The blog takeover continues with my author interview with Valinora Troy.
Iseult: Hello Valinora, thank you for talking with me today. Congratulations on the launch of The Lucky Diamond. I loved it. It is so imaginative and fun.
Valinora: Thank you so much, Iseult! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it. I hope readers will find it fun. When I was a child, especially as a pre-teen, I loved escaping into a different world, where there was magic and danger and adventure and fun. I still do!
Iseult: The story concludes very satisfactorily, but there was one question about the children’s magical gifts that was left unanswered. Will there be another book and will it answer this question?
Valinora: I’m delighted you enjoyed the ending, and I hope other readers do too. Endings can be hard to write, and you really want readers to feel satisfied rather than disappointed. Ideally, of course, satisfied with the book but wanting to read more… Yes, the next book will be out early next summer. The gift you refer to plays an important part in that story, so I hope readers will be pleased with how it turns out.
Confession – when I first wrote The Lucky Diamond, I didn’t know the answer to that question either. It bothered me because I knew it had to be something special. I was so relieved when I found out what happened next to my orphaned siblings, and what an important role this gift plays in that story, so it didn’t need to appear in the first book. It also explains something else from The Lucky Diamond.
Iseult: That sounds great. I can’t wait to read it.
Your fantasy world, Nivram, is protected by living, magical, shape changing diamonds. That’s such an imaginative idea. What inspired the sentient Diamonds?
Valinora: I don’t know! It seemed perfectly normal to me at the time (Lucky and the children popped into my head when I was six). As a child I was always getting stones in my shoe, which is the inciting incident for my story. Why that stone was a diamond who could talk, I have no idea. It wasn’t like diamonds were part of my real life! I have my original copybook somewhere and I must root it out and see how far I got with that first story. The five siblings and Lucky were all there from the start, Charlie appeared along with the Wood of Witches and the “Long Grass with Holes” (original name of the enchanted marsh and directly inspired by where I lived) shortly afterwards. Diamonds developed along with the story. I hope to share more about them throughout subsequent books in the series.
Iseult: I love this. You were obviously a very imaginative child.
What drew you to writing middle grade fantasy?
Valinora: I started The Lucky Diamond as a child, and the story really took shape when I was 12 and 13. It is the type of book I wanted to read at that age, and it’s a story that stayed with me ever since, and there are a lot more stories from that world that are itching to get on paper.
Middle grade fiction has the advantage of retaining all the charm and wonder from younger reads combined with more complex plots, more developed themes, and more layered characters, and none of the teenage angst, which makes it perfect for me. Maybe there is an element of nostalgia too, I was totally immersed in books (when I wasn’t writing) at that time, and it was a happy place.
Iseult: Haha! I’d say she is.
I’d love to learn more about how the children survived on the streets of Lowdar. Will any future books feature their adventures before they meet Lucky?
Valinora: Absolutely! I am currently working on a novella set a few months before Lucky’s arrival, where things look very dire for the children. I hope to have it ready early next year, and I intend to make it a free gift to anyone signing up to my newsletter, which will be out in the near future. This will be in addition to the collection of childrens fantasy short stories I currently give away to anyone who signs up.
Iseult: What a great idea. I’m sure lots of people will sign up to your newsletter to read your novella.
Charlie the canoe is a great character. I never imagined a canoe talking and walking. Where did the idea for his character come from?
Valinora: Again, I have no idea! I grew up literally across the road from the sea, and while you now can see kayaks on the water, there were none when I was a child. I wouldn’t have got into one either, because although I would force myself to wade into the water, I was terrified of it.
I’m glad you liked Charlie. He’s turning out to be a popular character with readers, and I am happy to say he’ll be back in the next book.
Iseult: I’m glad to hear that.
If you could make any inanimate object come to life in reality, what would you choose?
Valinora: Tough question! I assume I can’t say diamond or canoe!
When I was a child, my mother made all our toys so I’d probably pick one of them. I have Humpty Dumpty (since I was 3!), his family, rag dolls, and topsy-turvey dolls. I also have a fabulous three-storey dolls house, complete with a cake shop and restaurant, and my peg dolls living there are very neglected. I think I’d pick the dolls house.
Iseult: Wow! They sound amazing. No wonder you were creating such magical worlds as a child.
Thank you, Valinora. It has been so much fun having you take over my blog.
Valinora: Thanks Iseult, I loved your questions, and I am delighted to have this opportunity. Thank you for all your support!
Iseult: You are most welcome.
The Lucky Diamond is currently available for a special new release price.