Valerie Claussen was born in Santa Ana, CA, a middle child of six siblings raised by her Irish American Grandmother. She grew up in various towns of Southern California with a love for music. She was always active in the performing arts whether it was singing in choir or performing in musicals and plays. She has acted in films, a commercial and a comedy web series. She writes fantasy and sci-fi novels and screenplays.
Her interests include throwing themed parties, music, the ocean, astronomy, community building activities and environmental studies. She’s a huge Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter fan. Her latest work is a Fantasy Sci-Fi crossover book called Heirdom.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Southern California. We moved around quite a bit.
What do you write about?
I write mostly fantasy and science fiction stories.
How long does it take to write a book?
I’ve written five novels total but didn’t publish them all. The time taken to write each one varied from one month (NanoWrimo) to eight months.
What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?
The biggest challenge I deal with most is that my mind likes to create a dozen new branches while I’m working on a story. It can be tricky deciding which ones to prune.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I’ve taught myself to block it out for the most part but it still creeps in at times. Self-doubt is definitely a tough one.
What makes you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by people I love, having fun or at beautiful places.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Other than my children, I’m most proud of having the courage to actually go out and follow my dreams. I’ve accomplished many goals and will keep working to do as many as my time allows.
What books did you love growing up?
My favorite books as a child were: The Giving Tree, The Little House on the Prairie series, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series and The Outsiders.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Although I’m normally an extrovert, putting myself out there to show my work has always been a challenge for me. Watching myself on tv or in a movie makes me feel especially uncomfortable.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve been a teacher, a cook, a nanny, a recreation assistant, fast food cashier, a support specialist, a lawn care person, an admission hostess at Universal Studios, a Disneyland cast member and an actress.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I would absolutely love to live in Ireland. The people and the beauty of nature are amazing. If not there, then in the U.K. I’d like to pick up a posh British accent.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
All of my writing is done on my laptop but I do write down a lot of ideas in my notebooks. I like to keep them near me when I’m working so that I don’t forget any good ideas. That said, I tend to tear up a lot of pages from it. Some ideas may sound great at 1:00 am but not so much after getting some sleep. Haha.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I need at least five hours of sleep to function properly.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
My latest Fantasy/ Sci-Fi novel, Heirdom, was written during the pandemic as a way to escape to another world and not focus on the distance between my family, friends and myself. It really helped spending time with the characters each day as I led them off on their adventures.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing?
In everything I write, there are messages of friendship, love and courage. I hope people learn to appreciate everything good in their lives and never take anything for granted.
Barnes and Noble link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heirdom-valerie-claussen/1139700902?ean=9781483412153