VALERIA WENDEROTH: I FOUND A WALLET AND MY MYSTERY WAS BORN
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Valeria Wenderoth published her debut novel Bad by the Numbers on December 15. The crime mystery received stunning quality evaluation – average 4.9 stars from 8 Amazon reviews.
Our next guest is founder of Book Trailer Sync. She will show us how important is for each book to have a video trailer.
– What is your book Bad by the Numbers about?
– My book takes place in a cold February week in Brighton, Commerce City and Denver, CO, and Paris, France. Brighton Police Lieutenant Sorensen and his team are in charge of a multiple-murder case that seems to be straight forward at first, but then develops into an international scam. Two narratives unfold simultaneously, one in Colorado with Sorensen as the protagonist, and one in Paris with Nick Harris, a high-impact explosive researcher and Selma Lefay, a witty digital technology expert.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– One day, as I was jogging in a park in Honolulu, I found a wallet on the ground. Inside, there was an ID and nothing else. In the park I couldn’t see anyone looking like the guy on the ID photo, so I went back home and looked up the name on the phone book. The man was not listed, and I decided to call the police. My mystery was born.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Keeping up with the speed of my ideas. Very often I couldn’t type fast enough to “transcribe” everything the characters were saying or doing. I guess I need to take some typing classes! Luck-ily, I’ve never experienced writer’s block.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Lieutenant Mark Sorensen is not close to anybody I know, but he’s someone I’d love to meet. He’s a great guy, a rebel in his own way, a man who doesn’t waste words or time, a sharp ob-server and a leader. He has family problems and tries hard to deal with them. He’s not an alco-holic or a drug-addict, he’s not trying to quit smoking and he’s never been wounded—a change from the stereotypical heroes populating today’s mysteries. I agree with a comment an Amazon reviewer wrote, “He is a man with inner tensions and life stresses, but thankfully not driven by intense inner demons.”
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It took me only a few months to write it. When it came to rewriting, editing and formatting, well, that was a different story. That part took me about six months, including a two-month pe-riod of distancing myself from the novel in order to look at it again with better, fresh eyes after-wards. I trimmed, added, deleted. It seemed like a never-ending process. At a certain point, I had to let go. In fact, I think a writer can never finish a book, she just has to let it go.
– Who are you?
– That’s a good question. I’ve been asking that to myself for a long time. Just kidding. Deep in my soul, I’m a researcher eager to be surprised by discovery. I’m also a creative person who al-ways makes plans. Sometimes I find incredible inspiration from real facts, other times my mind wonders into an imaginary world full of intrigues, mysterious events, complex characters.
Besides writing mysteries, I’m also a college teacher and a technology enthusiast. I eventually combined my skills and created online courses for the University of Hawaii. I love teaching and finding new tools to implement in my courses. I’m also a mother, a wife and a daughter. My family is extraordinarily perfect.
– What are your writing habits?
– I need to be left alone or else I become like Johnny in The Shining. The rest is very simple: I sit at my computer and write. Before writing, however, I always have a general plan. I envision the whole story I’ll write, I’ve already done most of my research, and jotted a timeline schedule that more or less describes the major events of the plot. I also write every day for a few hours and try to stop at a point from which it will be easy to start again.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– It’s too early to say, the book came out on December 15. Bad by the Numbers is available both in print and ebook. Ebooks are doing better because they are cheaper, but a fair amount of hard copies have already been sold in the USA, Canada and the UK.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I’m a one-man—actually, a one-woman—show. I do all the promotion through social media, emails, PR, etc. It takes a lot of my time, but I like it because there is always something to learn in the process.
– When we will see your next novel?
– Very soon. This year, by the end of the summer. It’s the second of the Lieutenant Sorensen series. We’ll see a few of the same characters we met in Bad by the Numbers, but the locations will be different. Like in Bad by the Numbers, in there will be a lot of action, intrigues, and tra-vel. The third in the series will come right after, in 2016.
– My daughter and my late grandmother were named Valeria. What is the origin of your name?
– My name is Italian. It’s an ancient Roman name. Valeria was a second-century Roman saint and martyr. I was born and raised in Italy, and lived in Rome until I moved to the USA in ’86. Some say that Valeria comes from “valley,” others, from “valiant,” which means strong and brave. I like to think that my name reflects my calm stubbornness. I’m sure your daughter is a serene and strong young woman. Our name is full of vowels and beautiful sounds.
– You are teaching Music history since many years. What is the easiest way to describe the de-velopment of the music in history lane?
– Music is changing by the minute. It is its characteristic. Music changes as culture changes, and in fact, music reflects culture. However, nowadays we hear the same music all over the world. It’s the result of globalization and of the music industry and its economy. In popular music quali-ty is not as important as it was before. Some of this music is destined to fade quickly and only a few artists will be remembered as the greatest in the future.
– As a founder of Book Trailer Sync, how important for the publicity and marketing is producing a short video for presenting a novel? Share some examples of a successful book video trailer.
– The video trailer industry is quite young, so it’s still early to have solid numbers and percentages to prove its impact on book sales. Two factors, however, point to their success in the publishing business. We have become more of a visual culture and images play an important role in any kind of publicity. Think how we look at a book cover before reading the description of the book. Second, among the millions of people who browse the web, more than half watches videos. That is an enormous amount of potential readers.
A successful book trailer must reflect the qualities of the book in an engaging way. It must have rhythm, a cohesive style, appropriate music, interesting transitions, high quality images and foo-tage and, most of all, make the viewer excited about reading the book. A good video needs a few short sentences and must be brief. The trailers I made differ according to the book they represent. All of them have pleased the authors and I’m proud of my work. If you want, you can judge by yourself and view my YouTube channel
One of my favorite videos is the book trailer for Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland. It shows all the qualities I mentioned earlier.
– What is your opinion for my first ever trailer of The White Prisoner book?
– Congratulations! It shows that the book is a well-informed, fact-based, intriguing story. The footage is very impactful, but I’d work on the definition. The voice-over of the journalist gives to the story a feeling of urgency and tension, which is very good, and that’s the reason why I would eliminate the titles while he speaks. The material is really good, and to make it look even better I’d work on the transitions a little more to make them smoother. As far as the music goes, it could be mixed a little more, but it’s appropriate to the subject. Overall, it makes me want to read the book.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– What are some recurring themes in Bad by the Numbers? Music and food/drinks. My characters listen to CDs, go to live-music bars and listen to the radio just like regular people do. The music they choose to listen reflects their character and the mood of the scene. Food and drinks are im-portant for the same reason and also because they make the reader feel like s/he’s there, sitting at the table with the characters.
THANK YOU, Ognian, and best luck for your blog and your book!
Take a look at her book:
Bad By The Numbers