Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and the international bestsellers ONLY LIES REMAIN, THE SILENT SPEAK and WHERE LOYALTIES LIE (March 2022). All four books feature heroine Aoife Walsh. They are all standalone thrillers and can be read in any order.
A native of Ireland, Val began reading at the age of three and still devours books at the rate of one per week. Her favorite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.
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Val, welcome to Discovered Word Smiths. How are you doing this? Great. Morning or afternoon actually.
Val: Thank you Steven. I’m very well, thank you. And this is evening
Stephen: here, . It’s evening there. Okay. It’s the afternoon for me. So all over the world. I talked to one person from Australia and they were time traveled cuz they were in the next day.
So they were Oh
Val: I almost up which way around that is.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. Alright, so Val why don’t, before we get started talking about your book why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you like to do, those types of. Okay, my
Val: name is Val. I’m Irish. I’ve lived in Ireland all my life.
In fact, the longest I’ve ever been outta the country is four consecutive weeks, . What do I like to do? Since I started writing, I find have far less time to do things than I used to. But I still like to go outdoors. I still like to go for walks on countryside. I love to travel, but covid put an end to that for a while.
we had really long lockdowns here, . But I’m hoping to get back to that again very soon.
Stephen: Nice. Yeah. My, my son loves Ireland. He got to visit on a school trip and he was thinking of trying to move over there, but he is not sure. He just loves the country. And when was this, when did he visit? Oh, man, it’s been three or four years now.
Yeah, four y four years ago.
Val: Oh okay. Ida is lovely. If you don’t mind the
Stephen: rain . He was happy. He got to see where they filmed some of the Star Wars movies, so he was like, oh, made his day. . Alright tell us a little bit about your book and why you wanted to write this particular.
Val: Okay, my book where Loyalty Side, that’s the fourth one in MyFi Wallace Trailer Series. So it led on, from the first one I just kinda led on from there. But why I started writing in the first place was because I was major dun for my office job and I was, it was a really bad time.
There was very little work here and I was just thinking what will I do while I’m waiting? And I thought I’ll try writing and see how that goes. because at the back of my mind I always thought someday I tried. Cause I hadn’t written since I was a child. So I just tried it and then I liked it and then I didn’t have to work for a while because I’ve been redundant.
So I decided, okay, I was going to spend the next year writing my book. So that’s what I did. So that was my first book and it just went down to my second, my third, my fourth, and my fifth would be out March .
Stephen: Oh, nice. Okay. So this is nice time getting ready for the fourth book to come out. tell us without giving things away, tell us a little bit about this book and the whole series.
Cuz being the fourth book people are probably gonna wanna know what the whole series is about, like genre and, the overall plot and what this one’s about. .
Val: Okay. So they’re psychological threaders, they’re all self-contained threads. So there’s a mystery that’s solved at the end of book. No mysteries are ever carried on at the next book, right?
So the thing about the series is the series follows the main character. Her name is Eva, and it follows Eva’s life throughout the series. So in Book one, she’s pregnant with her first child, and then book five, she has a five-year-old. Okay? So the book starts with Eva. She’s early twenties at the time, and she’s married and she’s pregnant with her first child and she takes a job in an office in Dublin, and on her second day, she finds her boss hanging from the city.
Okay. So then she goes to maternity, and when she comes back, the police have already concluded their investigation and they don’t, they’ve decided that it was murder, but they have no suspects. SOFA trained as a journalist, she always wanted to be a journalist, but that’s very hard to do with Ireland, and she couldn’t get any work.
So she gave up and she started doing office work, but now she’s a baby. She wants more control over her schedule. So she sees this as her opportunity because she has. A unique perspective on this murder. She found the victim. She now works with people who’ve known the victim for years, so she can interview them without them even realizing they’re being interviewed.
So of course, it isn’t long before somebody finds out what she’s doing and somebody tries to kill her. Now now she thinks she’s very happily married. But when somebody is trying to kill her husband doesn’t care and he seems to be turning into somebody she doesn’t recognize. So then she begins to wonder, who did she marry in the first place?
So the whole series then just follows her relationships. Through the series. Okay, so then, yeah, so then in the second book, which is called Only Eli May Uma’s, father-in-law disappeared. His name was Danny. Danny disappeared, walked outta the family home 15 years earlier and was never heard from Marcine again, and now his body turns up and it turns out that he was martyred then.
So the most obvious suspect in the police’s eyes is, Eva’s mother-in-law, but Eva doesn’t think her mother-in-law would ever have done anything like that. So she decides that she will find proof that her mother-in-law is innocent. Now, Eva’s last own parents, they died when she was 18. So she’s actually very close to her mother-in-law, who she’s always seen as a surrogate mother.
So she starts trying to prove that her mother-in-law is innocent, but the more she looks into it, the less likely that. Okay, so it’s a whole load of complicated things, right? . So then in the third book, two members and actually an entire family emerged at the home, but two of the members were victims of, or sorry, two of the victims were members of Ethan’s book club.
So Juanita investigates, she starts interviewing members of her own book club and she found, finds, loads of them have secrets and loads of them are suspects, right? And then in where loyalty. Four young people go for a walk on the cliff smore, and one of them falls off. So his three friends say it was an accident, but a stranger who saw the whole thing said, says that one of the guys Ben pushed his friend off the edge of the cliff, right?
So Ben’s family are very wealthy and they hire detectives and solicitors and everybody. To try to prove his innocence, but when they’re not getting anywhere, somebody suggests Eva to his mother and then his mother asks Eva to get involved. So that’s my fourth book. So the book will be out in March. Then
Iska is about a young couple. Their names are Nicole and Matt. Nicole and Matt on their honeymoon, they’re on a beach in Italy and Nicole falls asleep and when she wakes up, Matt’s disappeared and she never sees him. Wow. So then he starts investigating his disappearance. So that’s the book.
It’ll be out in March.
Stephen: I, I got it figured out already. It’s gotta be Aliens, .
Val: No, it’s not. I don’t do Aliens. .
Stephen: Got it. Okay. That’s more my type of book, . Val, what would you say is, like what other books out there would you say are similar to yours in case people are interested and would like to read your.
Val: Oh yeah. Anything that’s a whodunit that’s fast-paced, female-led, so say Sherry Lap Pena Kayle Slater. Anybody like that really?
Stephen: Okay. All right. And did, why did you choose psychological murder thrillers instead of something else?
Val: That’s what I read. , when I said actually, when I first started writing, I started writing an entirely different sort of book.
I decided that I’d write ye because I thought ye would be easier. It isn’t, but then Anne, wait, didn’t turn out to be Ye turned out to be much younger and I, yeah, it was not. I enjoyed it cuz it was the first thing I ever wrote. But then about course, the way through it I started thinking, no, I want to write a thrill.
So then I started writing through instead.
Stephen: See went the opposite. I started off thinking I was going to be writing some adult fantasy thriller type book and ended up find discovering I’m much more of a middle grade kid writer, and I do that really well. I
Val: did, I did my middle grade first.
Stephen: went the other way. Yeah. Is this independently published or do you have an agent publisher? No, I did. Okay. And where, do you have a website? Where can people find this book?
Val: Yeah, my website is val collins books.com.
Stephen: Okay. We’ll make sure and have a link put it. So you said it’s coming out in March.
How often are you publishing your books? There
Val: was a slide today between the first and the second book. All the others came
Stephen: out in March. Okay, so every, so it’d be something people could rely on March. It’s time for the new book. So far I
Val: can’t guarantee it’s one forever, but so
Stephen: far Good, good. What type of feedback are you getting from readers of the series?
Val: Oh, I’ve been very lucky with it. I’ve had a lot of people who’ve reviewed it and all except for the first book, I got book feature deals for it. So that meant an awful lot of people bought it. So I had like thousands of people buying it in one day and it made one, number one in all except the first one made number one in Amazon in international fillers and mysteries and a few others, a few other things like that.
Amateur sls, I think
Stephen: one of, one of the nice. And so I know a lot of people have trouble getting BookBub deals. I don’t know if probably most readers listening have heard of that. How did you get your BookBub deal? Because I know it can be difficult.
Val: I know I heard it. I never even applied the first time because I’ve heard it’s difficult and I was under the impression that if you weren’t like her cope or somebody, you might as well forget about it.
But I had a lady who was helping me with my marketing and she said to me, she didn’t start helping me to my second book, and she said to me, you should put it in for a. A book feature deal, and I got it first time I applied. And I’ve been lucky enough to have got it every book so far.
Nice. You an Irish mystery, female written, female led, maybe they, oh, we don’t have enough of those on here. So you’re your whole genre and everything may, be a benefit to that. I think that’s great. , but I think it’s
Val: got something to do with the time of year.
And also the first time I applied, I think it was in the middle of Covid, I can’t remember now, but I remember thinking they’re probably best people publishing and that’s why I got it. But then I got the next one, but that was actually in the middle of Covid, so I don’t really know. Maybe Covid got
Stephen: something to do with it.
So okay. Your series do you have plans for a fifth book or are you gonna start a new series, or what’s your next plans?
Val: And usually what happens is by the time I finish one book, I have an idea for the next book. And they just come to me like I’m listening news or something.
I have no idea. No, I, sorry. The fifth book is the one coming out in March. I have no idea. For the sixth. For the sixth book. So what I. I don’t know. He said I might leave it for a year because what I’ve been thinking of doing for a while is writing a time traveling thriller, and I might do that next year, unless in the meantime I’ll come up with an idea for another evening book, in which case I’ll do
Stephen: another evening book.
Nice. I like that just. Ma made me think there was a horror movie I watched with a friend called Grabbers. It’s set in Ireland and it’s aliens, squid, like creatures come, but . So I loved it because it seemed very Irish to me, at least being an outsider that. They found out the aliens were like allergic to alcohol.
So everybody got drunk at the pub to fight off the alien .
Val: I can see why you might think that was Irish .
Stephen: Yeah, I was like, I love this. This is great. Just what you said made me think of that. So that said, though, for your series, would you like to, or would you love to see it as a TV show or as a movie?
Val: If anybody wants to make it into a TV or movie, you don’t even have to ask if you can have it . And obviously since there are five, there will be five books in March. A series would make more sense.
Stephen: So is this, I am, I apologize, I haven’t read your book yet, but do you feel it’s something that would lend itself well to an individual episodes every week or one, or the new way of doing it where it’s six or eight episodes for one story and then each season’s like a different book?
What do you think would work best? I can’t actually, Because like the, I can’t
Val: imagine it. I can’t imagine it broken down because I wrote it as one thing. I suppose you could break it down, but I wouldn’t know how to do that. To me, it would seem to make more sense to be like one book and.
Then next book. And this book. And next book.
Stephen: And I’ll made me think as murder She wrote each week was a self-contained episode, but being a full book that wouldn’t really fit. But the, I dunno if you’ve seen it, the Jack Reacher series on Amazon. Oh my God. Yeah. Fan . I became a big fan.
The show was great. I read some of his books and I’m like, these are great. They’re. The I appreciated it because the, it’s very, it keeps moving forward, very fast paced. There’s not a lot of long, lengthy anything. Not a long description, not long conversations, and the sentences I counted in almost all sentences average, like seven words, short sentences and, just so it was all, it was like a masterclass for me in writing in a different way because, Lee Child.
Val: I read most of his books and I never noticed that he had seven word sentences, but I remember the first time I wrote the first book of his that I read the Kiting Fields. I read that I’d never heard of him, and I think he wasn’t terribly well known at the time. I think he only had Buffalo books at.
And I went into Eason, which is a Jane Bookshop here. And at the time they were going through a phase of encouraging people to sit down and read books. And my eyesight was beginning . My eyesight was beginning to go and I found I couldn’t read without my glasses, but I hardly ever carried glasses around anymore.
So I needed a hardback book, which normally I wouldn’t buy hardback books, but I started looking around for hard back books. I’d never normally have picked him up, but he was there, he was hard back. He had big print and I had no glasses. So I sat down and I started reading him and oh my. I would, I couldn’t put that book down.
I was absolutely
Stephen: involved. Yeah I agree. And sorry if Lee ever hears about this, there are so many of his books. unfortunately, I’ve not bought one new they’re at like all the yard sales, all the book sales at the libraries. So I’ve got a almost full complete collection that I got from here.
Sorry Lee, I didn’t help you out there. Yeah, no.
Val: I’ve got almost a full collection as well. But in the early days when I first found him, I bought all these books immediately, all that were out. And then after that for a few years, I kept an eye for them. They all came out in May here, and I bought them all the first week in May, but of stopped doing that after a while.
I don’t do that anymore. I pick ’em up eventually now.
Stephen: So may seems to be thriller month if you’re looking for probably it makes sense cuz people like to grab those type of books for their summer vacation. So if it comes out in May, it’s still new. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Val: That’s true actually. Yeah. And that’s probably why I get football deals cuz well actually think my, usually mine in August. .
Stephen: Where can people find your book? Because being an Irish author I’m in the States where is, oh, everybody
Val: buy, my books are sold mostly in the States. I hardly ever sell them outside of the States, really?
So all my books are in Amazon. All of, excuse me. My voice is going all of my books in Amazon and my newest book is everywhere. So I always do it like that. I run a book wide for a year, and then I put it in Kind Unlimited, so all the others in kind unlimited, excuse me a second. I just have to drink.
No I find that interesting. I may wanna ask you more about that when we get to the author. We don’t wanna borrow all the readers with some author publishing discussion, so I’m gonna bring that back up. Okay. So Val, tell us again what is your website?
Val: Val collins books.com.
Stephen: Val collins books.com.
Okay let me ask you a couple other questions not specifically about your book. Who are some of your we talked a couple already, but who are some of your favorite authors and favorite? . Okay.
Val: I went through a phase, like I started reading when I was very young, so I went through phases throughout my life, like I used to read, I started off when I was a kid, I would say my kids’ books.
When I got older. I read romance and then I read family sagas, and then I did everything I did, did literature, what have you called? Classics that I was trying to think of the words I did classics. I did comedy, I did everything you could checklist, everything you could think of. And I settled on thrillers.
So now I read thrillers. And when I first started reading thrillers, I used to do my, like child, follow every single book he read. Lima Barkley. I did the same Harlan Colan. I never read all of his books cause. They didn’t all interest me, but I write an awful lot of these books. But now I don’t do that.
Now what I do is I try to read somebody I hadn’t read before. So I try to always read somebody. So I read my first David Bell book there last week. My first Karen Slaughter book, I hadn’t read her before. And everybody reads Karen Slaughter. I hadn’t read her. So I read my first Karen Slaughter book before that as well.
And then every now and again, I take breaks. I I. Tried to do Hillary Mountains, when she died what was her book? The one about. Cromwell, I can’t remember what it was called, but I tried doing that and I’m doing a Philip Gregory book at the moment, so I’ll go off occasionally in tangents, but I always go back to new thrillers
Yeah. Yeah. I have some favorites, but I’ve discovered some new authors that I now try and read a lot of, so I go back and forth. Right now I’m reading Dickens a Christmas Carol. I do that every year. , it’s, oh, it’s on my shelf right now. All right. Do you have a favorite bookstore you like to visit there in Ireland?
Where I am
Val: at the moment, we actually don’t have any bookstores, . Okay. If I was going to buy books, generally I wait until I was in Dublin and like in Dublin. The main bookstore in Ireland. S I don’t go into that often. I like, I prefer chapters or ho No Hodges or . There are two bookstores in Graft Street.
One of them closed down, the other one is still open. Whether Hovis is the one that closed down or is still open, I’m not sure, but that’s the one I go into.
Stephen: Okay. Got it. I like to. Support bookstores and libraries and that. So it’s always fun to hear where authors like to read. And then if I’m ever in the area I try and contact the author to go visit the bookstore with them and put up a video.
I’ve done that with a few in Chicago and a few around here and stuff.
Val: If you ever come here, there’s actually a bookstore in nace. I haven’t met it to it yet, but it’s beside Tescos, which is a big supermarket here, and I’ve heard great things about that. It’s a small, independent bookstore, so if you’re ever going to go anywhere, go there.
I’d say they could probably use the sport. The others are big chains. They can do fine on their own. .
Stephen: Got it. Okay, got it. All right, so Val, before we move on to talk about some author let me ask you this. If someone came up and said, Val, I heard you write some thriller books. I like thrillers. Why should I get your thriller and read it?
Okay. What did you tell ’em? Okay, so
Val: I’d say if you like who done its that are fast-paced, plot driven, and female led, then you like my
Stephen: book. Okay. There you go. I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing all that with us. Hopefully some people will hear this and be ready to go get your book in May when it comes.
Thank you very much,
Val: Steven. I appreciate it.