Thursday, 30 July 2015

Author Profile – Victoria L. James

Hello and welcome!
I am so happy you could join us today.

G.H – How are you today?
VLJ – I’m doing great, thanks so much for having me on your blog. 

G.H - When did you first start writing?
VLJ – I guess the first time I ever put pen to paper was when I was too young to really take much note of my actual age. I think it was probably slap bang in the middle of my Enid Blyton days, when I used to love making notes, imagining that I was the one making up all those magical stories. But then age and life got in the way. Apart from keeping diaries and the odd spurt of brainstorming here and there, I didn’t do anything too serious until the February of 2010. That’s when I started writing in secret after being left completely bereft once I’d finished reading Twilight. Darn Edward Cullen broke my heart.

G.H - Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
VLJ – Yes, but I never believed I was good enough to make it, so it was always more of a secret dream than one I considered actually chasing. I went through many fads. I wanted to be in the Olympics, I wanted to be a journalist, a primary school teacher and even a wedding co-ordinator at one stage. But no matter what I did or tried, nothing seemed to ‘fit’. Not until Feb 2010.

G.H - Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?
VLJ – Full time at the moment, but only because I’ve had the fortune of having to move around the country this last few years, mainly for my husband’s work, so I’ve not been tied down with a 9-5 as such.

G.H - How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
VLJ – With the RTW series, it’s actually a very long and complicated story. We were a role play group on twitter. Just a bunch of people, all with an insane love for storytelling and writing who went out there, hiding behind made up characters, and somehow managed to gain an audience that was interested in us. We started out as a two piece, just telling every day, real life stories… and then we grew. Now we have six writers in our group and we showcase the lives of a bunch of adults who all live in Manchester, England, highlighting all sorts of issues in each book we put out there. Drug abuse, neglect, heartbreak, love, attraction, just real life stuff.

The subject matter for Without Consequence, (Babylon Series) came about because me and L.J. Stock (who is also part of The Road to Wonderland Series) both had a mutual love of the MC lifestyle, but wanted to focus on an intense love story in that world. A love story where the bad boy isn’t who everyone believes him to be. It’s a story of growth and discovery. We believe it’s something a little different.

G.H - Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
VLJ – I actually write in a lot of genres. I’ve only released in New Adult and Contemporary Romance so far, though. My earlier work is very much paranormal romance. Whatever genre it falls into, though, I just love to write about love. To me, it’s the one thing that can make or break a person, and I enjoy digging deep to explore what boundaries I can push with that.

G.H - Where does your inspiration for these stories come from?
VLJ – It can be anything really… from a dream to seeing a picture on the internet, a conversation with a friend, or eavesdropping on strangers talking in a café. Haha. But no matter what the subject matter, the emotions are always drawn from real life, whether that’s from my own memories, feelings, etc, or someone close to me. I’ve always paid attention to the people around me, both when they’re out of this world happy or in pain… It’s about taking what you’ve learnt from experiences and basically bleeding it all out on paper.

G.H - What was your favourite chapter to write and why?
VLJ – That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I can pick just one from the books I’ve written so far, but I always love the first chapter of a new story. All those possibilities, the not knowing where it’s going to go. It’s a bit like a first date. You never know whether you’re going to want a second serving of Mr. Mysterious or whether this one is straight for the reject pile. I love that about feeling of not knowing what’s ahead.

G.H - Where is your favourite place to write?
VLJ – Anywhere quiet.

G.H - Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
VLJ – I would love to be all fancy pants and say I have a beautiful office with loads of inspiring quotes written upon the walls, etc, haha, but the reality is that I’m a mum of two boys under six and my life is pretty mental. In between nursery runs, I usually sit on the sofa with my earphones in and try to get lost from reality for a while, but I just have to grab the free time where I can get it. If that’s in the bathroom, sat on the edge of the bathtub, typing away on my phone in GDocs for ten minutes, then that’s what happens. I’ve even sat in my car in the supermarket car park before, just to steal five minutes of silence so my characters can take centre stage.

G.H - Do you use a computer/laptop for your first draft or are you a pen and paper writer? 
VLJ – Pen and paper for ideas and the occasional chapter here and there, but mainly laptop and sometimes a little tinker on my iPhone.

G.H - How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
VLJ – This is my biggest failure as a writer. I absolutely hate picking names and locations. Lol. The characters in my head are so clear, I see them. I can tell you the colour of their eyes, the place of their birth marks, the scars on their bodies, even their shoe sizes… but ask me what they’re called and I literally will stare at you completely speechless. I’ve even asked my kids to pick names before. Google is my friend, unless I meet someone I really like and their name sticks with me. If it was left to me, everyone would end up being named after a My Little Pony character or something stupid. “Hey, Applejack… come over here and show me what you got, big boy.”

Yeah. Doesn’t quite work. *laughs*

G.H - Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?
VLJ – I learnt that I have more patience than I initially thought I had. I learnt that I am my own worst critic and I also learnt that it’s okay to cry for my characters. I cried a lot with all my books. If they don’t get me emotional, I’ve not done my job right.

G.H - How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
VLJ – It varies. One has taken twelve months before, one has taken eight months… another was wrapped up in three weeks. I won’t tell you which was which though. *laughs*

G.H - Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
VLJ – I felt like I was the biggest fraud out there and I had just handed the whole world their very own microphone to boo me off stage with. It was exciting, daunting, terrifying, nauseating… and incredibly, incredibly surreal. Still doesn’t feel real. I don’t think it ever will.

G.H - Who are some of your favourite authors? 
VLJ – Sara Gruen, John Green, David Nicholls, Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown, Nicholas Sparks. I also love people like Michael Faudet, Tyler Knott Gregson and Lang Leav who write poetry and short stories. Just one line from them can blow my mind.

G.H - Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
VLJ – Absolutely and it’s beyond frustrating. I usually go to my friend, whine a little bit, drive her insane until she breaks, then drink the night away. *laughs* In all seriousness, I do go to my friend the very second I’m struggling and she sends me random pictures to inspire me. She forces me to go write a short story based on that one image alone, so that’s what I do. It works. It works every single time. She gets me and I’m grateful to her for that.

G.H - Time for a few crazy questions!
G.H - Do you write naked?
VLJ – Only on Naked Word Wednesdays.

G.H - What is your biggest failure?
VLJ – This is tough. Hmm. I guess that I’ve not quite made enough money in my life to give my kids everything they’ve ever dreamed of and desired. I’m working on that, though. I’ll make it happen, even if it kills me doing so.

G.H - What is the biggest lie you've ever told?
VLJ – “I’m fine.”

G.H - Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
VLJ – *laughs a lot* Yes. I’d have to change the answer to my previous question if I lied and said no. Nothing major, though – although my mother would probably disagree. *cringes*

G.H - Do you drink? Smoke? 
VLJ – I like a drink. I don’t smoke. My husband would divorce me if I did.

G.H - What is your biggest fear?
VLJ – Not seeing my children grow old and happy.

G.H - What do you want your tombstone to say?
VLJ – “Here lies the wife of Taylor Kitsch”

G.H - If you had a superpower, what would it be?
VLJ – I’d have some kind of inbuilt shield I could project outwards to protect all my loved ones from heartache, illness and general douchebaggery. I’d be like Yorkshire’s version of Bella Swan in Breaking Dawn Part Two. Only smilier.

G.H - What secret talents do you have?
VLJ – I don’t think I have any. How bad is that? Writing was my secret, but that cat is kind of outta the bag now. Oh. I can do a good headstand. Does that count?

G.H - What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
VLJ – I’d love to work in television or film, just once, even if it was nothing more than watching on the sidelines.

G.H - Do you have any scars? What are they from?
VLJ – I have a scar at the side of my temple where my older sister, Tracey, “accidentally” *coughs*bullcrap*coughs* dropped me on the edge of a stereo when I was about four! I also have a scar on the top of my foot from standing on a weaver fish, along with another scar on the underside of my other foot which relates to the police question. *chuckles*

G.H - Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
VLJ – Every night. I remember most of them, too. It’s actually where a lot of my ideas for books come from. I have a few recurring ones, yeah. The worst one is when you need the toilet and you can’t find one. Holding your pee for eight hours in dream world is rough!

G.H – Back to normal questions!
VLJ – I’ll answer whatever you put in front of me. ;)

G.H - What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
VLJ – Write because you love to write. Not for any other reason. Never forget why you first started. And even if everyone hates something you’ve done, but you know in your heart of hearts that it’s the exact way you wanted to tell the story… pat yourself on the back. Always be proud of finishing one and starting another. We’re not all here to do the same thing. We’re all here to tell our story. Not all of them will be bestsellers. Just be you and never stop.

As my hero, Sly Stallone said, “Remember one thing: The day you try to lift your head above the crowd, people are going to be lining up for a mile to cut it off. It’s just human nature. So… get ready to be beheaded, but it’s worth it.”

G.H - Would you share a deep dark secret about you with us?
VLJ – I put pickled red cabbage in my tomato soup. That’s about as deep and dark as I get. I really need to get out more… *tumbleweed*

Thank you for letting us get to know you and your books. It was an absolute pleasure to have you with us!


Everyone, please remember any questions or suggestions please write them in the comments section below.

Thanks G :)

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