What are your published works, and what are you working on?
The first series that I started was a Scifi space opera called Illuminating the Darkness. I have two books published on that series. I started the story on my first deployment in the navy. It gets a bit racy at times, is written in present tense and in first person, which is unusual for most in that genre. You follow Jacob, a human who has been bestowed a gift by an advanced alien race to combat the Darkness that has slowly imbalanced the universe. It was a fun write and I thoroughly enjoyed creating the worlds and characters. However, once I finished book two in the trilogy I found that I needed to step away from it for a while to improve my writing. I also hoped to get a fresh look at it when I returned. I wanted to finish it the way that it should be written and I didn’t think that I was ready to do that yet.
In my down time away from the first series, I started a zombie apocalypse series The Azrael. This is the book series that I am currently working on. I have finished writing five books in the series while only three are out for purchase. Again, I found myself writing while on long underways or on deployment in the navy. The Azrael follows a group of survivors in Chicago. The Highwaymen have been tasked with scavenging resources beyond the safety of the Chicago walls all while studying the habits of the Azrael. Those infected with the Azrael virus are called Azrael because they are not just zombies. These creatures are evolving consistently to survive and spread the virus. As the story unfolds, the truth behind the evolution of the virus is discovered. Nobody is safe from these monsters and those that are immune just end up as a quick meal.
If someone was just hearing about you for the first time what 1 thing would you want them to know?
I have lots of ideas and not enough time to get them out of my head.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No, surprisingly. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University years ago for an Art degree. I wanted to design video games or make a living doing computer graphic type art. While in one of my classes, I created characters and worlds that where so unique and beautiful that I had to write a story about them. Unfortunately, I never pursued further and those dreams went on the wayside as with most things that befall art students. I wrote songs, sang them and created music to accompany them. I enjoyed creating things no matter the medium. It wasn’t until I joined the navy and was given the boredom of doing absolutely nothing that it inspired me to jot a few thoughts down. It started with poetry. Before I knew it, my imagination created my first story, Illuminating the Darkness.
What has been the biggest adventure of your life?
Joining the Navy at thirty when life didn’t quite pan out for my family and me. We’ve been dislocated to Washington State from our home in Virginia. I’ve met people from all over the country and the world since I’ve been in. I love visiting new places but I miss home and look forwarded to returning to Virginia in the fall of this year.
If zombie apocalypse were to happen tomorrow would you be prepared?
Honestly, I am uncertain that we would be ready. I have a bug out bag in one of my vehicles with survival type gear inside but I don’t have any firearms. I think I would need a weapon like that to keep them at a distance. I do have military training to use a m9 service pistol and a m16. In the end, I doubt we’re emotionally ready for something that traumatizing.
What 3 things do you feel everyone should have to be ready for a survival situation?
The Basics, access to renewable food, water and shelter.
Who would you want with you if civilized society fell apart?
Obviously, my family but Giselle and Mario from The Azrael Series would be a nice addition.
What 2 books would be in your bug out bag, knowing you would have to read them over and over?
I have this survival book in my bug out bag written by a green beret. The other book would be the bible, plenty of wisdom and stories that I can entertain my children.
If we were thrown into the dark ages what would you miss most?
Clean water, electricity and the internet. However, you can always figure out ways of making clean water and your own form of electricity with generators and other clean energy sources. The internet is by far the most useful in this day in age. It has answers to almost anything you would want to ask at your fingertips. It also is a way to communicate with anyone from across the globe.
What is the most surprising fact about you?
Anything to do with the arts. I can sing, dance, draw and write yet to look at me those wouldn’t be the first things you’d expect. I tend to hide my creativities and save the real me for those I feel deserve my energy.
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Valerie Lioudis is the co-author of Aftershock: A Collection of Survivors Tales available on Amazon.