Valerie Ormond retired as a naval intelligence officer and now writes and speaks to audiences sharing lessons learned. Her first novel, “Believing In Horses,” won the Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal for Young Adult Books; the Gold Medal for Children’s Literature in the Stars and Flags Book Awards; the Parent Tested Parent Approved Best Product and Official Winners Seal of Approval; and additional awards and recognition. Her next novel, “Believing In Horses, Too,” is scheduled for a Spring 2014 release. Valerie’s non-fiction stories have appeared in numerous books. She holds memberships in writing organizations including American Horse Publications, the Military Writers Society of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Accokeek Women Writers Group. She helps coordinate and is one of the judges of the annual Voice For The Horse Foundation’s Children’s International Writing Competition. She is a member of the first National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau, a lifetime member of the Naval Intelligence Professionals and Disabled American Veterans, and a strong supporter of the military and veterans. She also owns and rides horses and serves as Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council, an organization representing 30,000 horse people in her home state.
INTERVIEW WITH VALERIE ORMOND:
How did you get started writing?
I have always been a writer from the time I wrote my grandmother poems at seven years old. I have always loved reading and stories, and it seemed a logical connection from reading stories to creating my own.
I started writing books about a strong-willed young girl because I truly do believe if we believe in what we can do, we will do it.
Who influenced you?
As Lord Alfred Tennyson said, “I am a part of all those I have met.” So many people have influenced me. My family believed in me, I had teachers who encouraged me, and I learned so much from being in the Navy for many years. One of my “influencers” was a man I met in Mexico who challenged me on why I was talking about writing rather than doing it. I began my first book, “Believing In Horses,” right after that. It’s the characters in real life that have influenced me.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite book of all times is “Silver Snaffles” by Primrose Cumming. It is about children who enter a mystical world where the horses and ponies teach them much about life.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read a lot and write. Don’t wait for the perfect words to come - just start writing and go back later and adjust. It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes some of our best writing comes when we let our minds wander and see what shows up in the words. Be daring. Have fun. Don’t make it a chore. Be yourself. And believe in what you are doing!
Where is your favorite place to write?
Anywhere! I have computers in my office and in my kitchen where I do a lot of writing. But I also enjoy writing when on the subway, in a plane, in my backyard, just anywhere. It is interesting how different thoughts come to you when writing in different places.
What else would you like to tell us?
Experiment with writing. Although my two books are young adult novels (“Believing In Horses” and “Believing In Horses, Too”), I’ve also had non-fiction stories for adults published in numerous books. I dabble in poetry; I write articles for magazines and newspapers; I have a blog; and I even do technical writing as part of my business. For all those LitPick readers out there, if you are an avid reader, there’s a good chance a hidden writer might be there waiting to bring new stories to life.