We at Silly Tree are so excited about the upcoming anthology, Scared Spitless. There wouldn’t be an anthology without the exceptional authors who submitted stories. I don’t know about y’all, but Cathy and I love to know more about the authors we read. In that spirit, we are doing interviews with the Silly Tree authors. We hope y’all enjoy them as much as we have.
The first author interview is with Valerie Egger. Please feel free to leave comments or questions for the author, and share the interview with others you think would be interested.
When did you start writing professionally?
I started taking my writing seriously in 2008. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I thought it was something that "just happened." I took a creative writing class at the local community college, and it was just the motivation I needed to become serious. I sold my first story that November, and I've been writing and selling ever since.
Have you ever hated anything you wrote?
I'd like to meet a writer who hasn't! I sometimes compare the first draft to puking. You have to get it out. You can clean up later!
How do you stay motivated?
Writing full-time (as a full-time source of income) is my goal. I wake up early to write or edit before the rest of the day taxes me.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I have sold one fantasy short story, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing it. I hope to write more of this genre. I have an idea for a YA fantasy that is partly outlined. With fantasy writing, however, I feel totally drawn into the world, which makes the reality of "real life" somewhat of a hindrance to writing it.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I love reading horror, especially when I don't know what's coming.
Do you have advice for other writers?
Read as much as possible. You'll be surprised at how much you learn--from both the good things you read and the bad.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
1984 is my absolute favorite book. Many of my stories have a variation of the theme of freedom running through--someone trying to be free, or realizing they never can be. I'm an editor at Freedom Forge Press, a press dedicated to publishing stories of freedom, and 1984 to me is a constant reminder of what might happen if we let freedoms slip away. Orwell was a troubled genius.
Would you like to share a bit about your current work in progress?
Speaking of freedom, I'm working on a YA dystopia in which the earth is largely run by a collectivist, centralized government. A young girl and her father are too talented for this oppressive system, and they escape to a place "beyond the stars." It's the first in a trilogy.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I've always wanted to write. In first grade, I wrote a poem and was asked to read it to the fifth-grade class. Then in second grade, my teacher told me I should be a writer one day. In college I was accused of cheating twice because my professors didn't think someone so young should be able to write so well. It's in my blood.
Where have you been published?
Many places! I have a full list at www.valmuller.com. I've got two novels out for kids--the Corgi Capers series, a horror novel (for grown-ups), and two young adult novels pending with two other publishers.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
My piece for this anthology is, of course, a horror piece. I find myself drawn to the horror genre because there's something cathartic about writing horror. It also makes me appreciate the "normalcy" of my own life. I'm also mildly obsessed with the idea of a tragic flaw--a belief or trait that a person refuses to give up on. Despite the somewhat depressing nature of tragedy, there is something uplifting about the tenacity of the human spirit. Arthur Miller had a great essay on it. Places you can find me: www.valmuller.com, www.freedomforgepress.com, www.corgicapers.com.