I recently reviewed Victoria's latest novel, Violet Wings, and asked her for a interview. Victoria agreed and her is the result! Hope you all enjoy it.
What was your inspiration for Violet Wings? You mentioned Oberon and Mab, did you draw upon Shakespearean plays?
For me, a novel always begins by listening to a strong character who lives in my imagination. So I credit the main character, Zaria Tourmaline, for my inspiration.
In Violet Wings I enjoyed mixing traditional lore with original ideas about the fey. I’ve read—and loved—Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and isn’t it interesting that the name “Oberon” has been used for the King of the Fairies in other works even before Shakespeare? My fairy queen is nicknamed “Mab” like the one in Romeo and Juliet, but I’ve given her the full name of Velleron.
There were a lot of things left open at the end of Violet Wings. Will there be sequels? Can you tell us a bit about what they will be about?
Yes, sequels are planned. The next one is called Indigo Bottle, and forgive me if I don’t say much about it. I’m a little superstitious about revealing books-in-progress until they’re finished. But I will say that Zaria is the main character and narrator again.
I've asked my readers if they prefer good faeries or bad faeries. Which type is more fun for you to write?
Oh, they each have great appeal, and of course a good story needs both! Good faeries must take on so much danger and darkness, while bad faeries stoke the conflict. Depending on my mood, I enjoy writing first one type and then another.
If you were a faerie in Feyland, what do you think your color and level would be? What magic would you most like to perform?
Ooh, good question. I’d like to be a level two hundred Violet but I expect I’d be a level one hundred Blue. The magic I’d most like to perform is creating portals between Earth and Tirfeyne. I’d love to give out helpful gifts to humans, too.
You were raised without TV and still don't watch it. How do you think not having the distraction of TV has affected you as a writer?
To be honest, I’ve begun to watch some TV lately, and enjoy shows such as “Smallville” and “Eureka.” But I’m glad I was raised without it. Growing up, I turned to my own imagination for entertainment a lot. I’m not sure if it’s due to a lack of TV or not, but I’m extremely focused when I want to be.
Even though fantasy has become more popular and accepted among the mainstream, it still catches a lot of flack. What do you love about writing fantasy and the fantasy genre?
Fantasy stories can say something about this world in a way that speaks to many readers. For example, let’s say I notice that in our earthly society, physical beauty is distributed unequally and ends up being over-valued. (After all, beauty doesn’t have any intrinsic value; it’s what people do with it that counts.) Many wonderful people have average looks but are gifted in other ways; such people often grow up negatively comparing themselves to others who are physically prettier. Then I write a book called Violet Wings. In Feyland, magical ability is unequal and it’s overvalued. So magical ability in Feyland stands in for physical beauty in our world. One of Zaria’s friends, Andalonus the genie, has no magic to speak of, and he’s supposed to think less of himself because of that. But by using his other gifts--intelligence and loyalty and such, he helps to save the day. There’s a point to all this, but it’s not in-your-face; I like being able to write allegorically without clobbering readers over the head with my message. Fantasy is a wonderful medium for expressing just about anything you want to say. If a reader would rather just enjoy the story for the story’s sake, the book still works. If a reader wants to go deeper, fantasy often provides layers of meaning.
What do you not like about the genre, or don't see enough of?
I don’t read as much fantasy as people expect from a fantasy writer. Probably because I spend so much time in my own fantasy worlds, when I have free time to read I like to mix and match from other genres. So I’m not really an expert. Of course I’d love it more people took into account the extra craft required for creating believable fantasy worlds—it really is an art, and it isn’t easy.
What is the best advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Well, I’ve written a whole book on how to write, called Seize the Story. It includes lots of info and exercises about elements of fiction such as creating characters and plots, and writing dialogue and setting. But if I could give only one piece of advice it would be: Ignore trends. Write about what truly matters to you, and never give up.
Thank you so much, Victoria! I actually didn't know that Oberon had been used before Shakespeare. But now I'll be better prepared for literature classes. I love the title Indigo Bottle!