I am a fan of YA fantasy and talented young authors, and LA-based writer, film-making grad and video gaming expert Valerie Wicks personifies both. Valerie is the author of Seven Spectral: Into the Red World, her colorful debut novel (the first of seven in a series), featuring a strong flamed-haired heroine named Emerald Drizzleweather Bogwater (Emer for short), who takes us on an unforgettable quest into a new world to find her mother.
As Valerie’s book introduction reads, Emer has an unfortunate name, unfortunate red hair, and an unfortunate tendency to rebel. When she escapes her small green village to see the world, she discovers something she wasn’t bargaining for…a whole new one. Now she must solve the mystery of the Red World, before its dangers ensnare her forever.
One Amazon reviewer called Into the Red World a ” fun, fierce adventure set in an incredibly inventive world” while another said, “I can’t wait to see how Valerie Wicks progresses as a writer and what bizarre, beautiful worlds she will take us to with our plucky heroine, Emer!”
I knew I’d met a kindred spirit when I visited her author website and read these words: “My name is Valerie Wicks and I love worlds, characters and stories.”
The Marietta, Georgia, native, who now makes LA home, was set on a path to her first full-length novel on a visit home last year when she discovered some floppy disks containing fragments of seven different stories she had written as a child. Each was set in a different colored world.
“The writing reeked and the spelling…well…I wrote it when I was ten. But I still loved the idea so much that I brought it back to Los Angeles. A year later, I finished the first book,” recalls Valerie.
In December, Valerie gave back to her community at a special “Give the Gift of Reading” event at her local Barnes and Noble’s store at The Grove in LA. Many young people participated and Valerie did a reading and book signing benefiting 826LA, a non-profit organization devoted to improving literacy among students.
Below, read an excerpt of her debut book and a candid chat on what she hopes readers get out of her story and advice for other young writers. I wish this energetic and talented young storyteller every success. I enthusiastically recommend that you spend some time in her colorful world; I promise you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I did (and your kids will, too)!
Learn more about Valerie and her book series at www.sevenspectral.com, which features a cool book trailer and links for ordering this fun read on Kindle or in other formats.
Q. Who are you trying to reach with this novel? What message or universal truths do you want to get across to your readers?