- a determined writer, avid gamer, and lover of all things fantasy
Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
V. M. Nelson is a paranormal/fantasy fiction writer who lives in Minnesota, U.S.A. She writes upper young adult paranormal, and urban fantasy with a touch of romance thrown in.
V.M. resides in Minnesota with her partner and three children. She has always had an obsession with myths, legends, and fairytales. If asked, she would prefer to live in an alternate universe with vampires and fairies.
When she isn’t writing, she’s working as an accountant, spending time with family, or playing video games such as World of Warcraft. She also loves her writing sidekick, Coco, the cat.
V.M., thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
This is tough because I want all the pets. If I could only pick one, it would be a dragon hawk. I love video games. My favorite all-time game is World of Warcraft. For a long time, I played a blood-elf hunter, because one, you can run around with a bow and arrow, and who doesn’t love an elf running around with a bow? One word, Legolas. More importantly, you collected pets to fight by your side.
The reason I would choose a dragon hawk over every other pet is that it’s smaller than a dragon but just as fierce with its fire breath. Plus, the dragon hawk has a cool ombre look to it.
I played Warcraft for several years, myself. More of a gnome warlock, though. My mom’s still playing, but looking for a guild. What a great choice!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
Currently, I am writing young adult urban fantasy/paranormal. There is something about paranormal creatures living in the human world that entices me. I sometimes think that I might have been a witch or a mermaid in a past life. Could be possible, right?
Then there are vampires. How much time do we have? I love them all, evil ones, swoon-worthy ones, silly ones, all of them. There is one book to blame for my fixation. I read Bunnicula when I was a little girl, and I remember thinking vampires were the most interesting creatures around. As a young impressionable girl—who already had a thing for rabbits—I became obsessed with vampire bunnies.
I also write short stories. The Dhampyr series I’m working on started out as a short story about a girl trying to survive one night in a city riddled with monsters. To see how it molded into a minimum of three books blows my mind.
I’ve been a storyteller since I was young. It was the 80s; I was thirteen, and I would sit on the phone with my girlfriends, telling stories. Most of them were about what would happen when we married our favorite member of New Kids on the Block, but they were stories that went on for hours. When I went to high school, I turned away from writing because all my teachers would tell me how talented I was in math. One even trusted me to tutor geometry. Math was easy for me. My late twenties was when I realized I wanted to make the shift from reader/storyteller to writer. I wrote my first manuscript when I was thirty. I heard about NaNoWriMo and thought to myself, I like chasing goals. Game on.
Sixteen years later, here I am, shifting myself away from my accounting job and fully submerging myself into writing.
I’m a NaNoWriMo writer myself. So glad you found your way to writing.
What do you like to read?
I gravitate toward paranormal and fantasy books. Big surprise, but I will read anything. Young adult, new adult, or adult doesn’t matter to me. Some of my favorite books are the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Most recently, I read the Raven series by J L Weil, which I enjoyed, and Bianca Scardoni’s Marked series—team Dominic all the way.
Another series I am looking forward to is The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. If I were to time travel, I would want to run around Scandinavia and observe Vikings. Possibly from a distance. I don’t know how to wield a sword. Hmmm… maybe I should learn. Someone will one day figure out time travel, I am sure of it.
The joy of being a fan of paranormal and fantasy — we tend to read in series.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
They aren’t bad. They serve a purpose. It just doesn’t work for me in the conventional way.
Someone once told me I couldn’t write a series without an outline. So, I tried to outline my series. I muddled through it so I could see the big picture. What happened was I spent more time rearranging my outline than writing. By the time I was done, I didn’t want to write anymore, and the story has developed so much from the initial outline that I decided no more of that.
Now I do summaries of each chapter in an excel spreadsheet after I finish my first draft. This has helped me to find plot holes or important situations that may be lacking. For example, as I wrote Hunted, I wanted to remember how many fight scenes I wrote and how spaced apart they were, so I made a column in my excel and looked for big gaps in the pacing.
You’re far from alone with that reaction to outlining.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands
Read your work out loud.
I didn’t understand why this was so important, but I kept hearing it from multiple writers. I gave in and read my entire book out loud. There is a flow I look for when writing and reading it aloud helped me find the areas which weren’t as strong as I liked.
Besides reading out loud, when I put the book out on a beta reader app, there is a play button so you can listen to the book. Listening to the book—even in a robotic voice—helped me find a few repetitive words and any missing words.
So critical! It’s part of the reason I’ve gotten into attending my local writer’s open mic night.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
I am working on an urban fantasy series about dhampyr—half-vampire/half-human—sisters. Out, just in time for Halloween! Expect to see books 2 and 3 in 2023.
Hunted (The Dhampyr Series #1)
Tasi, an eighteen-year-old, headstrong, blood-drinking, dhampyr, has been hidden away in a small town in Maine since the death of her parents. Though she had trained to fight and kill vampires, she never believed those skills would be useful in her mundane life. That’s where she’s wrong.
In one moment, her life changes forever, and her aunt’s final words ring in her head.
They want your blood.
Now orphaned and charged with protecting her sister, Emily—a sister who doesn’t know what they are or that she’s about to endure a life-threatening change—Tasi has no other choice but to follow directions left for her. She is to find an ally who lives in New York City. This is the only way Tasi will figure out why she and Emily are being hunted before they end up drained of their blood.