Author Interview: Valerie Keogh

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I love to hear from readers so it’s always exciting to get a message. Mostly they send nice comments about how much they enjoy my writing. Sometimes, they write to ask me for another in my Irish crime series – there are 6 and for the moment another isn’t planned. I also had another reader ask if I’d write a sequel to The Lodger so that two of the characters could end up together! An idea I have been giving some consideration.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

I do write under a pseudonym. Keogh is my mother’s maiden name. When I published first, I was still working as a nurse and I write a series about a woman who is a serial killer – and a nurse! I thought using a pseudonym was a good idea!

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?

I don’t think anyone finds negative reviews easy to deal with. Sometimes, if the review is negative but constructive, I can learn something, but if it’s simply destructive, it is difficult to let go. I did manage to get Amazon to remove a nasty review once when the reviewer referred to me as being a ‘silly’ writer! Amazon take a poor view of personal attacks! Sadly, it’s the negative reviews that seem to linger in my brain.

How long have you been writing or when did you start?

Having always wanted to write, about 14 years ago I decided either to write, or stop dreaming about it. So I sat down and wrote my first book. I haven’t stopped since and am now writing my 23rd.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have 21 books published, one ready to go (The Widow is out Nov 1st) and one sitting on my computer waiting for a home.

How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

Crucial. I write a quick first draft, then do a few more before handing it to my editor. I depend on her to tell me what works or doesn’t because by the time I’ve been through it about four times, I really can’t see the wood for the trees!

How long did it take you to write this book?

Three months.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Read extensively in the genre you hope to write in. Then get the first draft down. Don’t worry about grammar or anything else at this stage. Get it down, then go over it again and again till it’s the best you can make it. Then give it to someone you trust to tell you the truth – not someone who is going to tell you it’s brilliant if it really isn’t.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

I write a very rough first draft. I don’t plan or set out my story before I start so quite often it’s changed dramatically by the end. I no longer number chapters as I write so I can easily switch chapters around. I delete chapters that aren’t adding anything to the storyline (or my editor will when she gets her hands on it!)

Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?

I am really lucky as I’ve made a really good friend – another writer that I met through a Facebook group. It turned out that we were both nurses, both from Dublin and both drove Ford Fiestas! Jenny O’Brien is my first reader – and I am hers – we are both strictly honest with each other and I trust her completely.

Amazon Author Page

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