Interview with Ana Valen, Author of Never Girl

23 Mar 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Never Girl?

Never Girl is a crime novel that takes place in Los Angeles, California. It’s set in the present day and the main character is Claire Jacobson, a woman in her late twenties. Claire’s older brother has been murdered and she needs to find out what happened. However, the police don’t have solid leads. She decides to launch her own investigation and she does so by enlisting the help of a hitman.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My greatest inspiration has always been other books. Whenever I read a story, I often take the themes and use them to create my own version of the tale. This habit dates back to my childhood. The only difference is that when I got older, I decided to put these creations down on paper. That started seven years ago and I haven’t stopped since.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Dark Places (Gillian Flynn), Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn), The Alice Network (Kate Quinn), and Guns of the Dawn (Adrian Tchaikovsky). FYI, I really like Gillian Flynn. Dark undertones, female leads, devious plots—that’s the stuff.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

My first guest would be K.M. Weiland. I’ve read all of her books and I listen to her podcast religiously. I love her work because it goes far beyond discussions on writing craft. It delves into the psychology and philosophy of writing. In other words, she doesn’t simply discuss topics such as plot structure and sentence structure. She describes how storytelling has shaped the human condition. I find that topic immensely interesting.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The ability to control the story. I love being able to develop my own characters, place them in situations of my choosing, and dictate their story arcs. I suppose that’s why I enjoy being independent. You can do whatever you want!

What is a typical day like for you?

Wake up early, go to work, and try not to let my boss catch me writing. On the weekends, I write all day, and without fear of my boss.

What scene from Never Girl was your favorite to write?

I can’t say too much, but my favorite scene is about two-thirds of the way in. I loved that scene because it constitutes a substantial reveal. However, I wrote it in a way that the reader hopefully didn’t see coming on a conscious level. In other words, I tried to hide the build-up to this scene in plain sight. That was a lot of fun.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Do what you love, and try not to let your boss catch you. 

Ana Valen is the author of the new book Never Girl

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