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Writing under the pen name V.J.O. Gardner, Valerie is an award winning hybrid author of full length fractured fairy tale fantasy novels.
Always fascinated by both medieval times and sci-fi she was an avid reader and enjoyed a wide variety of literature and authors. She began writing in in the late 1980's after graduating from Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, where she studied Fantasy Lit and Writing. Valerie is a member of the League of Utah Writers, LDStoryMakers and the United Authors Association.
Valerie has been an invited panelist at Tree City Comic Con (Boise, ID.) and at Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT.) She also has been a panelist at several writers’ conferences including LTUE (Provo, UT.)
What makes you proud to be a writer from Springville, UT? I’m proud to be able to instill the good values I learned by living in Springville, UT, into my novels making them clean, family friendly books.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have always enjoyed writing. One day a little verse popped into my head: “In the silence there were voices. In the darkness there was light. In the stillness there was life. Yet he was lonely.” That verse begged me to write the story behind it.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I was brought up by parents that taught me to care about and respect others. Those values have been instilled into my writing.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I had actually written five books before my husband pushed be to pursue getting published.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The reward for me is to complete the story I am writing and complete the editing.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? To have ‘Dracona’s Rebirth’ accepted by Ink Smith Publishing was the most exciting and rewarding experience for me in my publishing journey.
How many published books do you have? 3
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I started with a working title, but chose the final title after the manuscript was completed.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Medieval Fantasy/Fractured Fairy Tales
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Servant Queen
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? When I began writing ‘Servant Queen’ I thought I would be continuing the story of the characters from ‘Dracona’s Rebirth’ but soon discovered that a new character would be the main character. I really have to go with what the characters are asking for me to write.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Try to see the world of your novel through the eyes of your characters.
Who is your favorite author and why? It is so hard to pick just one. I like different authors for different reasons and for the things I’ve learned from each of them. I would have to say that Anne McCaffrey inspired me by the personality she infused into her characters including the dragons.
Tales of Asculum Series Book Three (each book is a stand-alone story and can be read in any order).
As a physically and emotionally abused child, 18 year old Marriah has no idea what she will find when she escapes the village where she and her father are enslaved. She will encounter dragons and a group of people with magical talents after her father sacrifices himself when their master tries to make her his wife. Following her father’s wishes she seeks the Lords of Dracona. With their evil master hunting her down she runs guided by a mysterious voice. Unable to speak, even if she finds the men she seeks, how will she communicate with them or even trust them? She fears she will never be loved nor be able to love anyone in return even more than she fears being returned to the man who is pursuing her.
Even after meeting the handsome King Archelaus of Burton who treats her as his equal, she is still too wary to trust any man. While her physical wounds heal she learns to read and write. The world of Asculum will never be the same when Marriah uncovers a secret about her heritage that her father was willing to take to his grave.
Tales of Asculum Series Book Two (each book is a stand-alone story and can be read in any order).
As Eamon lay dying he made his dragon Haskell swear to watch over and guide his son Bryant. After Eamon’s death Haskell needs Bryant’s companionship as much as Bryant needs his, but Bryant needs more than a dragon’s company. Haskell knows Bryant needs both a mate and citizens for Dracona. His mate tells him that Dracona must be reborn or there won’t be anyone to care for the eggs for they are the last of the dragons. She tells him that Bryant is the one that will claim the enchanted sword that was forged centuries ago in dragon’s fire without it killing him, but first he must open his heart and accept his true heritage.
Bryant Donley is a man with a dark past. As the last lord of Dracona he rules over an empty kingdom. He is feared by the neighboring villagers and abandoned by his family. As Lord Dracona it is his duty to marry, but what woman would willingly accept his proposal and a future in a dead kingdom? When he investigates a campfire in his forest, he has no idea how much his life is about to change.
Sonje is the crown princess of her people who are in search of a new home before their valley is destroyed by volcanoes showing signs of erupting soon. While hiding from the man who murdered her mother Sonje’s father is bitten by a snake. The feared Lord Dracona demands that Sonje live with him in payment for saving her father’s life. When she arrives in Dracona she finds Lord Dracona to be both handsome and kind but is he the answer to her quest? The empty town needs citizens but when she meets Haskell she wonders how her people will feel about living with dragons.
Book Review: Great Love Story with Dragons
“The fantasy novel Dracona’s Rebirth has magic, dragons, and mind speaking between humans and animals. Bryant, bearer of the title Lord Dracona, is very lonely after his father’s death. He lives in an isolated castle with the dragons he has in his care. His mother, who lives in another village, encourages him to find a wife, but he does not want to bring a woman into his miserable, extended life. By chance, he meets Gwladys Sonje from Glynis when a snake bites her father. Bryant demands that she stay with him forever if he heals her father. The rest of the story is their love affair and his transformation from a lonesome dragon keeper to a strong king who leads two people. It is an enjoyable read, and I cannot wait to find out what will become of the dragon eggs and the blending of the Glynis and Merton people at Dracona.” Review by Kellie Hayden on December 20, 2014 (on Amazon)
Tales of Asculum Series Book One (each book is a stand-alone story and can be read in any order).
You would think the life of a prince would be great, but for the crown prince of Brinley that’s far from the truth. The only others near his age in the palace are children of the servants who all tease him for having no name. When he goes into the military he must conceal his identity but finally gains some friends. When he is sent to deliver a message to the overthrown tyrant King Burkhart he falls in love with the one woman he knows he can’t have.
Aurita knows everyone hates her and her father but everyone is forbidden to tell her why. What she does know is that for her and her father the village is their prison and to leave seals their deaths. King Langward controls their lives including who she will marry when she is of age but he is kind to her. When King Langward’s son sends her a gift her father teaches her to read and write so she can send him a note to thank him. They begin to exchange letters. As the years pass she looks forward to the letters she gets from the prince from doesn’t dare admit she has fallen in love with him. When she meets the handsome corporal sent to deliver a message to her father her heart is torn between him and the prince.
Book Review: “I love this book “Blood of Ancient King”. I do beleave it is the best book out there for anyone to read, I’m not a big reader, but I couldn’t put this book down, I’m excited to read the next book “Dracona’s Rebirth”. Thank you for writing such a touching story, You had me in tears of joy through the whole book.” Reviewed by Edward J. Hansen (Satisfied Husband, Father)