Today I welcome author Richard Valanga to my blog to discuss A Life in Books. Richard’s latest book Complex Hell has just been published.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
I have been writing now for nine years now and I have four books published – Complex Heaven, Complex Hell, Complex Shadows and Blind Vision (a Young Adult novel.) I also have Blood Miracle and The Sunderland Vampire published on Wattpad. I was working on the third book in my Blood Miracle trilogy when I was nearly killed in a road accident, there was no crash but I was one second away from certain death. This brush with death gave me the idea for Complex Heaven which I describe as an autobiographical ghost story as I am the main character narrating the story.
Complex Hell developed from an unfinished storyline in Complex Heaven and is the conclusion to the story of the young girl called Rose. The story is set in Washington.
Complex Shadows is the third book in the series and explains why my family becomes entangled with the evil Dark Conscious. The second part of the book contains wartime memoirs of my father Charles who fought in Burma during World War Two. The hellish war experiences of my father become crucially integral to the complex story-line .
I am currently working on a paranormal murder mystery set in Rome and also the sequel to Blind Vision.
I was interviewed recently by the radio station Bishop FM and I currently have two book signings arranged in Sunderland: Sunderland Community Library 30 September 11am-1pm: Sunderland City Library 31 October 2.30pm.
What was your favourite book from childhood?
My favourite childhood books were books about the Norse and Greek myths which I would go and get myself from the library. These stories really resonated with my youthful imagination and also with Stan Lee’s I guess with The Mighty Thor. My future as a Marvel fan was sealed.
What type of books did you read as a teenager?
As a teenager I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a book called The Psycho (I think) which was a very sinister, psychological read. I have looked for this book for years.
What was you favourite book you studied at school?
At school I did not enjoy any of the exam books but now I understand that Grapes of Wrath is a classic.
What is your favourite classic book?
My favourite classic book would probably be Dracula or maybe Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Great Expectations. Dracula is a rich gothic delight and like Frankenstein, a story that was ahead of its time probably.
What would you consider to be one of the best books you have read in the last five years?
One of the best books that I have read recently is the Man Booker prize winner, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I read this as research for my novel Complex Shadows and enjoyed it immensely. Flanagan is an amazing author and his descriptive prowess in this story is unbelievable. Life of Pi by Yann Martel was amazing too I think I should add.
What book do you think you should read but never get around to?
Books I should read would probably include more by Murakami or Jack Kerouac, On the Road or maybe something by Charles Bukowski, I do have Ham on Rye.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book? This is a hard question – I loved Stephen King’s recent time travel epic 11/22/63 and The Narrow Road to the Deep North but Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice was an amazing read.
Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
I usually do try and stick with a book once started; I do not recall ever bailing out on a book but I suppose I must have, maybe that is why I do not remember them.
If you were stranded on a desert island which two books would you take?
Memnoch the Devil is a great theological epic full of mystery and questions, so that might keep my belief alive that someone would answer my prayers and rescue me from the desert island. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is about survival in the most desolate of situations so I guess that would keep my spirits and hopes alive on the island too. It is also a love story so I would probably imagine that someone was waiting for me, a reason to survive.
Kindle or Book?
Book, hands down, pages open – I stare at the computer screen enough when typing up my own stories.
Richard’s books are available to buy now.