Val Stasik shares a home with her aging mixed terrier, Sugar, in Santa Fe, NM. Sugar is kind enough to allow Ms. Stasik to sleep in his queen-size bed, as well as sharpen her culinary skills… for his benefit, of course. Ms. Stasik has spent many years as a writing teacher, helping other writers to find their voice and tell their own stories. She is also a consultant for the Northern Virginia Writing Project. Incidental Daughter is Stasik’s debut novel.
Stasik studied drama and English at the University of Pittsburgh and then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with high honors and a B.S. in Secondary Education, Communication. The year she attended graduate school was filled with student protests, bomb threats, and military helicopters.
Val Stasik became an editorial assistant for The Pharmacologist in Bethesda. She then moved to Harpers Ferry where she taught for five years and participated in the Old Opera House Theatre onstage as well as behind the scenes.
In Harrisburg, PA, Ms. Stasik became a groom and mutuels clerk at Penn National Race Track and, later, a commercial lines underwriter for Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company. Right before her son was born, Three Mile Island happened. So far, neither glows in the dark.
In Virginia, Ms. Stasik enjoyed the enriching experience of teaching writing and literature in the Loudoun County Public School system. She also instructed other teachers in assessing student writings, and helped develop various English curricula. She also participated in the Fauquier Community Theatre both on and off stage. From 2002-2004, she developed a part-time hypnosis practice. Val Stasik then retired to Santa Fe where she has been writing a few film scripts that have been produced (Café Destiny, on the Web, Spring 2013) as well as a couple of award-winning play scripts.
Stasik is currently a member of the New Mexico Book Association, the New Mexico Book Co-Op; Southwest Writers; the Independent Book Publishers Association; the Small Publishers’ Association of North America; the Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network; and Pennwriters.
Readers can learn more about Val Stasik and her work by visiting the following links:
If you had to describe your book in two sentences, what would they be?
Incidental Daughter is the story of publisher Liz Michaels, born Liz Migielski, who, through a series of incidents surrounding her ex-husband’s death, comes to terms with a past filled with abandonment. In doing so, she finds the family and the love of an honorable man that has eluded her for so long.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your current work?
Fear is the root of all evil.
What are five important things that you take into consideration while writing your story?
1. Are the characters unique, believable, and, for the most part, able to charm the reader?
2. Will the story suit a particular audience?
3. What genre will best suit the story?
4. What details might the reader skip? Eliminate them.
5. What twists and surprises can I incorporate to create enough suspense to engage the reader?
Why should readers pick up your book?
Those who have already read the book have had a hard time putting it down and kept wanting more. It’s also an uplifting story that would appeal to readers who have faced many challenges in their lives.
What was the turning point when you realized you wanted to write and share your voice with the world?
I probably started to take my desire to write seriously when my freshman English professor, Louis Shapiro, made me believe I had writing talent. It meant a great deal to me because, at the time, I was a small-town girl in a class with sophisticated students from New York. Yet, here was this professor treating me like I had exceptional talent.
I enjoy reading mysteries, especially the works of James Lee Burke. I also enjoy paranormal and science fiction novels. I like to read books that make me think. I plan to write more young adult sci-fi and paranormal novels in the future. I want to write really good YA sci-fi and paranormal novels because these genres are open to whatever your imagination can conjure. Also, too many YA books seem to talk down to this audience. They are more sophisticated than many adults realize and I want to respect their discernment.
What five things would you have with you at all times if you had to be prepared to take a trip at the drop of a hat?
1. My computer containing my current work in progress.
2. My Kindle.
3. My cell phone.
4. My toiletries and clothing.
5. Some high-protein snacks, nuts, and fruit.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
I’d like the ability to heal people because the medical field and the pharmaceutical industry don’t seem to be making much progress.
What footprint do you want to leave behind in this world?
I would like to be remembered as a talented writer who took the time to be a human being, lending a hand to those who needed help whether with their writing, as a non-judgmental listener, or for whatever mundane issue occupied them at the time.