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Spotlight : Naomi Valkyrie

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Naomi Valkyrie, often called a Firebrand Provocateur, brings her unique Autistic perspectives and curiosities to life by weaving tales of deep connection, mystery, and romance. She is inspired by being able to spontaneously create a thought that takes on a life of its own, opening up new adventures for her readers.

The Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy realms are particular areas of interest for Naomi as they allow for the vast exploration of magic, adventure, and the impossible while creating diverse characters that her readers connect with on an emotional level.

When she isn’t attending to familial connections, Naomi loves a dark, comfy reading space surrounded by the symbolism of her spiritual archetypes and her daemon/familiars, while she sips her tea and immerses herself in imagination.

What got you into writing?

I fell into it by accident. After retiring from an almost 20-year massage therapy career, I had more time to explore writing.

What genre do you write about?

I currently write in the Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy genres. I do have a Contemporary Romance in the mix that I am currently working on, but it’s an exception to my usual work.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Sometimes the characters show up with names, other times I choose names by meaning and how that meaning is relevant to the story or their personality.

What's next on your list to write/publish?

I am currently working on four different projects – Life is Hell book 6 (the final book in the series), a witch book (first in a new series of standalones), a contemporary romance, and a book for a new pen name. I’m not sure which one will get done first.

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If you want to follow my work, the best thing to do is subscribe to my newsletter. That’s the best place to get updates.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

I read 200 – 400 books a year. There is no way I can choose one author as a favorite.

These are a few of my one-click authors: K. A. Merikan, Nazri Noor, Domino Finn, EM Lindsey, Hailey Turner, Aimee Nicole Walker, Jordan L. Hawk, Pandora Pine, Morgan Brice, C.S. Poe

Who encouraged you to write?

In the beginning, very few people knew I was writing so there wasn’t a lot of outside encouragement. My husband and my friend/co-author were my initial support. Now, I get encouragement from other authors I’ve made connections with as well.

Are you as avid a reader as a writer?

YES! As mentioned earlier, I read anywhere from 200 to 400 books a year.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what type? Or can’t you stand background noise when writing?

My expression of neurodivergence doesn’t allow for music when I’m writing if it has vocals or words. It’s very distracting. On the rare occasions I listen to music while writing, it will be instrumental – usually relaxation music, music with nature sounds mixed in, or ambient.

What is your motto in life?

I tend to live by the Captain Cold quote:

Make the plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan.

My life is a bit of organized chaos.

How does your neurodivergence affect your writing (and any advice for other ADHD/autistic writers out there?)

Being neurodivergent influences my entire process because my brain is wired differently. This is why a lot of the mainstream writing advice out there doesn't work for me. It was difficult for me to find my footing in the very beginning because I was hearing so much about what you should and shouldn't do, but none of it made sense. Once I finally let go of trying to do it "right," I discovered my own way of making things happen.

There are days I can't write at all because I am experiencing sensory overwhelm or Autistic burnout. Forcing myself to write during these times just creates demand avoidance that makes it take longer for me to pull myself back into a regulated state of being.

Because of my brainstyle, I can't plan and outline because it creates demand avoidance. I've also learned that I can't set firm deadlines for the same reason. If I just let things flow, I find I get more accomplished because my brain doesn't feel stifled or chained to an expectation.

On days when my focus is particularly bad, I allow myself to go with it. I don't try to fight against it or stop it. This usually looks like five minutes of writing and then some social media time or reading, then five minutes of writing... and so on. It might not get done as quickly, but it's still getting done.

A lot of my learning curve as an author has been learning to allow and accept rather than push and expect.

One of the greatest things I ever did for myself was read and take to heart the book Radically Content by Jamie Varon. I’ve studied self-help/self-growth work for most of my adult life. Almost none of the strategies out there resonated with me or worked for me. 

When I discovered that I’m Autistic/ADHD around the age of 39, I finally realized that the mainstream self-help stuff isn’t designed for many neurodivergent minds, or there is information left out of the work to help neurodivergent brains connect with it. However, Radically Content really resonated with the part of my brain that is autonomy driven. It’s been such a source of peace for me as I’ve implemented the ideas in the book.

My biggest, greatest piece of advice to ND people is – TRUST YOURSELF. Most ND people have an inherent compass that knows what we need to do for ourselves, we’ve just lost touch with it or it has been conditioned out of us. Get in touch with that compass again. It will be your biggest ally on your writing journey.

Finally, any last words of advice?

-There is no one correct way to write. Whatever writing method/process you use that works for you is the right one.

-Don’t compare your writing progress with another author’s progress. They aren’t living your life and you aren’t living theirs. You don’t know what factors are allowing them the progress they’re making.

-There’s a ton of writing advice out there. Not all of it is going to apply to you or be good for you. Take what works, the rest is just noise. Just because someone has been writing longer doesn’t mean they’re always right.

-It’s okay if you don’t write every day. Some days are getting-words-down days and other days are thinking days. Both are progress.

-It doesn’t matter what you use to write – Word, Google Docs, a professional writing software, pencil and paper – as long as words get on the page, you’re doing fine!

-You’re never too old to start writing.

-Don’t let someone guilt you because you can’t afford something. If you can’t afford a professional cover designer to make custom covers, find a pre-made cover that will work. They’re usually less expensive. If you can’t afford a pre-made by someone else, design your own in Canva (check which photos are licensed for redistribution/resale). If you can’t afford an editor yet, get an editing software to help. It’s better than nothing. We all have to start somewhere and not all of us can afford all the bells and whistles right out of the gate. Do the best you can with what you’ve got available. It’s okay!

-Don’t let critical people ruin your day. Your book isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. The people it is for will love it!

-That feeling that your writing is horrid and you should take it out and burn it – it’s normal! You are your own worst critic. Find someone you trust and get some fresh eyes on the story.

-It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to write the book – three weeks, ten years, whatever. If you are getting words on the page, you’re making progress, no matter how big or small.

-Even if you are writing to market, make sure you have some passion projects to work on so you don’t lose your enthusiasm for writing.

-Burnout is a real thing. If you get to that point, don’t try to force yourself out of it. Rest. Relax. Your desire to write will return.

-If you want to write but you are struggling to find ideas, remember that ANYTHING can spark an idea. I’ve gotten ideas from my dreams, from the license plate on a car, from a person I saw walking down the street, from a shoe on the side of the road, from a song… Literally anything can trigger an idea if you are open to it.

-Don’t worry about whether your idea has been done or not. It likely has. There’s nothing new under the sun. What matters is your version of the idea. No one else is you. They won’t have your unique voice. The world needs all voices.

-Most importantly, you are amazing and you can do this!

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