Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.
In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.
Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
Welcome to Tombstone, Arizona, “where silver is lying in the streets for anyone to pick up!”
Vali Benson’s novel will lure readers right into the saloons and brothels cobbled like shoes in a closet, after silver has been discovered in 1877. The “boomtown” of Tombstone was born in 1880, and quickly grew in population from 250 to 15,000 by 1885. Blood and Silver opens as Miss Lucille and her ‘best girls’ have arrived in Tombstone, along with 12 -year-old Carissa and her sickly mother, Lisette Beaumont.
Lisette’s eye- opening journey leading to Tombstone began as a young Creole on a plantation south of New Orleans. Lisette is married at 16, and in a few years begins the perilous journey West, in a wagon train bound for California, with her husband and two children. After a cholera outbreak, Lisette eventually arrives in San Francisco; a widow desperately trying to support her daughter, Carissa. Singing in a stage show on the rough side of town known as Barbary Coast leads Lisette into more than just entertaining men with her beautiful voice. But this is not the life Lisette has dreamed of for herself and her daughter. Who will be the key to their survival?
Readers will be enthralled with the beauty of Arizona through Vali Benson’s historical background and descriptions. The character development of China Mary, who runs Tombstone and the Chinese population, is an authentic depiction based on the charismatic, historical figure who lived in Tombstone from 1879 until she died in 1903. China Mary’s niece, Mai-Lin, a fictional character but a true treasure, is paired with Carissa in a new job at the Grand Hotel. Readers will be delighted with Mai-Lin’s giggly, adventurous personality and new-found friendship with “White-White”, as China Mary lovingly names Carissa. Readers are taken up and down new trails running into questionable townsfolk, as the two friends become involved in some “mining” of their own.
As Lisette and Carissa get involved with the seedy characters of Tombstone, trust is built and faith in the idea that good will prevail is restored.
“Make new friends but keep the old. One is SILVER and the other gold.” Readers will strike it rich and make many new friends in Blood and Silver by Vali Benson.
Five SILVER stars -GR