Valerie Frankel was born at an early age. Once a professor at San Jose State University, she does storytelling for kids and has taught most grades, from kindergarten through high school. She's the author of a dozen books and over a hundred published stories and articles. After earning a B.A. at UC Davis, she became the youngest person ever to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree from San Jose State University, an event that has earned her only limited wealth and success.
She enjoys dancing, acting, and costuming in what little remains of her spare time, and reads a novel every day, just for fun. She would have gone crazy long ago, except for her collection of singing potatoes.
Valerie Estelle Frankel is the author of many nonfiction books:
Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey· From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine’s Journey in Myth and Legend· Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in The Hunger Games· Winter is Coming: Symbols, Portents, and Hidden Meanings in A Game of Thrones· Winning the Game of Thrones: The Host of Characters and their Agendas· Doctor Who: The What Where and How· Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC’s Series 1-3· Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity, and Resistance1.Do you prefer to read YA or NA?
YA has a lot of vivacity lately with the Hunger Games/Mortal Instruments/steampunk books. While I loved all of these, I can’t think of much NA that’s made such a big impression. Though dystopias where they’re ALL a sixteen-year-old girl coping with a screwed up world get a bit repetitive.
2.What motivated you to follow your dreams and become an author?
I’ve always been obsessed with books. I wrote my first novel at 16 and tried traditional publishing. That didn’t work out (and it wasn’t very good) but by the time I was done with grad school, I’d been studying creative writing for six years and done lots of practicing. Basically, by that point I was writing every day, and my path became quite set. Then, more work and rejections as I published a hundred short stories and spent lots of time on the traditional route. Finally I self-published a couple Harry Potter parodies, then traditionally published a guide to the heroine’s journey (my book that gets me the most fan mail and appreciation now). In 2012 I tried Createspace and self-published a Hunger Games guide (analyzing the Roman and flower names and their significance). When it sold in giant amounts, I realized I’d found a workable model for other books and followed this with analysis of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Buffy, Firefly, Sherlock… I now have about 40 of them.
3.Doctor Who companion or Marvel Super hero?
Well, not Black Widow or Jessica Jones or Wasp or Scarlet Witch. So no one from the films. Depends which superhero I expect. On the other side, even as humans, those companions seem to have an awful lot of fun…Being Buffy would be the most awesome, I think.
4.There's a lot of controversy about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, though self-publishing is becoming more widely accepted. What are your thoughts on that matter?
I haven’t made a firm decision, as shown by my books still being half and half. Traditional gets a bit more respect, but the editing and publicity and all the aspects that USED to be major draws have vanished (or perhaps it’s that my gang of pop culture publishers aren’t the big five in New York). So there’s increasingly less of a difference. Traditional also offers help with cover, title, and those choices…which can be a plus – or not. My worst covers are from two of my traditional publishers, though two others have provided some of my best.
5.If you could hang out with a fictional character who would it be?
The Scarlet Pimpernel. Breathtaking series and character.
6.What is the best piece of advice you received so far?
Since you can’t please everyone, write to please yourself. That way at least one person will like it. And people with similar tastes to yours will like it too.