Cover art: Mike Zambrano
Me: Welcome to the blog! I'm glad you agreed to this interview. Would you like to kick us off by sharing what your book's about?
Victoria: Hey Beth! Thank you for inviting me over. The story follows two teenage girls at their awakening to the supernatural world around them. One of them, Sarah, moves into a new house with her mother, and it isn’t long before she realises that someone else is also ‘living’ there. It’s a spirit, and he moves and hides Sarah’s things as he is desperate to get her attention. It’s once he has her attention that the problems start.
Me: Is this your debut book?
Victoria: It is. And it’s the first of the Darkseed series.
Me: How long did this book take you, from draft one to ready to submit?
Victoria: God, erm… I finished writing the book… The end of 2010, I think? Once I finished, that was it, and I submitted it right away. I don’t write in drafts—it’s actually only this last year that I’ve realised most people do it like that, that they get the story down on paper and then work out the mechanics later. That was an alien concept to me. I write how I read, and put words down exactly as I would expect it to find them.
Me: As an author, who has influenced your work the most?
Victoria: I've no idea. I’m a massive Stephen King fan, have been since I was ten, so that’s probably influenced me in some way. He’s unpredictable. I love that he doesn't insist on the happy endings for his characters, sometimes they bollix things up and everything goes horribly wrong. As a result, I’m not going to pull punches for my characters. If they are in a situation that they couldn’t realistically escape from, then they probably won't. It’s not my job to save them!
Me: If you could be friends with any character in your book, who would it be and why?
Victoria: The spirit, I think. He's the ultimate in invisible friends; he can eavesdrop for you, move things around you, and can feed you information. Whether that information is right, however, is something you have to take on faith. The girls have fun with him.
Me: Do you believe in the dreaded writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it?
Victoria: I’m not sure I do. Believe in it, I mean. Well, it’s not affected me anyway—I guess that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist for others. There have been times when I’ve said/thought “Oh I'm blocked” but I wasn’t really. I’m just lazy, and couldn't be bothered to think about the story. My biggest problem when it comes to writing is just opening the file on my laptop. It’s ridiculous, as I love writing, and when I start, it’s bloody hard to stop me, but sometimes just opening the file and looking at the manuscript is the most difficult thing in the world, and I’ll do anything to avoid it. It’s senseless! To get past it, I remind myself that nobody is gonna do it for me. This is what I want to be, this is what I want to do, and I've had far worse jobs! If I don’t do it, it’s only me who’ll suffer. No one else will miss out.
Me: Care to tell us about your current work-in-progress?
Victoria: I’ve a few things on the go at the moment. The primary one is Darkseed 2, that’s my priority. I’m really liking the changes one of the characters is going through, the development of her psychic side. I've wanted to be writing this sort of thing since I began Awakening, and I held back as it had to happen gradually. Although Awakening is a supernatural book, and obviously fiction, I tried really hard to keep it subtle so that the events and phenomena that occurred didn’t seem so unbelievable. I’m not having to rein the second book in so much.
The other main story I'm writing is a survival horror. There’s no subtlety there, it’s an out-and-out visceral nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. I began that quite off the cuff when I learnt of the ‘draft’ way of writing, and I wanted to see how quickly I could get a book down on paper. I wrote 20k words in three days before dragging myself back to DS2. I am kinda obsessed with the horror story, and when I have a “can’t be bothered” day with DS2, I entertain myself by playing with this. It’s demonic and brutal, and a lot of the characters have got Stephen King’d so far.
Me: Do you have any words of wisdom for new and aspiring authors?
Victoria: Not really! Everyone's different, and we all have different ways of working. I’m bored of reading ‘advice’ some authors seem desperate to depart—it usually starts with “Everybody thinks this” or “Everybody wants that”. They're wrong, it’s simply an indication of what they think, they want. Don’t let their arrogance make you feel as though you’re doing something wrong because you disagree. You will have your own motivations for being who you are, and what you want to become. Don’t lose sight of that.
If there was anything I could impart that maybe someone would find of use, it would be “open that file”. Nobody’s gonna do it for you, so get on with it.
About Victoria Ley: I live in south east England, and it’s where you'll find me writing, horse-riding, or messing about on a film set.
Find Victoria on Facebook: www.facebook.com/