Interview with Valerie Taylor, Author of What’s Not Lost

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write What’s Not Lost?

Readers who made Bridget Jones’s Diary popular in the 1990s inspired me to write WHAT’S NOT LOST. Fast forward thirty years, these women and men now want to read stories featuring relatable characters in mature relationships. That’s why, I created fifty-something Kassie O’Callaghan who struggles to balance her professional ambitions with her desire for happily ever after. Much like Bridget Jones, Kassie confronts her yearnings with both honesty and humor.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of What’s Not Lost, what would they be?

For something special, I included a playlist in the back of WHAT’S NOT LOST. Readers say they enjoy listening to it as they journey through the story. Several songs could serve as Kassie’s theme song; however, I think as a hopeless romantic, she would pick Till There Was You by The Beatles. Here’s the link to the playlist. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Don’t laugh. WHAT’S NOT LOST is classified often as romantic comedy, contemporary romance, or women’s fiction. Yet, my two favorite genres to read are historical fiction and mystery/thriller. Though I read a wide variety, including non-fiction. Imagine that!

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

There’s not enough room here to list all the books on my TBR pile right now. So, here are three. The Lincoln Conspiracy by Amor Towles. And There Was Light by Jon Meacham. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Good thing I’ll be reading more of Ms. Christie soon, as I’ve started writing a cozy mystery series, and I need all the guidance I can get!

It may look like I only read well-known authors. But that’s not true. I also read a lot of relatively new authors, but it would not be fair to all of them for me to list just a few here. There are incredible writers penning insightful, entertaining, and binge-worthy books these days. I want to read them all.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Hands down, the Prologue in WHAT’S NOT LOST was my favorite scene to write. I’m thrilled that readers universally love it, as well. Which is great, because prologues are often criticized. If I say too much, it’d be a spoiler. What I can say is that in an early draft, the scene was smack in the middle of the book. I woke up with a start one morning, ran downstairs to my manuscript which was spread across my dining room table, pulled out that chapter, and moved it to the front. Then, I rewrote it and made it the Prologue. Best thing I ever did.

I hope you’ll read it to find out why readers seem to agree!

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

All the years I worked as a marketing manager in corporate America, I would take off my rings when I would settle in at the keyboard. Now that I’m retired from that world, I rarely wear rings. Instead, I have to wear earrings. When I get stuck on a scene, I tend to rub them. What’s the deal with that? Do I really think ideas pass through my earlobes?

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Oh, I have several mottos. For years, I had “Play the Cards You’re Dealt” on a Post-it note on my bathroom mirror. Recently, I learned from my granddaughter, that her mother (my daughter) really hates that saying. I didn’t realize how often I’d repeat it.

I’ve replaced that with something Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do the thing you think you cannot do.” As an author, it most certainly resonates with me daily. It helps motivate me to keep the writer juices flowing.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Early readers (a.k.a. inquiring minds!) have asked, “Who says the last line?” It appears there are varying opinions, which is a good thing! Though WHAT’S NOT LOST is the conclusion to a trilogy, reviewers admit it succeeds as a stand-alone. However, for readers who’d love to know the unabridged backstory of Kassie’s saga, especially her trips to Venice and Paris, please check out WHAT’S NOT SAID and WHAT’S NOT TRUE! In the end, I hope readers know that having them happily ever after is why I write.


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