Monday, September 25, 2023

Interview with Valerie Storm Author of Heart of the Storm #YAFantasy

What inspired your story?

Heart of the Storm was inspired by my personal love for villains. One day, I realized I was tired of hungering for everyone else’s villains—I want to make my own. So, I set out to do just that. I created Valeris as a sort of incubus-type creature who could read/control minds and would feed on the hearts of his victims. I loved how charming and utterly devious he was, and was immediately enamored.

My brother and I wrote his story together. The intention was to have him and Kari clash, somehow. Over the years since that first draft, I’ve adjusted and added things to Heart of the Storm…but Valeris has always stayed the same. He has been perfect from his first rendition; without him, Heart of the Storm wouldn’t exist, and I don’t think the rest of the series would hit as hard as I hope it will.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

When I was young, I primarily wanted to be a teacher and a psychologist. I wanted to help people—but I also wrote a lot on the side. I had a deep love for drama, particularly that of betrayal and other villain shenanigans. I wrote my first “book” (Kingdom Hearts Fanfic) when I was something like ten years old, and shortly after that, I wrote the first version of Birth of the Storm. I always knew I would want to do something with this writing, even if it was as simple as sharing it with other people. Now, I have three books published, a fourth coming, and four more after that planned at least!

How long did it take to get your first book published?

My first book was Birth of the Storm—the one I started writing when I was ten. I’m thirty-one now! Though I’d say most of that time was spent not only trying to better my writing in general (being “good enough” for traditional publishing…I’m glad I went indie instead!), but also trying to write Kari’s entire series. I was adamant I would not be like other long-series writers (especially traditional ones) who left plot holes and bad writing in their series because they didn’t plan ahead.

So, Birth of the Storm was published in June of 2022, but it took me something like twenty years to feel like it was good enough to get there!

What were your goals as an author and have any of them come true?

One of my first goals as an author was to have my book in Barnes and Noble. It was on a contractual basis, but seeing my book there, on the shelf, was SO DAMN MAGICAL, it will forever live in my mind. I got put next to R.L. Stine (Storm – Stine!) and made a Twitter post…even daring to tag him. And he replied back to me! Whatever happens after this, I am happy with what my books have done.

What was the first book you ever published?

The first book I ever published was Birth of the Storm, the first of Kari’s story. It acts as an origin for Kari, my beloved, traumatic wolf demon. 

There, we learn:
1. She is a wolf demon
2. She has powers no demon should have
3. She can be very vengeful
4. Other people know about her powers, and they’re *Not Good*

I published Birth of the Storm in June, 2022, twenty-something years after its very first draft.

In all that time, Kari has grown exponentially as a character, and her story has been fleshed out in the way I always dreamed. Birth of the Storm starts her off on a trip of grief and fear (of herself and others), and the journey does not stay smooth for her. In fact, Heart of the Storm is likely to be one of the hardest books for her >:3

Heart of the Storm
Demon Storm
Book Four
Valerie Storm

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Date of Publication: 9/13/23
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-956883-14-5
Number of pages:410
Word Count:101219
Cover Artist: @Ginkahederling

A fresh start. An old home, new again.  And a new evil to match.

Crimson eyes and dark wings. Together, they'll be terrible. Can she break free?

Their light is broken. When a new darkness rises, will they overcome it?

Book Description:

More than night terrors keep Kari awake at night. Ari languishes beside her, broken by the horrors Raven bestowed upon him.

She hopes he heals, and soon.

When a familiar presence and an unexplainable human with magic happen upon their doorstep, Kari and Ari make a decision: leave Raziac Village in search of answers and a new home.

But the heart eater waits for them.


Kari pushed away her steak, half-eaten. “Can this place be real?”

            Rathik looked up from his turkey. “Sometimes I can’t believe it myself, and I headed the revolution.”

Ari leaned over his plate, eyes widening. “You did? How?”

“From within the town itself. I was on the guard. I hid myself, too.” Rathik looked at Kari. “My commanding officer believed I had a skin disease.”

A sudden memory pricked her attention. The day she’d run into a guard in Snow Shade—after stealing the magic book for Kiki—she’d glimpsed scales on that man’s face and forgotten all about it.

Guine snorted. “Nice.”

            Rathik inclined his head. “My position enabled me to sneak demons in. I was just trying to help sickly ones at first. Eventually my name—different than the one I used as a guard—became infamous.” He laughed, shaking his head, and took a sip of ale.

            “I…I remember your name. Rathik.” Kari wracked her brain, remembering the first bolt of lightning she had called down; it had been glorious, though it also represented the first time she had felt the burning fire of the Catalyst. She’d been attacked by a demon yelling about a Rathik.

            Rathik grimaced. “I became a rallying point for many demons in the north, and it wasn’t long until the Lord Isaac was looking for me.”

            Kari, nodded, recalling that, too.

“Lord Isaac became frantic, especially when a man and his wife were found dead in their homes. He ordered searches, and it wasn’t long before my friends were found out. One died, trying to protect the others.”

Kari’s throat tightened. Ari shifted so she could grab his arm. Guine glanced at them.

“It was me,” she muttered in a hoarse whisper.

“What?” Rathik asked.

“It was my fault your friend died. I…I was the one who killed those two humans.”

She’d had no choice, she’d told herself, yet that hadn’t been true. How many times had Kiki tried to convince her they could run away without leaving any bodies behind? And Kari had refused, sure that killing Anne and Joseph was the only true way to honor her parents.

If she’d listened, Kiki may have lived, and Rathik’s friend wouldn’t have died.

Rathik leaned over the table. “No. Trust me, Kari. It was only a matter of time before Lord Isaac snapped. Even Dorn, from Isaac’s council, said he was well on his way to madness without anyone’s help.”

“He’s right,” Ari said, rubbing her. “Even we’d heard some stories in Raziac. You aren’t to blame for his actions.”

Kari caught Guine’s eye, his expression indiscernible, then frowned at her plate.

            Rathik nodded. “His own people saw it. Some of them helped us, guiding our peaceful speeches to fellow humans, and reconciling began. Now we have this.”

            He waved his hand, gesturing at the room.

            “Even though I’d heard of the revolution, I can hardly believe my eyes,” Ari said. “This place is unimaginable.”



About the Author:

Valerie Storm was raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, she fell in love with everything fantasy. When she wasn’t playing video games, she was writing. By age ten, she began to write her own stories as a way to escape reality. When these stories became a full-length series, she considered the path to sharing with other children & children at heart looking for a place to call home.

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1 comment:

marisela zuniga said...

thanks for sharing this interview, it was great knowing more about Valerie