Updated: Aug 7
My name is Valerie Dormer. I am a Canadian independent author, based in the Greater Toronto Area.
What initially got you into writing?
I’ve always had an active imagination, especially when I was a kid. I remember the first story I ever attempted writing—or more like doodling—was when I was around six years old. It was a little comic strip about pirates being on their ship and since I had no clue how to spell, I just wrote down a bunch of letters to go along with my story. To me they made sense and that’s all I cared about!
In elementary school, my group of friends and I tried writing a book together, but it didn’t get very far. We grew up and grew apart, each of us doing our own things but writing always stuck with me.
I think what got me into it was having such a wild imagination and writing was a way to bring those thoughts to life. Putting them down on paper is like making them apart of not just my own world inside my head, but the real world—and for me that’s always a great feeling.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
My family has always supported me and influenced me to share my work with the world. My sister was actually the one who helped me to come up with the plot for my first novel, 'Wasn’t Expecting You'. Even when I’m having doubts about my work or myself as a writer, they’re always there to pick me up and plant me back on my feet.
I have recently become more active in the online writing community and just seeing all of the other writers—especially the indie ones, like myself—and how they put their work out there with such confidence has been a big influence on me. Makes me think to myself, Well, if they can do it, so can I! And that has been a big help for me, especially over the past few years, when I lacked confidence in my writing abilities.
Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I self-published my debut novel back in 2016. I decided to go that route because honestly, the idea of traditional publishing seemed rather daunting, and the fear of rejection got the best of me. That was my thought process back then. Now I choose self-publishing because I think it’s a lot of fun and having complete control over my work brings me great satisfaction.
I love deciding where my stories go and how they end, designing my own covers and releasing my work when I’m ready to. I’m not on anyone else’s schedule but my own, and I love that about self-publishing.
How important is writing as an art form in the world, today?
I think writing gets overlooked sometimes as an art form because it’s not a painting on a canvas or a beautifully printed photograph. But to me, that’s what makes it so special. When you’re reading someone’s work, the art is whatever you make of it, how you see it is completely up to you. Everyone sees those same colours painted on a canvas, but read a description of a painting and everyone is going to picture it differently in some way.
In a world where society tries to make us the same, we need more writing that’s going to make us see things in our own way, how we as individuals want to see it, and that’s why writing is an important art form to me.
Do you have a set process when starting a new project?
I’m not too big on outlines before I start a new project. I like to have a plot in mind and an idea as to where I want the story to go, and then see where it takes me from there. Sometimes I’ll write important events down in a notebook, just so I don’t forget them, and work them into the story where I see fit. Also, music plays a big part in helping me to create. I always find myself listening to songs that relate to the mood of the story, and that seems to give me the boost I need to start writing.
I like to use things I see in my everyday life and incorporate them into my work somehow. I find myself paying attention a lot more now to the world around me, because any little thing could somehow be useful to my story—whether it be a location, the way a person is dressed or a conversation between strangers.
As a writer, you always have to keep an open mind because you never know when something—even the most random things—could inspire you.
What has been your favourite book to write and why?
I would have to say that the book I’m working on now is so far my favourite, but also the most challenging. I had a lot of fun writing my first novel, but I was also a different person back then. I have grown as a writer since I published Wasn’t Expecting You, so I’m taking more time and practising patience with my second one. I’m also incorporating a lot of personal things in this one as well, which is another reason why I’m enjoying writing it so much.
Which genre do you enjoy writing in?
I typically write young adult fiction but at some point in my writing career I would love to come up with a psychological thriller, or maybe even a horror.
Is writing your primary source of income?
I wish writing was my primary source of income! I do find it to be quite challenging, trying to fit writing into my schedule sometimes. I do tend to work long hours that can run late but thankfully I do my best writing at night. So, when get home and if I’m not too tried, I’ll get some writing done before bed.
What advice can you give our readers, should they wish to pursue writing?
Don’t compare your writing to other peoples work. That was one thing I had to learn the hard way. It took me many years to realize that each individual has their own writing style, and that is what makes you unique as a writer. Also, just write without putting any pressure or expectations on yourself.
Write for you and no one else because at the end of the day, you’re the only one that’s going to know just how much time and effort you’ve put into your work. Yes, you’re going to want people to like your stuff, I get it, but I know for me that not everyone is going to love what I create. As long as I love it though, and am proud of it, that’s what truly matters at the end of the day. Easier said than done—trust me, I know—but you’ll get there!
What does success mean to you?
Success to me means I have poured everything I have into my work and I can go to sleep at night feeling accomplished and fulfilled from what I’ve created. I never measure success based off of how much money I make through writing because it’s not about that for me. I just want to put something out into the world that people will enjoy, but most importantly something that I am proud of.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the first draft of my second novel titled, 'Mudskipper'. I am hoping to publish it by the middle or end of next year.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that in the future I’m still creating and publishing stories that I’m proud of. I hope that I continue to keep on gaining new skills and improving as a writer. I just want to be able to look back and blow myself away with how far I’ve come as an independent author, and if I can do that then my mission as a writer will be accomplished.
Lastly where can people find you?
My website: www.valeriedormerauthor.com
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