January 18, 2016
No matter if it is the first time you meet her or the umpteenth time, Valerie Joan Connors greets you with a warm smile and a hug. She says she’s a “hugger.” It’s the way she welcomes you to her world and makes you feel like you just sat down to the family dinner table at your regular place.
Family, whether dysfunctional to start or whole and falling apart, is the heartbeat of Valerie’s novels. Sometimes it beats slow and measured across the pages, unhurried and nearly unheard. At others, it throbs and pounds with fear, dread, or love—always love in whatever form it takes.
In A Promise Made, Valerie’s first novel, it’s Eva Larkin who struggles with an abusive alcoholic husband and eventually flees to raise her young son on her own. Her next novel, In Her Keeping features Sylvia Holt a woman who desperately wants to have children but can’t and walks away from her husband and her life only to find love in one of the strangest places, a tiger sanctuary. “Motherhood can take many forms,” the tag line reads. Meredith Springfield fills the pages of Shadow of a Smile, Valerie’s third novel, with her journey to discover who her mother really was and eventually herself. When Valerie turned to a psychological thriller for her next work, once again she found a woman with tortured relationships. Willow St. Claire, the protagonist in A Better Truth, tries desperately to escape her demons, the loss of her mother and a strained relationship with her daughter.
Like cutting diamond, Valerie has explored just about every facet of family relationships, But pick up any one of her books and you can be sure you’re in for a happy ending, no matter the twisted road it takes to get there. Valerie’s fans and friends would rise up and demand a rewrite if it were any other way.
Still, Valerie isn’t all mothers and daughters and husbands and sons, far from it. By day she is the chief financial officer for a local engineering firm, which requires skills a world away from writing. Her one regret about having such a demanding career is that she never has enough time to read or write. Nevertheless, Valerie has managed to find a solution to the first problem (reading) by listening to audio books during her daily commute. And her writing is done on weekends and vacations, thanks to a very understanding husband who is nothing like the husbands in her novels.
Come to think of it, with a full home life, a satisfying career, and being active in her avocation (Valerie is the past president of the Atlanta Writers Club), I’m now wondering where she dreams up those tormented women. I think I’ll schedule lunch with Valerie to ask—and get another warm hug too.
To learn more about Valerie Joan Connors and her books, visit her website at valeriejoanconnors.com
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Featured Bookstore Nearby: Barnes & Noble at The Forum
Who has not been to a Barnes and Noble book store? With over a dozen in the Atlanta metropolitan area, a store is always within reading distance. And you need not even be a “reader” to go there as the stores offer other diversions as well, including music, games, toys, gifts galore, and usually a Starbucks. And while it’s a real B-O-O-K-store, B&N has cleverly crossed the digital divide with NOOK, its own electronic book reader and offers a variety of models for sale at the front of the store. Besides author events, the store hosts a weekly writing workshop, a knitters group, story time for children, a book club.
There’s just no excuse not to visit the Barnes and Noble store at Forum, 5141 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross, GA 30092, or one close to you. You can also, of course, visit their website at: stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2070