Valene is Canadian-born with deep Caribbean roots hailing from Jamaica. She shares that her heritage is rich in various art forms, including poetry and storytelling. “There is never a family gathering without hearing a funny story about a random character (fiction or nonfiction), deriving from that beautiful island.” Valene’s love and appreciation for storytelling is also a way to stay connected to one of her many cultural traditions. Much of her experience in writing scripts was developed and nurtured in church. “If you weren’t participating in a skit/play by writing or acting in it, you were observing one".
Valene’s latest work, The Amazing Zoe was inspired by her 1-year-old baby girl. She has many memories of when growing up as a child and seeing very little representation of herself. “It was challenging to find a black doll, let alone one with hair you could comb. There were no billboards, no commercials and very little print highlighting men, women, boys or girls who looked like me.” She shared that it changed how she saw the world and realized that she had to find her place in this world also. As a new first-time mother to a darling baby girl, her thinking extended towards the messages she would like to relay to her own daughter as she grows. Her books embrace multiculturalism, celebrates diversity and she is happy that she can contribute to creating a more inclusive world for the younger generations to follow.