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Valerie Nifora: “I want to put something lovely into the world” – Newly Published Romance Novelist Garners Rave Reviews of Poetry, Fiction

Oyster Bay, N.Y – By Sophia A. Niarchos

The Writer 

Valerie Nifora publicly admits that she was, with little exception, a failure in her early school years. The “little exception” was her natural gift of storytelling, which led to her winning her third-grade class’ oral storytelling contest.

“Because stories connect us, I realized I wasn’t the outcast when I was telling stories.”

Valerie grew up in a “welfare building” in Bay Shore on Long Island in New York, the child of immigrant parents who didn’t know English, and was placed in an ESL program designed for Spanish-speaking children because she was assumed to be Spanish.

“I didn’t know how to learn or study until, in 5th grade, a very special teacher took a great interest in my success, investing her time teaching me, spending her lunch hour with me sitting next to her, my desk pulled up to her desk.”

That effort paid off and Valerie went on to excel in high school (she was in the top 10 of her graduating class). She received a scholarship to attend Emerson College where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Communications after which she earned an MBA in Marketing from Fordham University.

She started writing poetry and “spent 15 years trying to get my poetry into the world.”

Valerie Nifora with her mother and sister Krissy at the Huntington Book Revue in 2019.

Could it have been her Greek heritage that led to her writing poetry? But of course!

Valerie recalls learning Greek poems by heart as a child and says she “fell in love with words, with rhyme, meter, rhythm, meaning, with how they sound and work together.”

Well, she must have done something right because after those 15 years, I Asked the Wind, her first book of romantic poetry,was published in 2019 and won the Gold Award of the Nonfiction Authors Association. It was a top-10 finalist for the Author Elite Awards and won the Distinguished Favorite Award of the 2020 New York City Big Book Awards, as well as five stars and these glowing words from The San Francisco Book Review:

“Her words will fill every reader’s heart and soul with warmth and joy as they evoke memories of a familiar love affair. With that said, her work also strikingly captures the emotions and emptiness of a love lost—one taken too soon or halted without closure. Readers will find comfort and tranquility in Nifora’s description of love arrested or thwarted… The versatility and beauty of her work easily garners Nifora’s collection 5 stars. This is the type of romantic collection readers can reread time and again.” 

The book’s front cover is special to Valerie. It’s a photo, taken by cousin Elias Grammatikoyiannis, of a brother and sister holding hands and walking down a path in front of the house her grandfather built in Kallithea near Agrinion.

“To me, it’s the perfect depiction of love. The boy looks like he wants to go in a different direction; the girl wants to stay on the straight path. We will all get distracted, like that little boy; but, according to Thomas Aquinas, ‘Love means to will the good of the other.’ So if I love you, I will make sure you make good choices, choices that are good for you and will lead you on the correct path. Your needs will come before mine.”

“The book is broken into three parts, and it tells the story of romantic love. The first part is when you fall madly in love, and you can’t believe how lucky you are.

“The second part is when you’re not quite sure what is going on, but something is off.

“The third part is when you know this isn’t good, and you can’t believe you were ever a couple.

And then, there’s the epilogue, “which gives you the choice to either forgive and cycle back into that journey or decide to call it quits and move forward.”

One of Valerie’s goals as an author is to, as she puts it, “put something lovely into the world. I think hard about that.” She notes that there are no victims in her poetry book, and The Fairmounts, her newly-released romance novel, is “a good-guy story with a good guy in it.”

She has noticed that “we don’t tell the good about men,” that the emphasis is on women being their victims. 

“My experience has been that there are good men. I have a wonderful father, a great husband, great cousin, and two great sons.

“I wrote The Fairmounts, which explores good guys and self-sacrifice,from the perspective of a man; and men who have read it said I captured it well.”

The St. John the Baptist (Blue Point, NY) parishioner, and former Sunday School teacher there for a decade, is now a married woman with two sons,11 and 13, and a full-time career as a global marketing leader with Accenture Google Business Group; so when does she have the time to write? 

“I have a very structured day during the school year, so I write late at night or on Saturday, what I call my “Spark Joy Day.”

Unlike some writers who plan and outline their works, Valerie, a member of the Long Island Romance Writers Association, calls herself “a ‘pants-er’, someone who writes a story flying by the seat of her pants.” She finds the hardest part of being a writer “trusting your story.”

“You have to let your story come to you and then, as Emerson said, give it to others to make their own. I don’t own it. After I read it, I can’t believe I wrote it.”

The Dream

What led to her writing The Fairmounts

Valerie was an avid romance novel reader and had read every one of Daphne DuMaurier’s books. Given that DuMaurier would write no others (she died in 1989), Valerie set out to write “a story I wanted to read” after seeing a dream soon after her aunt had passed away. When she woke up from the dream, she told her husband, “I have to write that story!”

Once it was written, when it came time for it to become an audiobook, she heard voice actor Dimitri Georgiades’ submission for the role of Harry LaCroix and marveled that his voice was the same as the one she had heard in her dream.


The Fairmounts went from #50 on Amazon Audible to #39 during its first five days of release, and, as of this writing, it is #1 on Amazon Kindle. 

It earned a five-star review from The Seattle Book Review, which called it, “A beautiful romance novel full of suspense, mystery, tales of old legends, and so much more….The plot is concise and unique, with the perfect balance of an old-fashioned type of love and mystery…. Having read this book in one sitting, I recommend this story to all readers who enjoy a more old-school type romance with mystery intertwined.”

The Fairmounts was released as a hardcover on July 19, and Valerie was to hold her virtual book release launch party on Facebook and LinkedIn at 7 p.m. that night. It would be accessible on both sites as well as on YouTube afterwards. She will also be at in-person book signings at Theodore’s Books in Oyster Bay, NY on Thursday, July 21 at 7 p.m., at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, 440 Montauk Highway, in Great River, NY, on Tuesday, July 26, from 1:30-2:30 p.m., and at The Catbird Seat in Sayville, NY on August 6 from 1-3 p.m.

Told that the trailer for her book release looks like a movie and asked whether she anticipates that possibility, Valerie replied, “Wouldn’t that be a nice dream? I would love for that to happen!”