What are your published works, and what are you working on?
I have a non-fiction book called Death Sucks, Life Doesn’t Have To published. I also have two short stories in anthologies. Finally I have three books published in a dystopian series. The first one is called Wolves in the Woods. I am working on the fourth and final book in this series. Meanwhile, my agent is working on placing a middle grade fantasy book called, The Colors of a Mind and I have a zombie apocalypse book with my editor called, Vaxxers, due out this spring. I’m usually working on several books at the same time. That way there is always one ready to be pitched or published, one nearly ready and a work in progress.
If someone was just hearing about you for the first time what 1 thing would you want them to know?
My work tends to be dark and real. If you are not comfortable reading about real trials and hardships, my books are probably not for you. Even my children’s books face issues like bullying and overcoming fears. This comes from my own dark times and hardships. Don’t worry though, most of my books have a good outcome in the end.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I guess my answer would be that I always was a writer. I didn’t know that until later though. I started my first book when I was fifteen. It took me ten years to finish it. When I did, I realized how much I enjoyed writing and started my Wolves series just for fun. It never occurred to me to publish it until my mom and oldest brother both told me I should try. It took me two years to get a “yes” from a publisher. Now, writing is my happy place and a huge part of who I am.
What has been the biggest adventure of your life?
By far the hardest and best thing I have ever done is having kids. My kids are now ten and eight. A girl and a boy. Both of whom have sensory issues. I homeschooled them for five years. So they are a huge part of my life. Every day is a new challenge, laugh and adventure. My mom always says that children are sent to us perfect, our job as parents is just to not screw them up. That about sums it up!
If zombie apocalypse were to happen tomorrow would you be prepared?
Yes actually. We live in the country. I love to can fruits and vegetables. My husband is a hobby farmer. So we have cattle, chickens and lots of land and water. Our neighbors are Amish and their community is extremely efficient. Can you tell we have thought about this before?
What 3 things do you feel everyone should have to be ready for a survival situation?
Access to clean water or a way to get it. Something to protect themselves with. A way to get, grow or obtain a steady source of food. That’s one of the things I love about the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre. It strips away everything else and takes you back to basic survival. For better and worse.
Who would you want with you if civilized society fell apart?
My husband and children of course. Also, a prepper survivalist would be nice. But really, when it comes down to it, family would be my priority.
What 2 books would be in your bug out bag, knowing you would have to read them over and over?
Being a bit of a realist, I would want books on survival. Specifically, books on identifying, growing and preparing edible plants and a book on medicinal properties of plants and herbs. Both of which are already on my bookshelf. Along with many more.
If we were thrown into the dark ages what would you miss most?
A warm shower. I’m sure I would have other things to think about, but a simple, relaxing, warm shower would be the thing I missed the most. I try to remember that now and appreciate the simple comforts.
What is the most surprising fact about you?
On the outside, I come across as calm, compassionate and empathetic. In truth, I have been through a lot. My twin brother died from an accident with a handgun when we were fifteen. My husband nearly died the year after we were married. I had brain surgery in 2009 from a rare condition called Chiari Malformation. Due to that surgery, I lost my ability to read, write or see any type of screen for a time. Plus many other things. So, I am pretty tough and resilient. I don’t let anything stop me in my pursuits. I fall and suffer, but I get right back up and move forward. Which is why my writing is often dark, but happiness ultimately wins in the end.
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Valerie Lioudis is the co-author of Aftershock: A Collection of Survivors Tales available on Amazon.