I’m interviewing Valerie C. Woods today, the author of “Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of J. Dyanne, Volume One”.
1) Please tell us about yourself.
Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, reading was one of my favorite pastimes. My elder sister was signed up to a children’s book club. With sibling rivalry being what it was, I had to sneak my sister’s books from their hiding place when she wasn’t looking! This may have had something to do with why I’ve become a storyteller.
My writing career began when, as a struggling actress in New York, I couldn’t find suitable audition material. This led me to writing a book of audition monologues, Something for Everyone (50 Original Monologues). The book was initially self-published and is now published by renowned theatrical play publisher, Samuel French, Inc.
After adapting an average play into a better screenplay, I was awarded a Walt Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and followed that up with writing and producing for television dramas and film. (www.VCWoods.com)
But fiction, my first love, kept whispering in my ear. I had always written bits of fiction, short stories and a little poetry here and there.
In November 2012, I founded a micro-press: BooksEndependent, LLC (www.BooksEndependent.com) to support my work and the work of other new, independent authors of fiction and non-fiction. The first title was my novella, I Believe… A Ghost Story for the Holidays.
2) Tell us about your book.
“Katrin’s Chronicles…” is told in the voice of 13-year-old Katrin DuBois, who is just entering high school and feels it’s never too soon to start an autobiography. A journalist for her school paper, she decides to set the record straight about the rumors concerning certain adventures that began when she was a kid in sixth grade. That’s when her elder sister, 8th grader J. Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary detecting skills, and emerging psychic abilities.
It takes place on the South Side of Chicago back in the year 1968, so there is a lot going on in the world, as well as in the lives of these two girls. They must learn to trust their instincts, their intuition, and their own intelligence, to solve the mysteries in their neighborhood.
It was during a lean period, financially, in my writing career and I didn’t have a birthday present for my older sister. She is a fan of my writing and is always nagging, oh, I mean encouraging, me to write more. So, I decided to write a little story about the two of us back when we were kids. I have a memory of a summer day when she decided we would have an adventure. My sister packed “providions” in a brown paper lunch bag and proceeded to lead me on a trek to distant lands. Our neighborhood street became a foreign metropolis. The vacant lot transformed into a desert where we found an oasis in which to rest and consume our rations. We are both avid mystery readers, and so it was fun to do a fictional turn on our lives, which evolved into our version of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, Chicago-style.
4) How many hours per week do you spend writing?
That’s not easy for me to calculate, as I don’t write on a daily or weekly schedule. I’m also a publisher and editor, so when I’m focused on writing I allow myself a timeframe for the project. Right now I’m working on a new novel and devote two days a week for writing and the rest of the week for publishing and editing. Once the first draft is complete, I’ll schedule a month or more dedicated to the re-write, while the business stuff takes a secondary position. When that happens, I like the nighttime for writing 4-5 hours and afternoons for review and re-writing for about 3 hours.
In alphabetical (first name) order: Alice Walker, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King
6) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on an adult contemporary novel that mixes mysticism with a murder mystery. That’s all I want to say about that for now. But I’ll definitely keep you posted!
About the Book
Author: Valerie C. Woods
Genre: Psychic Girl Detectives, Middle Grade
On the verge of entering high school, precociously eloquent 13 -year-old Katrin DuBois feels it’s never too soon to start an autobiography. She decides to set the record straight about the outrageous rumors concerning certain adventures that began when she was in sixth grade. That’s when her elder sister, 8th grader J. Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary detecting skills, and emerging psychic abilities.
Set during the latter half of 1968, these African-American tweens live in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. They manage to thrive in a world of social change with multi-generational family support, creative quick-thinking and fearless inquisitiveness. The dog days of August find them prohibited by their parents from visiting the Central Library downtown because of the riots during the Democratic Convention. However, there’s plenty of adventure in their own neighborhood as they become swept up in family mysteries, neighborhood political schemes and the discovery of a surprising legacy of psychic, even supernatural, talent.
Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, expands the girl detective genre to include these smart, sister sleuths.
An avid reader while growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Ms. Woods began writing when, as a struggling actress in New York, she couldn’t find suitable audition material for women of color. This led her to write a book of audition monologues, Something for Everyone (50 Original Monologues). The book was initially self-published and is now published by renowned theatrical play publisher, Samuel French, Inc. (http://www.VCWoods.com)
After adapting an average play into a better screenplay, Ms. Woods was awarded a Walt Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and followed that up with writing and producing on network and cable drama series such as Under One Roof, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Any Day Now and Soul Food.
But fiction, her first love, compelled her to enter the world of prose. She had always written bits of fiction, short stories and a little poetry here and there.
In November 2012, Ms. Woods founded a micro -press: BooksEndependent, LLC (http://www.BooksEndependent .com) to support her work and the work of other new, independent authors of fiction and non-fiction.
The first title was Ms. Woods’ novella, I Believe … A Ghost Story for the Holidays . (Amazon.com) Then, what began as a gift became her second publication.
Several years ago, needing a birthday present for her sister Ms. Woods wrote a short story about a girl detective — a highly fictionalized autobiography of the adventures she and her sister experienced in childhood. Another story was written for Christmas, then one for Mother’s Day. That’s when Ms. Woods realized she was writing the kind of novel she and her sister would have loved to read as children, but which didn’t exist – the adventures of African-American Girl Detectives!
The result, Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, Vol. 1 is now available in paperback and Kindle edition at Amazon.com.