Author Guest Post: Vali Benson

Hello, everyone! This week’s post is a bit different from what I normally write about. Today, I bring you an interview with author Vali Benson, who published her first novel Blood and Silver last year. Hope you guys enjoy the very first author interview on this blog! ❤

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Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Vali: I grew up in the Midwest and as a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in retail, my husband and I moved to Arizona as newlyweds. I started and sold two successful businesses after which I decided to pursue my real passion of writing. Blood and Silver is my first book and was published in April of 2020. I currently live in Tucson with my husband, two sons and two grandchildren.

How did you get into writing? Which authors/books inspired you to write?

Vali: I didn’t really get into writing. I have felt that I was a writer since the time that I could hold a pencil. Even as a child, I knew that reading was the most precious gift in the world because it enables the reader to be transported to anytime or anywhere. I wanted to be able to gift that to other people. I would have to say that Gone with the Wind had a profound effect on me as I girl. I was, and still am, totally enamored with Margaret Mitchell’s use of imagery.

What is your writing process like?

Vali: My process is not a profound one. The first step is to choose a topic that you absolutely feel passionate about. If you don’t care about what you’re writing, nobody else will either. After I have a premise, I then move into research. Research is my favorite part of the process and by far the most time consuming. At some point, you just have to make up your mind that you have enough to confidently craft a story. In my experience, I begin the actual writing using my research as a reference and don’t worry if I have a fully formed conception or not. I firmly believe in the Jodi Picoult approach, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Again, if you are passionate about your subject, your research will help form the type of setting that you are interested in exploring.

What inspired you to write Blood and Silver?

Vali: Once when I had severe writers block, a great teacher told me, “Write about what’s in your own backyard.” I took my teacher’s advice and turned in an award-winning essay. That was the inspiration in writing Blood and Silver. The story takes place in Tombstone, Arizona. I have lived in Tucson, Arizona for many years. Tombstone is only forty five minutes down the road – practically backyard distance.

Describe Blood and Silver in five words or less.

Vali: Historical fiction steeped in perseverance.

What is the weirdest things you had to look up on the internet while researching for your book?

Vali: I would have to say the cuisine that constituted delicacies among the Chinese population in late 1800’s Tombstone. Such celebrated fare included recipes featuring monkey hands and kittens.

What is one underrated author/book/series that everyone needs to read and why?

Vali: It sounds cliché, but To Kill a Mockingbird by Nelle Harper Lee still holds up as an exceptional piece of writing. Its narrative development and character construction are, in my opinion, some of the best ever in the genre of fiction. The divisive element of race is also beautifully explored. Sadly, it seems that those controversial racial extrapolations are more relevant in today’s time than when it was written or the era in which it illustrates.

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Blood and Silver blurb!

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41YLEcb0n2L.jpgWhat is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

Where can I find more about the author/the book?

You can find Vali Benson:

www.valibenson.com
Twitter, @BensonVali
Facebook

You can find Blood and Silver:

Goodreads
Amazon

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Stay awkward and amazing! ❤

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