Val Tobin

Profile and Background – I’m a Canadian living in Newmarket, Ontario. After studying a semester of book editing and design in college, I got married and had kids. When the kids started school, I began working on a general arts BA. I then switched to Computer Information Systems and, following that, worked for ten years as a software and web developer.

During that time I also wrote articles and did the editing for Community MX, an online tech site with a focus on Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver. I became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher in 2004. Then I acquired ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii from Doreen Virtue, PhD.

My fascination with the paranormal led me to work on a bachelor of science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007, and I received my degree in September 2010. Then I studied parapsychology at AIHT and received my masters in it.

At the end of October 2008, I returned to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the Spiritual Writing workshop and the Mediumship Certification class. During this time, I wrote freelance for online magazine Suite101 and was Topic Editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.

I published my first novel in 2013 and have a lengthy backlist of titles in a variety of genres.

Why? – My dream has always been to write novels. I love to read, and I love to write, and I’ve always found fiction inspiring. My favourite book, ever since I first read it when I was fourteen, is The Lord of the Rings.

I wrote The Valiant Chronicles, starting with The Experiencers, as an epic thriller with multiple characters and a there-and-back-again mission that ends with the main characters growing and evolving into better versions of themselves. I enjoy reading multi-faceted stories and that’s what I prefer writing. The Valiant Chronicles stories have layers most readers will only discover on subsequent reads.

When? – I’ve always written ever since I could read and studied the craft in my spare time from the time I was in high school.

Where? – The magic happens in an office on the main floor of my house. Until the pandemic hit, the office had no door. When the quarantine started here in Ontario, one of the first things my husband did after he was laid off work was put a door on the office for me. I think that’s what’s keeping our marriage together through the coronavirus pandemic.

What? – I write in a variety of genres: SF, horror, romantic suspense, thriller. Hopefully, readers will agree they’re all stories worth losing sleep over.

How? – I try to plan each story in detail but allow myself to veer off the path as I get to know my characters. As long as I hit the highlights I’ve planned, it works out without a ton of rewriting. I’m a mix of plotter and pantser. Six to ten beta readers review the second draft for me and provide feedback, and then I revise and prep it to send to my editor. Depending on how clean it is, it might take multiple edits/proofreads after that.

Writer’s Block? – I might get hung up if I paint myself into a plot corner, and then I must take some time to figure out how to get myself and my characters out of it. But I’m never at a loss for ideas. They come to me even when I’m in the midst of working on a project.

Other Interests? – Reading and writing are my life, but I also enjoy working with the metaphysical practices I’ve studied over the years. I used to do Reiki and oracle card readings as a business, and I’ve incorporated some of what I’ve learned into my stories.

Carolyn Fairchild in the Valiant Chronicles and Viktoria Kovacs in Walk-In are both psychic readers. The walk-in in my story is based on the new-age concept, which most people aren’t familiar with. It’s basically one soul leaving the body and another soul entering it to take over the exiting soul’s life. It’s by mutual agreement, though, for my story, I put an evil spin on it.

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