Valerie Kent is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.
Valerie Kent is the author of the memoir/self-help book, Gracious Living on Social Security. We interviewed Valerie to find out more about her new book and her life as a published author.
Thank you for this interview, Valerie. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Mine has been a long process. Born in England, I was married young to an American Air Force officer who became a businessman. We raised three children. A combination of alcohol and authoritarianism finally broke up my marriage at 46, after which I began my higher education – seven universities – and emerged as a drug and alcohol counselor for troubled women and ultimately a college teacher of non-traditional students.
I remarried late and very happily and at that point began to take my writing seriously.
At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?
My career has stretched out over eight decades. I got serious about writing when I first arrived in St. Petersburg during the eighties and took a course in creative writing from the renowned poet and short story writer Peter Meinke. Since then I have been working on journals and autobiographical material.
Was there anyone in your life that you can give credit to for helping pave the way?
Several friends inspired me, and the encouragement of my new husband, Rick, recharged my writing energies.
What is your favorite book at present?
I have recently been impressed by Jane Fonda’s My Life So Far, and her repeated efforts to rebuild her complicated existence.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book, Gracious Living on Social Security, is an effort to detail in a comparatively compact paperback the many secrets and discoveries that have made it possible for Rick and I to live elegantly, travel widely, and cultivate an array of fascinating friends. It is a handbook for a good life on a minimal income. The book covers a range of issues from establishing a household to health issues to cars and food to keeping romance alive. All dealt with very frankly.
What message are you trying to convey with this book?
For a woman especially, particularly these days, personal autonomy is a real necessity for happiness. The right companion can make this possible.
Tell us a little about the publisher who published your book? How have they been to work with?
A good friend who was also a member of our tennis group, Burton Hersh, commented to me one day that for people of limited income we lived amazingly well. What were our secrets? It happened that Mr. Hersh was also a principal in a small publishing house, Tree Farm Books, which took on this project. He has been a delight to work with. The trenchant, hilarious illustrations by Jeff Nitzberg added a lot to this book.
Thank you for this interview, Valerie. Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?
I enjoyed answering these questions. On one level, Gracious Living on Social Security is a study in the development of a relationship between an older woman and a substantially younger – fourteen years – man, and how their life experiences melded to produce a very productive and satisfying existence. For a more complete treatment of my life and this book, check www.treefarmbooks.com.