Please help me welcome Valerie Taylor to the blog this week. We chat about her debut novel, What’s Not Said.
Author Name: Valerie Taylor
Book Title: What’s Not Said
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Publisher: She Writes Press
Please describe What’s Not Said.
When a middle-aged woman learns her husband has a life-threatening illness, the secret lives they lead collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA, forcing her to decide whose life to save—her husband’s or her own.
How long did it take you to write What’s Not Said? Did you do any research?
The idea for What’s Not Said rattled around in my head for more than a decade, with horribly disappointing starts and stops. In 2017, a year after I retired, I decided to either sit down and write the story or perhaps take up knitting. Giving it one more college try, I found a self-paced online novel writing course, jumped over my hurdles, and wrote the draft in about eight months.
In the process, there were three aspects of the book that I researched.
First, the antagonist needed a life-threatening disease. After checking out a few, I landed on chronic kidney disease and just read about it. Since I wanted to keep references to it at a high level, the Google machine gave me everything I needed.
The second area I researched was the hospital setting. At first, it was MassGeneral, but I killed that idea because it’d been years since I’d been there, and I feared readers would catch me on details that were no longer accurate. So, I fictionalized Boston Clinic. To bring the hospital scenes to life, I binge-watched episodes of Gray’s Anatomy; mostly the early years when George Clooney starred…for obvious reasons.
Lastly, there’s a revealing scene in Venice. Describing Venice was easy since I treated myself to a retirement trip there in 2016. I returned in July of 2019 before I submitted the final manuscript to the publisher, She Writes Press, with the intention of editing that scene if necessary. Surprisingly, it wasn’t.
What drew you to the women’s fiction genre?
For most of my life, I classified books the way we’re taught in elementary school—as either fiction or non-fiction. When I started to write What’s Not Said, I knew it was fiction, a novel; not giving any thought beyond that. But that changed when I began the querying process, realizing agents needed more specificity. That’s when I discovered I’d written women’s fiction. Who knew?
In retrospect, I’ve realized I wrote What’s Not Said for the 75 million mature women looking for stores with relatable characters. Why can’t an older woman be with a younger man? Wouldn’t the movie Something’s Gotta Give have been more fun if Diane Keaton rode off with Keanu Reeve instead of Jack Nicholson?
Apparently, I’ve struck a chord because several readers have commented that they appreciate, and are enjoying, reading a story about women who are not in their twenties or thirties.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read What’s Not Said?
I think I’ll let the exciting words of one reader explain why everyone should read What’s Not Said. On Halloween, I received this review:
“This book reminds me of the little bit of summer I got to enjoy at a water park. You wait on line to get on this ride, your heart is racing, you are excited, you finally get on the ride, and you have this feeling this ride is going to be so much fun. Then it starts off. Some parts of the ride are not as enjoyable, then some parts just make you scream and your heart is going CRAZY, you feel like it’s about to come out of your chest. Then the ride ends and you are like, WOW, we need to get on more of THOSE types of rides.”
What’s Not Said is the first wild ride in a series. The sequel, What’s Not True, will be published by She Writes Press in August 2021. Why wait to catch the wave next summer, when you could enjoy it now!
Are you working on a new project?
As I’m putting the manuscript for What’s Not Trueto bed, I’m also knee deep into the third book in the series. At the same time, I planning to complete a mostly true story about a brave Turkish woman who emigrates to the foreign land known as America after she marries a man she hardly knew. Beyond those two projects that are in progress, my next major endeavor will be a cozy mystery, or two, or three. Stay tuned!
Where can readers find you? Website, social media, upcoming events.
Besides being an author, I’m a published book reviewer. Readers can go to www.valerietaylorauthor.com to read more about me, my books, and my reviews.
I’ve challenged myself to meet with 21 book clubs by the end of 2021. I’d be tickled pink to meet with book clubs anywhere in the world at their convenience. Just email me at valmtaylor@gmail to set a date.
As a matter of fact, What’s Not Said has been chosen a Finalist as one of the Top 3 Best Fiction Books of 2020 for Canadian Book Clubs. In addition, What’s Not Said has been named an Official 2021 International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club Selection.
I’d be honored for readers to follow me:
Thank you, Sarahlyn, for the opportunity to showcase What’s Not Said!
Thank YOU, Valerie! What’s Not Said is out now.
What’s Not Said is a fun and twisty story about Kassie O’Callaghan, a middle-aged woman on a mission to divorce her emotionally abusive husband and start a new life with a younger man she met while on a solo vacation in Venice. When she learns her husband has chronic kidney disease, her plans collapse until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.
Then again, Kassie is no angel. The separate lives they lead collide head-on into a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. As she helps her husband find an organ donor, Kassie uncovers a secret, forcing her to decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own.
Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer.
After her divorce, she spread her wings and relocated her career to Boston and then to Seattle. When she retired, she resettled in her home state to be near her two grown children and granddaughter.
She’s a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.
What’s Not Said (She Writes Press) is her debut novel. Its sequel, What’s Not True (She Writes Press), will be published in August 2021.