Interviewing October’s SBW Talkbooks guest author, Valerie Estelle Frankel, was fun. We talked about her book, A Girl’s Guide to The Heroine’s Journey, in the Sycamore Room, at the new meeting location in the Santa Clara library. For Valerie, this was like coming home: she grew up in the old library building, reading every folktale in the kids’ section. If you could count the number of times she has retold those stories, you would see how she has become a prolific writer. As of October 2015, she has published 38 books, one of which is always free. Read on to find out her recipe for writing ten books a year.
In A Girl’s Guide to The Heroine’s Journey, Valerie Frankel takes us on a journey through 17 myths of the heroic woman from around the world. African, Asian, Australian, European, Native American (North And South America), and Oceanic stories are re-told, examined, and discussed in detail. Whether you are 7 or 77, new to a spiritual path or have been practicing your spiritual path for years, this book will help you find or enhance your own personal Heroine’s Journey. Envigorate your own life’s journey with lessons from ancient tales of feminine power and adventure. Find your inner strength and courage to face all of life’s challenges. Enjoy the activities given with each story to help bring the Heroine’s Journey alive in your life. Within these pages, the myths of the Sacred Feminine come alive once more. Mingle their life with your own, and unite yourself with the heroines of old once again!
Q: How did you become interested in mythology?
At less than age five, I was telling folktales on the playground, and literally all my life. At age five I knew that Cinderella, and the ones that Disney had tackled, were boring ones that everyone knew and I wanted something more exotic. So I was reading all those books that have titles like Scottish Folk Tales or Chinese Fairytales. That’s the area of the kids’ library that I would head down.
Q: A Girl’s Guide to the Heroine’s Journey, includes many very interesting activities for girls. What is your target audience?
Around 8-12 years.
What happened was in 2010, I published From Girl to Goddess, and while it’s very popular, it’s how the Heroine’s Journey works for adults, using all the world mythology. I have a number of people come up to me at conferences, and say “What’s the age range on that?” And I would sit there going, uh, considering all the sex and violence in the uncensored mythology that went into that book, “Maybe 15 and up… adult.”
So finally, in 2013, my answer was, “But now, I have a kiddy version as well,” referring to “A Girl’s Guide.” This younger version is G-rated and acceptable for any age, yeah, 8-12.
From Girl to Goddess, was written for older kiddies, because I am analyzing the myths, and you can only go so young with: Let me explain all these facts for you on what this fairy tale means. I bring in Jungian analysis and story patterns but keep it light.
I’ve written the Heroine’s Journey in a lot of my books: in my Buffy book, in my essays Katniss the Cattail and the Golden Compass, Narnia, and why Harry Potter isn’t, Mortal Instruments, and Outlander; I’ve applied it a lot.
Q: Amazon says you have written 38 books!! How have you found time for that? Do you write every day, like a full time job? If so, how do you keep up your enthusiasm?
I do write every day as a full time job. Alright, here’s my day, I like to get up at 8 am. I wake up, I lie there, I promise myself junk food and caffeine if I cross the room and go to the computer and start typing things. That really works. Occasionally I am excited about continuing wherever I had stopped the night before and remind myself of that. But mostly the first thought is, “Yeah, you can lie here, but junk food and caffeine are by the computer,” and off I go. I write for a few hours. and then after maybe three hours I’m desperate for a break, because the back and the eyes are sore, or I get sleepy. So I’ll do something else, read a book for research or watch TV lately for research, exercise bike or get out for a few hours of tutoring, or grocery shopping or library books. Then more writing, alternating through the day. Even if I get back home by 9 pm, or worse, if I’m not zonked, I’ll write on the computer for an hour or three. And that’s my day. And then the next day I get up and do it all again. This adds up to roughly ten books a year. Although I should say to all the jealous writers out there, that non-fiction is easier to do than fiction. So that’s part of my secret.
Note: This year Valerie has published ten e-books, eight paperbacks, and seven audio books. Some of the audio books are from a previous year’s work. Generally, the audio books take from one to two months to be made. Valerie stated that she likes to use acx.com for audio books.
Q. So what’s next?
A. I’m usually working on several books at once! There’s a free Holiday Guide to Comic Books and Superheroes that will help in buying girl power titles for gifts (up on legendarywomen.com where I guest-blog). I’m editing two anthologies of essays on “Outlander,” one on Joss Whedon, and one on modern women poets. (I had only planned on doing one of these projects, but the others were kind of handed to me, all overlapping.) I just published two books on the ABC show “Castle.” Mostly I’m working on “Superheroes and the Heroine’s Journey”–a gargantuan, out-of-control book that’s 150,000 words that I really need to wrap up and turn in. I’ve been studying comic books for six months for this one, mostly because I’m interested in the intellectual question! And in the real world, I was just hired to teach two classes at Mission College, starting Monday. So life is busy all around! Happy writing to all and to all a good night.
Valerie Estelle Frankel has won a Dream Realm Award, an Indie Excellence Award, and a USA Book News National Best Book Award for her Henry Potty parodies. She’s the author of many books on pop culture, including Doctor Who – The What, Where, and How, Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC’s Series 1-3, History, Homages and the Highlands: An Outlander Guide, and How Game of Thrones Will End. Many of her books focus on women’s roles in fiction, from her heroine’s journey guides From Girl to Goddess and Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey to books like Women in Game of Thrones and The Many Faces of Katniss Everdeen. Once a lecturer at San Jose State University, she’s a frequent speaker at conferences. Come explore her research at http://www.vefrankel.com.
Valerie’s books and the “Free Guide to Self-Publishing and Book Promotion: Inside Secrets from an Author Whose Self-Published Books Sold in Thousands,” a Kindle Edition, can be found on Amazon and Smashwords.