on paper.
You're a native of New Mexico; how have your origins shaped your creative outlook & expression?
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, but I would call myself a New Mexican. I’ve lived here half of my life and I spent almost every school break here. The landscape and the big skies in this land of enchantment have inspired a lot of my work. Most of which haven’t been read by anyone except for my sister but they are being revealed in my poems. Ironically, the novel that I’ll publish this year takes place nowhere near New Mexico, being set in England. Nevertheless, New Mexico has shaped my outlook and creative expression. There are so many different walks of life here that I genuinely appreciate each of our individual distinctions, and it’s a personal standard to add diversity into my work.
Your latest project is called "Story of My Life"; tell me all about it!
“Story of My Life” is a novel about a love, loss and healing. Garence Leitner is a British travel writer who has lost the love of his life, Sabina. He’s in a very dark place in his life and he’s searching for the meaning of his despair through the hand written letters he exchanged with his wife. It has epic travel destinations, romantic love, unrequited love, death, and multiple points of view. “Story of My Life” is like a sunset: vibrant colors infused with intense emotions.
You were featured in 'New Mexico's Best Emerging Poets (2019)'; at what point did the magnitude of that achievement hit home?
It hit home when people told me they purchased the anthology and then again when I received pictures of them holding the book open to one of my poems. That was insane and extremely humbling. I still can’t believe it. Imagine when “Story of My Life” is published?
Which of your own poems have been your favourite so far?
“The Embers” and “Favored Words” are at the top of my list.
“The Embers” represents the infinity of love and passion. A spark between two people until their parting as well as the constant flickering in other couples.
“Favored Words” references all those words spoken when you’re with someone intimately. That which is spoken because of a physical and/or emotional connection.
These are at the top of my list because they allow the reader to fill in their own story.
Some trivial questions; Favourite author? Favourite poet? Favourite book? Favourite poem?
My favorite book is “Dark Matter”, a thriller by Blake Crouch. I connected with Jason Dessen’s need to get back to his wife and son while traveling through multi-verses and literally battling himself.
My favorite poem is by my favorite poet, Sean Patrick (aka Wisp of Words). He’s local and the poem is called “Every Second Counts”, which is also featured in ‘New Mexico's Best Emerging Poets (2019)’. The way it’s written is impactful and the point that we and our actions define time is mind-blowing.
Elsewhere, you're the publicist for "Crankey Village, New Mexico"; tell us about your experiences there.
“Crankey Village, New Mexico” is an upcoming sitcom about the zany life in a retirement community. It’s a fun and unique experience being on set, meeting the wonderful people involved in the project and promoting it. I have the privilege of championing New Mexico artists by posting about it on social media. Artists helping artists. I love it!
What advice would you give to aspiring publicists?
Work with people with whom you share a mutual respect and admiration for and you can have fun with. Nothing is worth doing if those three boxes aren’t checked.
You have a plethora of ambitions regarding your writing career; where do you hope to be as a writer come the end of the 2020s?
Wow, what am I going to accomplish by the end of this decade?
For starters, getting “Story of My Life” published is my number one goal in 2020. That means completing the edits that are currently underway followed by copy and proofreading edits before I tackle self-publishing— a world I have never delved into. Second, I am going to complete the first draft of my next WIP and have it edited.
Having said that, by the end of the decade I will have completed several novels, adapted them for the screen while meeting readers from around the world who connect with them.
Finally, what advice & words of wisdom do you offer to people who want to write but are reluctant to even begin?
My offering is to write what you love, start with an idea then flesh it out.
What do you want to write about? Who is in the story? To help yourself with each scene and chapter, ask yourself questions. What are your character’s motives and fears? What’s at stake and what stands in their way? Ask your characters these questions, fill in the gaps one sentence at a time and follow the trail. Start with an idea and enjoy the discovery.
Thank you for having me on your blog, Sean. This was a real treat.