today, Valerie Ullmer came by to talk a little about herself and present Reaper, the second book of the Dark Assassins series.
Do you have any quirky writing habits?
I don’t know if you would call it quirky, but there are several steps I have to go through before I start writing my book. I write out all the ideas I have for story, then I write what if questions to try and fill in the holes that bother me, and after that, I outline using plot points. All of this is written freehand. Once I am finished with my outline, I enter it into Scrivener and go over it to see if I am missing anything and only then do I start writing. Being so detailed oriented allows me to write the story faster and with fewer problems.
The biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer.
That if you want to be a writer, you have to write. For years, I studied different books on how to write a novel, how to be a romance writer, and everything under the sun on plotting, outlines, character arcs, you name it, I read about it. But it wasn’t until I sat down and wrote my first book (which I have to admit it was horrible), that I realized that the only way you become a writer is to just write. I still study material on writing, but nothing compares to putting something on the page.
I agree. I did the same, I studied the entire Write Great Fiction before I even opened my first Scrivener file–by the way, love Scrivener, huge fan. And when I’m in between stories, I study a book or two. But let’s put the hard work aside. Can you tell me a fun fact about writing your book?
Well my entire Dark Assassins series has a completely different spin than most paranormal romances. Vampires and shifters work together as immortal assassins, but they are also close to each other and care for one another. They are family to one another.
That is sweet! As we are running toward Christmas, I wonder what their gifts are… Something else about them?
Sure! While they feel a pull to their mates, there isn’t an instant connection or automatic knowledge that they are meant for one another.
What you struggle the most with when you write the story?
There is always a spot, usually around the first plot point or midpoint, when I notice there is a lack of conflict or tension between the characters. I have to take a couple of days to work through it, but my story is always stronger after. But it’s a little frustrating.
Which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
I would have to say action. It drives me nuts when I read over an action or fight scene and it makes no sense. Instead of writing too much, I tend to write very little and add more later. I end up with a scene that lacks flow, and it takes me a bit to fix it, but it’s worth it.
How do you keep from resenting your duties and every human’s sleeping requirement when you have to stop writing to take care of them?
I’m very lucky that I have such a supportive husband who encourages me and my writing. He also is very good and telling me when I need to quit or gives me encouragement when I need motivation to finish. Errands and other responsibilities make for a good break from sitting in front of the computer, but I usually wait until my husband is with me.
How true! Everybody at my Walmart knows me, and what is going on when I choose the longest line to pay and wait frowning. How long does it take you to write a story?
I learned the hard way to make an outline and to have as much information as possible before writing the story, so between outline and finishing the first draft, anywhere between 3 months for novellas or 6 for novels.
Same here. Now, let’s get to the quick ones. Pen or computer?
Pen for outlining and computer for writing.
Music or silence?
Music, silence drives me batty.
Ah ah, I love batty! It paints such a great picture! Alone or in public?
Alone, while I love music I can’t stand low-level conversation, it’s very distracting.
Routine or when inspiration struck?
Routine, every day, even on the weekends. It’s like my favorite quote about writing. “Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”
That’s a good one! I go by You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club. Now, If you were stranded on a deserted island and can have only 2 people with you, a person from your book and a person from any other book which would they be?
The only two people that come to mind is Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I think they are the epitome of love and it would be interesting to hear their conversations. I love the characters in all my books, but it would be hard to pick only two.
Wow, that’s a good couple, why didn’t I think of them? I always think in terms of Heroes and… Anyway. Have you ever found someone in a story who’s exactly like you?
To be honest, no, I’ve never met a character that resembled me, but I have read author interviews and I have noticed that I have a lot of qualities that other authors have. A wicked sense of humor, introverts, a love of reading, and a love of writing.
Valerie’s last story is Reaper, book two of A Dark Assassins Novel series.
A wolf-shifter and his powerful human.
Reaper had expected it to be an easy assignment. Break into a biotech facility with minimum security and rescue a group of immortals who were subject to deadly experiments and eliminate those who might try to fight back. But the moment he walked into the glass prison and spotted a human woman being held with the immortals, his mission changed.
She became his mission.
Before Reaper had a chance to explain that he was there to help her, she blinded him and the rest of his team and slipped away. Although she had escaped him, a protectiveness that he’d never felt washed over him, and he became determined to find her.
Ara has always depended on herself, but there was something about the shifter that made her want to trust him. She recognized him as someone who was capable of protecting her as well as understanding her secrets without turning her away, but before she could allow herself to trust him, she ran.
But with no resources and running out of ideas about how to protect herself, will she be able to lower her defenses and allow the shifter to help her?
All of his muscles locked down as he scanned her, making sure that she hadn’t been hurt. When he found her injury-free, he blew a sigh of relief.
Comparing the last memory he had of her, he took note that she had lost even more weight from her time on the run. Her body, clothed in scrubs that were similar to the pair she wore close to a month before, hung loosely on her curvy frame.
Before he could rein it in, a low growl of disapproval slipped past his lips. Either too tired or determined to get into the house, she missed the noise.
He kept his gaze on her as she ran up the porch and hesitated a moment, before she waved a hand in front of the door. When the door unlocked, she pushed her way in and closed it behind her. He heard the distinct click of the lock sliding back into place.
Although he wanted to rush after her, scoop her up, and take her home while she would be too tired to launch him down the block, instinct told him to wait. If he found her, then someone else could’ve as well.
Less than five minutes after she entered the house, a figure emerged from the woods several yards from where he stood. Without disguising his movements, the man ran up to the porch and jiggled the doorknob. His amateur actions covered the noise of Reaper’s advance.
As Reaper stood feet away from eliminating the new threat, a male voice erupted through the man’s earpiece, making the asshole jump. Reaper paused and listened to the angry voice.
“Have you got her yet?”
Instead of answering, the stupid git removed the offending object from his ear and stomped on it. “I’m going to kill that bitch when I get a hold of her.”
Reaper waited until the man went back to his futile attempt at picking the lock before he unsheathed a knife from his thigh. Not giving his target time to make any more progress on the lock, he stepped forward and wrapped a hand around the man’s mouth and nose, silencing his shout of surprise. Rage filled Reaper at how close this man had gotten to her. So with precise movements, he drove the knife into the man’s chest to the hilt and twisted. The man was dead within a matter of seconds.
He hid the body on the side of the porch. The bushes would prevent anyone from the street happening upon him. After the woman was secured in his home, he would call for a cleanup crew to make the body disappear.
Reaper hadn’t been surprised that they caught up to her, and he knew that this one man’s incompetence didn’t mean that whoever chased her would make the same mistake twice. He had to rush before the man in the earpiece realized that his colleague lay dead.
Stepping up to the door, he placed his hands, several inches apart, and pressed until the locks gave way. He slid inside without a sound before shutting the door. Taking a deep breath to get a trace on where she might have gone, he was surprised because it seemed as the entire house smelled of her. Light and sweet.
He darted from room to room. They were running out of time before they were discovered. Desperation clawed at his chest as he found each one empty. At the top of the stairs, he paused when a faint cry reached him. Unsure of where the sound came from, he wandered farther down the hall, hoping that the sound would repeat.
Mumbles and whines of pain came through the door farthest away from the master bedroom. As he opened the door, the floor beneath him started to shake, which intensified the closer he moved into the room. Not knowing what had caused the house to move, his need to protect her ramped up.
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview, and I’ll see you guys soon!