|Tell us a little bit about you, your writing, personal experience, anything for us to get to know you as an author a lot more. We also need a photo for when I post the interview.
Kyleen Valleaux, operating under a far more mundane pseudonym the real world, pays her bills by working as telecommunications professional. She has been writing stories since the fourth grade when she entered the Caldeberry writing contest and got bit by the bug. Kyleen is a lifelong reader and avid comic book collector. Her first job was working in a used book and comic store. In college, she navigated her way to a Bachelors of Science in English (no, that is not a typo- degree programs are weird) and then continued work professionally as a graphic designer for many years. During this period she a very active and tight-knit roleplaying forum that is still active over twenty years later.
There has never been a time in Kyleen’s adult life when she hasn’t been writing.
Kyleen’s currently published work is a web serial, that is free to read at www.garlontzen.com, a space opera fantasy that has been inspired by too many years of reading Japanese manga and anime. The first serialized book is going to be available on Amazon by June of 2016. Her next book, planned for this fall, is the first of a multipart urban fantasy series “Dragon’s of the Thaumaturgic Realm.”
She has a twenty-three-year-old daughter who is now the adult supervision in the house and is owned by two German Shepherd Dogs and one elderly cat.
What books have most influenced your life most and how?
That is a really hard question! I’ve read so many, and taken their stories to heart, it’s hard to say. When I started collecting comic books at eleven, my mom told me I had to buy one “real” book with my comics. I found my way to the science fiction and fantasy section and started reading Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein (who I still love), and Anne McCraffery. I branched off into horror with Stephen King and even read some Danielle Steele because my grandmother liked her. I dipped into a few spy novels with Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, and there isn’t a better western than those written by Louis L’amour.
In comics, I was a huge fan of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing before he went on to win acclaim with the Watchman, and Batman: The Killing Joke. And of course, there is my longtime favorite comic, Elfquest, by Wendy and Richard Pini.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? And why?
Stephen King, no doubt. I’ve read “On Writing” multiple times. He’s not only incredibly creative and prolific but has the work ethic that any writer would do well to emulate. He’s also very candid about his own personal struggles, which only make him more human.
What are your current projects?
Chronicles of the Garlon T’zen is a large body of work that I started when my roleplaying group was on a year long hiatus. I had the need to write a story. Elements of it had been poking around in my brain since early college. It’s really an ongoing serial-type story with story arcs. The first one “book” is Manor Town and is hosted on the internet. Book Two will start updating on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, starting May 3rd.
There is adult content in that story, and some of the more smutty parts can either be read on my Patreon account, or in the novelization which will be available on Amazon in June.
I am also working on “Dragons of the Thaumaturgic Realm.” There are two realms of reality, the Geotic, which is the mundane world we live in, and the Thaumaturgic that is populated by magical creatures and magic wielding humans. The story is about a young dragon who falls in love with a young lady of the Geotic Realm. The immortal Fairy King and Queen of the Thaumaturgic have been plotting the demise of dragon kind for a thousand years and this pushes them past the tipping point of war. The release date for this book is planned for October.
Another book that I’m trying to get out this year is a little different than the other two. It’s a smutty romantic comedy, called “Nanny Business.” Michael DeSalvo is a writer who is woefully behind on his deadline. His Editor hires him a nanny in order to make him finish the final book in a trilogy. Needless to say, Mike finds inspiration in the lovely young woman who moves into his house takes over his schedule.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The dragon book has been through four full revisions until I’ve finally found the version that works the best. So, not this one. I have found that I usually have to do one to two full rewrites on a book after I’ve done draft alpha before I am satisfied with the story.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been a dreamer, enjoying my imagination far more than the real world. This was most vexing in school. In high school, I would write pages and pages of story and never work on my homework. I shared my stories with a few of my friends, but at first, my stories were just for me. Then later, I found online round robin roleplaying with friends to be another great outlet where world building was shared, and you never knew what the next person would take the story!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The characters I create are challenging. I’ll have a nice story outline done, and then they wander off down lines I hadn’t even considered, and soon the book looks nothing like I planned. The dragon books were supposed to be nice YA adventure story about a ghost boy. Then I introduced my first dragon, and he completely took over the story!
Who designed your covers?
I mostly do my own covers (so far). I have commissioned art to be done and have used those elements in the covers.
What was your biggest inspiration and motivation for your writing?
I am prone to depression. My absolute best way to combat that monster is to write. My mental health and well being are really tied to my creative productivity. Even if I didn’t have plans to publish, I would be writing. It’s as much for myself as it is for my potential readers.
What do you consider your best accomplishment?
I’ll let you know at the end of the year if I’m able to get four books out! I am of the personality that I look to what I’m going to do, rather than what I’ve already done. There’s always the next challenge and I am a work in progress.
Do you do book tours and/or signings?
I plan to try and work a few conventions next year and I do hope that a few of my local bookstore would host a signing as well as my library.
If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why?
Oh ho! Challenge question. From my own work, probably Maug, my main dragon protagonist in the dragon books. He’s a magic user and powerful mage. He’d keep us pretty comfortable. From another book, Lazarus Long, from a few of Robert Heinlein’s books, because he’s smart, witty and has managed to live a very, very long time for a reason. And then from the real world, Robb Wolf, of the Paleo Solution, because he’s also a pretty cool guy and he has the survival skills needed on such a jaunt.