adult author Val Muller joins me today
to talk about her coming of age novel, The
Girl Who Flew Away.
Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card and a download code for The Girl Who Flew Away, a download code
for The Scarred Letter, a print copy
(US only) of The Man with the Crystal
Ankh, and an e-book of Corgi Capers:
Deceit on Dorset Drive, to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops and enter there, too.
writer, and editor, Val Muller grew up in haunted New England but now lives in
the warmer climes of Virginia, where she lives with her husband. She is owned
by two rambunctious corgis and a toddler. The corgis have their own page and
book series at www.CorgiCapers.com.
young adult works include The Scarred
Letter, The Man with the Crystal Ankh,
and The Girl Who Flew Away and
feature her observations as a high school teacher as well as her own haunted
New England past. She blogs weekly at www.ValMuller.com.
Welcome, Val. Please share a little bit
about your current release.
never fit in, and in the span of a week learns secrets about her family and her
lineage, and creates a few secrets of her own. It’s about addiction, adoption,
family, and friendship, blending the challenges of being a teenager with the
dangers of the wilderness.
What inspired you to write this book?
As a high school teacher, I see so many students who aren’t outgoing, who
aren’t the popular kids, who have these amazing interests that aren’t
necessarily mainstream—and yet somehow they seem convinced that their interests
and lives aren’t noteworthy. I created Steffie as an embodiment of those types
of kids. As she discovers the truth about her family, she learns the end route
of the path she is on—the path of low self-esteem and of trying to find
gratification in the approval of others. She learns that she is going down that
path, too, and has to decide whether she is willing and able to make necessary
changes. The more I thought about the book, the more I wondered how I as a
person could help others like her.
I’m exhausted and scared. Darkness has fallen, and everything takes on a
sinister shape. Car headlights seem to glare at me. Even strangers going in and
out of the stores look more dangerous.
back into the store, explaining everything to the clerk, and asking him to call
my parents. I look down at Sally’s dragonfly necklace. I wonder how many times
in Sally’s life she must have been scared and felt hopeless and had nowhere to
go. If she could do it, then the least I can do is spend a few extra hours
trying to rescue my friend. When a police car pulls into the convenience store
parking lot, I dash out of the way and resolve to make it to the park somehow.
I know it’s difficult for cars to see me now, so I keep way to the side of the
road. Before long, I get off my bike and walk. At the entrance to the park, I
realize the gate is locked: no one is admitted inside after dark. It’s a
chained fence meant to keep out cars, but I’ll be able to sneak in. I leave my
bike at the gate and climb over the barrier—and I’m in the park.
What exciting story are you working on
My next work is for my Corgi Capers series.
It’s a kidlit mystery that takes place in my most feared setting: winter! The
novel involves a terrible blizzard that separates and traps characters and
tests their limits. I procrastinated in writing it, but that turned out to be a
good thing: during our last historic blizzard, I went into labor with my
daughter, and I learned first-hand just how emergency responders react when the
roads aren’t plowed and someone needs to get to a hospital!
When did you first consider yourself a
in first grade we had to write a poem. I wrote mine complete with rhyme and
meter, and the first-grade teacher marched me to the front of the lunch line
and took the whole class to the fifth-grade wing. She had me read my poem to
the fifth-grade teacher, the one who everyone basically considered ruler of the
school. I remember my first-grade teacher waiting with me, nodding at the
reaction of the fifth-grade teacher. I knew then that I had to write.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I am a high school English teacher. Before my daughter was born, I got up early
and wrote in the hour or so before I had to get ready for work. Now, my
mornings are much less predictable. Sometimes if I get to work early, I’ll sit
in my car and write. Otherwise, I wait until the kiddo goes to bed and write in
the dark hours of the evening. Several of my editors have commented about the
fact that I seem to “know teenagers.” I guess I have my job to thank for that!
What would you say is your interesting
prefer to write out all my stories by hand, even novels. Once in a while, I’ll
think faster than I can write, and I’ll jump onto a keyboard. But for each
novel I write, I have at least one spiral notebook with scrawled stories on it.
I think much more creatively holding a pen than tapping on a keyboard. I guess
that explains my pen obsession. I have a wooden treasure box filled with pens.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
a writer! All of my elementary school teachers encouraged me to do so, but I
always thought it was something that simply happened passively. It wasn’t until
I graduated college that I realized to be a writer, one had to—well, write! On
a daily basis!
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
you for having me!