Many times an author is asked, “Have you always been interested in writing?” Well, for Valerie the answer is no. In high school she had an English teacher who required students to read their essays aloud, and then she’d critique them in front of the class. As you can imagine, this was not a pleasant experience.
It took a long time for Valerie to try her hand at writing for pleasure. When the family returned to Texas from missionary work in Rhodesia, Valerie completed a correspondence course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. That got the juices flowing, but she began her teaching career, and with family and church work, writing took a back seat.
Years later, when the kids were teenagers, she purchased a word processor, and that’s when the writing bug bit her. She has been writing ever since. Now, her motto is to write, write, write. Write what’s on your heart. Writing is like any other skill—it takes practice. When you want to learn to play tennis, you can read all the how-to books, but you’ll never become a good player until you get out and play. Same with writing. You can read all the craft books published, attend writers’ conferences all year long, but the only way to improve is to write.