Featured Friday! Ricardo Victoria
Born in the (formerly) frozen landscape of Toluca, Mexico, Ricardo dreamed of being a writer. But needing a job that could pay the rent while writing, he studied Industrial Design and later obtained a PhD in Sustainable Design, while living in the United Kingdom and working in a comic book store to pay for his board game & toy addiction. He is back now in Toluca, living with his wife and his two dogs where he works as an academic at the local university. He has short stories featured in anthologies by Inklings Press, Rivenstone Press, and Aradia Publishing. He was nominated to a Sidewise Award 2016 for the short story “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon”, co-written with his arch-nemesis, Brent A. Harris. He also won a local contest for a fantasy short story during college. But hey! That one doesn’t count, does it?
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
Sharing ideas with other authors and sharing your creations with other people, with the hope they will like it.
What made you start writing?
I started as therapy, to deal with my depression and anxiety, while finding a way to share the crazy ideas and worlds my imagination comes up. And given that I’m lousy at drawing –ironic for a designer- a comic was ruled out, so short stories and novels were the best way to do it.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
Sir Terry Pratchett. His humour, his philosophy about life, the way he made his characters and his world feel like they were real and the way he managed to introduce social issues in his writing through an engaging prose (e.g. Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness) are some of the reasons I’m so inspired by him.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Write the story you would like to find at a bookstore and buy. Readers are not dumb, they notice when an authors is writing to conform to a particular trend or mould. They might buy your book, but will they connect with it? I’m of the belief that if you write from the heart, with the things that make your style your own, then you will have a better, more honest connection with readers. And at the end your work will be remembered.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I usually read fantasy and a bit of science fiction and cosmic horror (in the venue of Cthulhu Mythos). But when I was kid, I enjoyed reading history books about other cultures and civilizations (Ancient Greece, Rome, Japan, England). Now I’m adding to that list biographies (like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential) and books about Native Americans.
Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
Tough choice as I write them all as people I would probably hang out in my free time. Maybe Fionn or Sid. One because I could learn much about the world, and the other just for the jokes and to play videogames.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
Curiously enough, it was for a short story for an upcoming fantasy anthology. The editor is a friend of mine but we disagreed a lot on the story, lots of edits and suggestions. And mainly he wanted me to cut a character, but said character is from my perspective and from some of the beta readers that read it, essential to tell the story as pictured in my head. Thus I had to find a way to address all his suggestions except cutting out that character. As I conceived the original idea, said character has to be there to be the sounding board of the main character. It was a tricky balance to achieve, but I think we got it.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
Would it sound too conceited if I say my own? I mean, that was one of the reasons for why I started writing this book.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
I hope not. My personal guideline is to write the kind of book I would like to buy from a bookstore and read as a reader. So far I have gotten good comments about my stories, nothing world shattering, mind you, but more encouraging in the sense that I’m on the right track.
What effect can a review have on you, if you read them at all? Both the good and the bad.
I would lie if I say that a bad review wouldn’t hurt. I haven’t got many from stories though. The few ones were good and only a handful decried my style or settings (apparently in that particular review the reader in question wanted hard SF and I wrote science fantasy). But I’m learning and telling myself all the time that not everybody will like everything I write, because at the end of the day is a matter of tastes. So the only thing I can do is take the good thing from them as encouragement, the critics as notes of things I might need to consider next times if they are useful and the bad just ignore it.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Too stubborn to quit, too lazy to be consistent.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
Well, for starters, it has taken me years to finish this book and get it to this stage of publication, so for me is exciting as almost anything else (only topped by marrying my wife) as it is a lifelong dream. I tried to write a book, that while can be fitted into a larger universe and have a sequel, it is actually self-contained. You get the whole story from start to end in the book, thus any potential sequel, while connected to it, should stand on its own like this book does. This came from a challenge by a dear friend that told me she was tired of long fantasy series that never ended.
I also enjoyed the fact that is fast paced and that I combined different elements and genres to get an interesting story. But more important, I love the characters, they all feel like old friends just telling me their adventures, so I hope I did them justice with these words. And that the reader feels the same sense of adventure that one has when is a kid imagining them.
Our thanks to Ricardo for answering our questions. Some great insights into his life.
His book, The Withered King, is out this coming Tuesday!
You can pre-order it on Amazon Now!
You can also find out more about him and his writing on the links below.