Young: How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
Vanayssa Somers (V.S.): I started writing about two years ago. The wish to write was always with me but being in the workplace kept me from taking the time to write. So after I retired I started writing a story.
Young: How did you come up with your stories?
V.S.: The first novel, Pagan Flames, is a story that came from real life, although it is a fantasy suspense romance. I wrote it just as an adult story but it was awarded a place on the list of Best YA Books of 2015 by Michael Thal’s review blog, Pop’s Picks. So that was a surprise, I didn’t know it was a YA book.
I used to do psychic work on my days off at times. I spent one summer renting a house on one of the beautiful islands off the BC coast, and I did readings outside a New Age shop during the day. A young woman came for a reading on her lunch-break one day. That particular experience was so memorable and amazing for me, I never forgot it. I usually did not remember the readings, as they were channeled and all very different, but this one stuck in my mind. I knew one day I’d have to make up a story about a young woman who had these things happen to her.
It was very hard work to write that first novel, but it was also a lot of fun, especially because I knew the real story behind it. A lot of the book is made up of course, but the core of it came from that reading.
Young: What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
V.S.: It’s hard to know how to promote a book. It’s a learning experience, and although it’s been a year and a half since Pagan Flames was published, I am only now learning different ways to promote. I am open to suggestions from anyone who knows any of these secrets. Writers must not only write, they must also sell their books. It’s a set of skills that nobody seems to give a complete course on. Everyone knows to have social media pages, but there’s a lot more to it than that. So I am trying to learn how to do this. It takes a massive amount of time to promote books online, or any other way.
As to the best aspect of writing, it’s the freedom to take a block of time and go sit in a coffee shop and write a story, go deep into The Zone and just write from that place. It’s exciting, thrilling, really, and very fulfilling. If I could just write all the time, that would be wonderful.
Young: What inspires you to write?
V.S.: Once the first novel is published, then the writer knows they can do it. It changed everything when Summer Solstice liked my story enough to take a chance on it. After that, I knew that time spent writing stories was not wasted, but was productive and had a purpose. At different times in our lives, we have different life purposes. In retirement, this is my life purpose. I like to include things in my stories that might inspire a reader to change their life up, be willing to transform some aspect of their life.
Young: How did you conduct your research for The Boy Scout?
V.S.: Well, after Pagan Flames came out, several readers who knew me locally asked me for a sequel. That was a surprise, they must have liked the book, I realized. So I hadn’t expected to write a sequel, but I decided I should try. It took quite a while to put a full idea together, using Melchior and Theresa as heroic characters who were also in love, and then I got the idea one day of having a Boy Scout involved. Then the idea of having the villain be involved in Boy Scouts of America also, but just as a peripheral activity, that sealed it. I got excited then, you know how something just hooks you? And after that I wrote and wrote, drank a lot of coffee, loved writing that book, The Boy Scout.
Young: What are 3 of your favorite lines/quotes from your newest release?
My favorite chapters from The Boy Scout are Chapter Nineteen, which I’ve submitted to a Screenwriters Short Story contest – don’t know how that will work out or not yet – and Chapter Twenty-Two.
The Boy Scout
And where, exactly, would they find a jury of Callahan’s peers? The idea was laughable.
But shape-shifting and time travel were not necessary parts of jury selection. The presence of a healthy conscience and normal intelligence were the things that mattered there.
And Kincaid was going to put him there. In the hands of a jury. Oh yes. He teetered back on his heels, his hands quiet behind his back, head lifted as he gazed around one last time. Lips compressed, eyes wide.
Next step. Get out there and catch this son of a bitch. Put him away for life, or, if he had his way, put him into the Chair.
But first, they had to find the bodies.
The little bodies.
Like any decent human being, he felt tears start up behind his eyes. But he was used to this.
He could handle himself. No tears.
Not here in front of his officers, anyway.
And he marveled at his wife’s intuition. Marty. An amazing woman. She’d known, somehow.
Some day, he’d need to know all about shamanism.
Who would ever have guessed?
Kincaid could not know that this particular shaman was huddled in a parallel universe, invisible, but very much present in the room, watching in impotent, growing rage as the officers went through his sacred sanctuary inch by inch, exploring, taking notes, peering, judging, gathering evidence by the minute, evidence that would destroy Callahan’s painstakingly-structured life.
His entire world-wide network, all his contacts. In his computer, the speeches he had written, speeches people paid him top dollar to listen to. And the children, the little ones he had loved so much.
The police! They could never understand.
And his magic. His sacred tools. What did these fools know of magic carpets, magic chants and spells? What did they know of travel through time, of shape shifting?
Excerpt from Chapter Twenty-Two
She took a big breath, tried to still the exhausted shaking of her muscles, and reached out, grabbed the edge of the opening.
Oh. Her shoes. They were in the way. But she’d need them outside.
So she carefully removed them, and threw them over the edge, into the world outside. She’d pick them up when she got out there. And she would, for sure, succeed and get out there with those shoes.
Rested for a moment, praying for strength, strength to heave herself up and over in one move.
She gripped the edge, pulled mightily, hauled herself, pushed with her toes into the soft dirt, and her chest was on the edge. Panting, she hung there, so afraid of falling. It was so far down to the bottom. She knew, if she lost her balance, fell now, she would not live. Even if the dinosaur didn’t find her, the fall would kill her. So she prayed for more strength. Waited, trying to control her shaking body, still the rising panic in her mind. What if she got stuck? Couldn’t get over the edge?
To hell with that kind of thinking. She’d do it.
Drawing on the last ounces of energy buried deep in her fatigued, sugar-starved cells, she gritted her teeth and one more time, heaved. Over she went, too far, over the edge of the opening and onto the soft ground outside, tumbling onto ground and grass and the sight of towering ferns and trees and a huge white moon, shining down on the strangest landscape she’d ever seen.
What a view.
In bright moonlight, the immense prehistoric Loess Plateau gleamed, yellow-gray sand catching the eerie light, reflecting almost.
The patches of jungle, the patches of desert, all stretched out below her, far below. Stretched and stretched into the distance.
And most amazing of all, far, far away in that distance, bursts of flame from volcanoes, active volcanoes, spewing lava out onto the earth below, creating prime farmland for the far future to make use of. Someday.
She didn’t know she was in a part of the earth that would one day, millions of years in the future, be China. She was actually buried deep in the belly of China, and very, very far from home.
But even without knowing the geographical location, she knew the chances of her ever seeing her homeland again were slim to none.
Time travel. Shit. She didn’t care about time travel. She wanted a cup of coffee and a sandwich. She wanted a hot bath.
She lay there, on the outside of the volcano for a while, crying into the dirt. When she finally staggered to her feet, shaking with exhaustion, thirst and hunger, she didn’t know where she was going or what she would do.
If she could find Callahan’s cave, she might at least find water and some food.
And Theresa was out there somewhere. Alone. Terrified, probably. Like herself.
She began the long descent, so weary and discouraged she wanted only to lie down and stay there till she died.
Young: What would your friends say is your best quality?
V.S.: They tell me I’m open and friendly and work hard at creating social networks and friendship. I love conversation almost more than anything. I find that many people stay alone and feel sad when in fact, so many people around them would be so happy if they’d just sit down and start up a conversation. I go around finding people and bringing them together and enjoying their company. Everyone has something to teach others.
Young: Are reader reviews important to you?
V.S.: Oh, that is an understatement. For one thing, reviews motivate me to write more, to write a new story. They inspire me to try to write better and overcome my writing flaws. I feel awestruck when I read a good review. Like, I would do almost anything for that person, and usually I don’t even know who they are.
Young: Do you have any blogs/websites?
V.S.: My website is found at: http://www.paranormalfantasyromance.com and it has its own blog.
My other blog is: http://www.somerstory.wordpress.com
Young: What do you do when you don’t write?
V.S.: Well, I spend a certain amount of time each day promoting my stories online. I do my housework like everyone does, although maybe not as much as some do. Writing and promoting eat up a lot of time and energy, but I keep the basics of housework done routinely. Like, having a washload going in the laundry gives me an excuse to get up from my chair and walk around the house, go get the dry clothes out, fold, put away, and by then my back has sorted itself out and I feel human again. So housework is good for writers.
I also do HIIT, it means high impact interval training I think. It just means, I jog for 30 seconds and then walk fast for 60 seconds, using a stopwatch to keep it 1to 2 of each.
I like to swim but there isn’t a good pool in my small city so I don’t swim as much as I’d like.
I also do weight workouts on a Total Flex machine, which I love, using cables instead of weights. About twice a week.
I like to watch Netflix at night, movies and TV shows. Lately I’ve loved beyond words watching the six seasons of LOST, became utterly addicted, it was terrible. I couldn’t help myself. Start at 8 pm and finally have to turn it off at 3 am, my eyes almost glued shut.
But it was taking so much time I had to get more disciplined so I don’t do that anymore. But I miss the characters in LOST. They were like family by the end of the seasons.
I buy and read a lot of Kindle books, they are not expensive and you get them immediately so I always have lots of good reading on my laptop.
I also send distance healing using Reiki to different people and I meditate. Right now I am reading a very hard book called A Course in Time Travel by Curtis Loys Jackson. Hard reading but it’s getting easier now, I’ve broken through the hardest parts I think. I’ve learned a lot, it’s a different kind of philosophy. He answers questions by email so that has helped.
Young: Tell us about your other books?
V.S.: Well Pagan Flames was my first, and having it get to the Best YA Books of 2015 was a terrific surprise.
Then I wrote Sacred Trust, a suspense romance where a lawmaker has an affair and gets caught by his wife, and he has committed a number of high-level crimes, and she decides to get the evidence. She starts a new life. I always try to have personal transformation up front and center in my work, nothing is as fulfilling as inspiring someone to branch out and start doing something different, something they never thought they could do.
I was raised in a politically active household and that kind of thing sticks. It pops out all over the place in your life, the way you were raised.
Then I wrote three short stories for Solstice Publishing anthologies, the latest one being First Love, and I wrote a story called First Love: Born of Fire, about human trafficking. The characters in it are also in my latest novel, The Boy Scout, and it gave me a chance to explore the choices and behavior of some of the characters I couldn’t cover in the novel itself. You can’t write about everything in one book, so the short story released some new stuff about the characters.
However, The Boy Scout is my favorite, it was so interesting to write, I learned so much. My very first real, first-class villain. A scary thing to undertake and once I got going, it really grabbed me. He just couldn’t be bad enough, that villain. All about human trafficking and how a young Boy Scout saves a truckload of teens from a life of slavery.
Young: If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
V.S.: I guess that I have overcome many very difficult challenges in life. I’m blessed with good health but I still manage to get into a lot of trouble. I take risks that are not always wise without discussing the problems with other people first. That’s a big mistake. One head just isn’t enough for a lot of life’s challenging events. I’ve learned to listen to my friends. And I survived the death by homicide of my only child, my daughter Lori. It’s still, after almost twenty-eight years, a daily walk, it never gets better but as life goes on my commitment to life got stronger. And then I started to write, which really helps a lot. It keeps me very busy and I feel productive. Writing makes me feel valuable. I am 72 now, so anything that makes me feel still valuable is worth pursuing.
The Magic Will Find You!
My desire to write was driven by the transformative power of Story. As a child, I loved books about characters who did the right thing and overcame great odds. I was fired with the hunger to experience transformation in my own life and inspire others.
Born in a Yukon winter, I moved to beautiful British Columbia as a toddler and grew up in the deep forests of Vancouver Island. Over the years I trained as a Registered Nurse, earned a B.A. in Sociology from University of Victoria, worked as a Reiki Master, Psychic and NLP counselor. I was blessed to mother a beautiful daughter who, unfortunately, passed away in her twenties. Through that loss I discovered a gold mine of new depth in myself and in life itself, as she returned to visit me and open a new awareness of life after death. The greatest gift of all is life itself.
Over the years I have sought to help and inspire others through my work as a nurse, as the owner/operator of a seaside spa in the U.K., as counselor and psychic. A graduate of The Monroe Institute and a follower of Bruce Moen's books and website, I work in soul retrieval and connection with my family in the Afterlife. I believe romantic love to be one of life's highest experiences. Writing romance is my joy.
To contact Vanayssa Somers, click on this link: www.paranormalfantasyromance.com/contact
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS TO VANAYSSA SOMERS’ BOOKS:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Vanayssa-Somers/e/B006QY6WTM
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” Harriet Tubman
A story of the eternal battle against evil, injustice, and particularly, slavery, by every decent sentient, conscious life form in the universe.
Amazon reviews for Vanayssa Somers Books:
…one of the best supernatural romance books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Following Theresa, through the span of many years was both interesting and intriguing, never once slowing down. The transition from past to present was seamless. It flowed with the grace of a well trained ballerina gliding across the stage and air with one toe keeping it all in balance. The story is the most interesting of concepts and the romance filled my heart and drew me in. I would recommend this story for anyone who loves the mix of supernatural and love, or to anyone who just loves love. Well done Miss Somers, this story and your writing is a true treasure.
…I loved this book! I couldn't put it down. Vanayssa Somers made the story and the characters come to life in a way that few authors are able to do. She did her research well on the pagan practices and the horrible time of burning 'witches' and any one that dared to be 'different' This book has everything from shape shifters to wizards to fairies & more. Truly mesmerizing to the reader with believable characters and places.