Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Victoria Zigler on this edition of A Perfect 10.
Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
How I feel during or after a writing session depends on the subject of what I’m writing. Sometimes it will leave me feeling energized, other times I feel exhausted and drained, other times it’s somewhere in the middle. Even during the times when it exhausts me though, I still feel better after a good writing session. It might sound strange to some, but I’m sure any fellow writers reading this will understand what I mean.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
I use my real name when writing. I can understand why some authors might do otherwise, but I personally see no reason to hide that the books are mine. Besides, my Mother asked me to use my real name when I started publishing my books, so I’m keeping my promise. I’m not sure if she meant it – it was when I was young, and trying to make her accept that not everyone outside of the family had to call me Victoria (she used to really hate it being shortened by anyone but my brothers) – but I kept the promise anyhow, even though I didn’t start publishing my books until several years after she became more relaxed about people outside of the family calling me Tori.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
A writer needs enough of an ego to give them confidence in themselves and their own work, otherwise self-doubt will take over and the writer won’t even be able to finish that book they’re working on. But an over-inflated ego is a bad thing, since a writer also needs to be able to accept that you never stop learning and growing as a person or a writer, and to be able to accept criticism of their work, without taking it as a personal attack on themselves and throwing a temper tantrum over it.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
About a year and a half ago I bought myself a really comfortable computer chair. My back has been thanking me ever since. It was an expensive purchase, but well worth it! That may not be what you were thinking when you posed this question, but you should never under estimate the importance of a good chair, especially if you’re in the habit of settling down for regular long stints on the computer.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
I consider my writing successful if the people who buy my books enjoy them. Judging by what I’ve seen of my reviews, this is generally the case, so I’d say I have achieved it. I mean, it would be nice if there were more of those people buying and enjoying my books, but those who actually do buy them seem to enjoy them, which I think is the most important thing. I enjoy writing them, people enjoy reading them… Sounds like success to me!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
I don’t generally do much – if any – research before I start writing. If I’m not sure on something but can move on without needing the information immediately, I make myself a note to remind myself that I need to find out more about whatever it is, continue writing, and schedule myself a research session in the near future. If I need some information before I can continue, I pause the writing while I go do some research. I also double check facts during the revision stage.
As for sources: It varies. I’ve used the internet, non-fiction books that discuss the subject, and family or friends who are more knowledgeable than I am on the topic in question, sometimes all of the above in one writing project.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
There are several ways I name my characters. Some are named using baby name sites or Google searches for names with a particular origin or meaning, others are named after the pets they’re based on, others are because the name carries an association for me that feels right for how I see the character, still others are random names that just pop in to my head and feel right for the character. For example:
In my Magical Chapters Trilogy, all the characters were just named the first name that came to mind and felt right for them.
In my Toby’s Tales series, the main character got the name Toby because it’s a male name that has a similar sound to the name “Tori” that I’m called a lot which felt right since there’s a lot of me in him, while his little sister Emma was named after a little girl I know who was around the same age as the character when the books were written and who kept springing to mind whenever I was writing her part.
In my Kero’s World series and Degu Days Duo, all the characters are named after the pets they’re based on.
In my Zeena Dragon Fae Series, all the characters have names I found via Google by searching for names with particular meanings.
As for regretting giving a character a particular name: No. Never done that. Either a lot of effort goes in to finding the right name, or the name they choose for themselves is so clear in my mind that it leaves no room for doubts and regrets regarding it. Either way, once a character is named, the name becomes the right one, and I don’t look back.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
For me it’s battle scenes. I’m not sure why, but I struggle with those. I’m working on that, including getting some tips on doing so from a fellow author who is also a historian.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
I always hate these kinds of questions. Partially because I always want to add more than the number given, and partially because it changes regularly. Seriously, I could give you a list now, and then you could ask me again later today and I’ll give you a different one. If you’re planning a dinner party, tell me who you’re inviting, and I’ll tell you if I’m excited to meet them. I think that will be easier.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
I have no idea how to answer this one. Marketing isn’t a strong point for me. I promote my books on my blog, as well as the blogs of others who are kind enough to let me have a spot from time to time to do an interview, guest post, or whatever. I also Tweet about my books on Twitter, and post about them on Facebook (including sharing the already mentioned blog posts on those last two). Some months sales are good, other months they aren’t. Do I get more sales from posts on one or the other? I have no idea! I just keep writing my stories and poems, try and figure out what I’m doing with marketing, and hope for the best. Some people seem to buy my books from time to time, so I guess I must be doing something right.
About Victoria’s Books:
The Toby’s Tales series is a five-book series that follows a little boy named Toby’s efforts to adjust after sight loss. It was written as a way to show those in similar situations that they aren’t alone in their fears and frustrations, while also being tools to educate sighted people – mainly children, but adults too – about the daily struggles faced by blind people, and how they overcome them.
The books were written by Victoria Zigler following her own sight loss. They’re available in multiple eBook formats, in paperback, and now in audio – read by Joseph A. Batzel.
Regardless of the format you’d prefer, here are some of the places where you can buy the books:
Book 1 – Toby’s New World
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-new-world-tobys-tales-volume-1-unabridged/id1270858515Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/ Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/ Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Book 2 – Toby’s Monsters
Book 3 – Toby’s Outing
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Book 4 – Toby’s Games
Book 5 – Toby’s Special School
You can also find the books on Goodreads.
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Connect with Victoria:
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:
A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton, Sherry Rentshler, Linda Bradley, Luna St. Clair, Joan Hall, Staci Troilo, Allan Hudson, Robert Eggleton, Paul Scott Bates, P.C. Zick, Joy Lennick, Patrick Roland, Mary Carlomagno, Kathleen Jowitt, Michele Jones, J. Bliss, Maline Carroll, Alethea Kehas, Angelique Conger, Colin Guest, Rebekkah Ford, Andrew Joyce, Win Charles, Ritu Bhathal, Deborah Jay, Robin Leigh Morgan, Marjorie Mallon, Marina Costa, Lynda Filler, Lorinda Taylor, Aidan Reid, Lizzy Chantree, J.M. Goebel, Kent Arceneaux