#WriterSpotlight – “Those short stories you tell yourself at night…write it.” Valerie Kerri

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Its time for the famous #WriterSpotlight series. We are excited to feature Valerie Kerri, a published author who started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness.  There’s so much for you to learn and we can’t wait for you to read the interview. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a simple girl really. I was born in Nigeria and spent a lot of my early years in Lagos. My parents were diplomats, so I was lucky to travel around the world a lot as I grew up.  As I got older, I stopped travelling so much and settled in a university in Nigeria. After that I moved to the UK for another degree. I live in London now and have found my travelling bug again! I wrote the JJC handbook primarily for people who are considering choosing to work or study in the UK.

What led you to become a writer?

I started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness. I find it very relaxing to put my thoughts to paper as I have so many running around due to an overactive imagination! After a while, I got more comfortable to have other people read my words.

What are the things you love most about being a published writer?

Seeing other people read my book or getting feedback from someone who has read it and enjoyed it. It fills me with joy!

You recently released ‘The JJC Handbook’. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the book?

I wanted to speak to my younger self…the more withdrawn version of me that arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 in search of a different life. I wish I had known so many things back then, so my little book is for everyone else I could help.

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Since you released ‘The JJC Handbook’, there have been great reviews. What will you say is responsible for this success?

God! It could be nothing else…I wrote, I prayed, I published. God did the rest.

What challenges did you face when you were writing ‘The JJC Handbook’?

My biggest challenge was publishing! There is a great difficulty as an African writer to get published the traditional way where I live. Eventually, after a lot of rejection, I went the self-publishing route. This was the BEST decision I made in the whole process.

Many writers find the process of getting published daunting. Do you have any tips or advice to help such writers?

The easiest/ cheapest way is not always the best way.  Some online companies offer easy publishing and/or easy to register ISBN numbers; many of these come with strings that eat into your royalties and in the long run will cost you more. Do it right the first time. It’s worth it.

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There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

I think if you love doing something, the joy of just doing it would be reward enough. However, you can monetize your passion for writing; it is very possible and very lucrative.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

Well, it is way too early to tell. I currently have no plans to!

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I like travelling, reading and experiencing new things. I have recently found a love of hiking up mountain trails and extreme sports.

Any advice for upcoming writers and authors?

Write it… just write it. That novel you have in your head, which you don’t think anyone wants to read. Those short stories you tell yourself at night. The drama you are developing while you are at work. The lines of poetry you jot down before you sleep. In fact any ideas you have! Just write it down.  Get it out there. Don’t ask ‘Why?’ ask ‘Why not?!?’

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