Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli
A brash, illiterate teenager from an insular Mediterranean village escapes to the bright lights of 1960s Soho. Follow his journey through the seedier side of life as he endeavours to become a rich and successful ‘somebody.’
The author’s pen name Voinks began as a family joke, and was the obvious choice when her first book was published.
Despite receiving her first rejection letter aged nine from some lovely people at a well-known Women’s magazine, she continued writing intermittently until a freak accident left her housebound and going stir crazy.
The completion and publication of her first full length novel helped to save her sanity during those difficult times, and saw the start of her new career. Now firmly hooked, a second traditionally published book gave her the confidence to self-publish her third. In between writing her longest novel to date at over 100,000 words, she publishes weekly stories for her Facebook author page and web site.
Although her novels tend towards modern fiction, her short stories cover various genres including her trademark twist of ‘Quirky.’ Emigrating to Venus, where a day is over a year long, is a possible option to allow time to write all the stories needing to be told. She always appreciates reviews as they help spread the word, and sales bring in cash to pay for food for the Unicorns she breeds in her spare time
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
‘Story of A Country Boy’ was quite a difficult book to write. Although it’s a work of fiction, some scenes are loosely based on the traits of several real-life characters I have met over the years. It’s the story of a young, naïve country boy escaping from the restrictions of an old-fashioned, narrow minded village community, and discovering the freedoms and temptations of swinging London.
Who would your book be perfect for?
Anyone who remembers the 60s, or has parents or grandparents with nostalgic memories of that era. Readers who have suffered from bullying, mentally or physically, or have been in a toxic relationship.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
Not in this book. The main character, TJ appears to be a nasty piece of work, but you wonder why some of the others don’t have more gumption. There again, it was a different era, so perhaps all is not as it seems.
What inspired you to write the book?
It started as a short story when someone made a comment which brought back a memory. Beta readers thought it should be developed, and they were right.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
I attended my niece’s wedding in Cyprus in the summer, and some of her lovely friends bought me an inflatable unicorn for the pool. I was heart-broken at leaving him behind so this was my Christmas present. Yes, I know I’m supposed to be all growed-up. 😀
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
That first ‘we want to see more’ had me bouncing off the ceiling with a big grin on my face, so remains amongst the treasured memories. Since then, every small achievement is a reason to be thankful for catching the author bug.
Do you have any questions for your readers?
How did you react to TJ? Did you feel he was totally obnoxious or was there something driving him? Have you any questions for me?
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
If you asked me that question every day, you’d get a different answer. It depends on my mood at the time, a recollection, and the book I might read tomorrow.
What are you working on now?
My longest book to date, around 100,000 words ‘Murder of Changes.’ It’s had a couple of edits but still needs some polishing although I hope to release it later this year.
I also want to republish my first book, ‘Changes’ and perhaps do a follow-up to this and ‘ABC Destiny.’ Apart from my weekly flash fiction, I intend to write one or two more short books, but time does have a habit of growing little legs, so ask me again in six months’ time.
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