[about-author name=”Ricardo Victoria”]
- When did you first discover your love for writing?
Probably as soon as I learned to write. Back then in elementary school, one of the tests teachers gave us for Spanish class was to give us a random image and write a story about it. My problem was never to write said story, but to finish in the allotted time and space because… well… I created theses massive expansive stories with lots of world building, or as much as a child’s mind and general culture allowed. I’ve always been a fan of cartoons, comics, and anime, so I dreamed of creating my own stories to tell,
- Do you have a favourite place to write?
Not necessarily. I mean, I need certain conditions, such as music or the TV/Netflix on, food and being alone. But I have gotten to the habit of writing anywhere I can, be it on my phone, a notepad or my laptop. It’s not like I always have time to write.
- Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
I try to write daily, even if it’s a single paragraph. Regarding how I write a story or a novel, I try to have a general outline (for novels anyways) and I start writing down the dialogues and important actions for key scenes/moments, including the end, according to the mood/inspiration I have in the moment, then I fill the rest as the characters tell me how. I’m kind of a plantser.
- Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Well I don’t aspire to be anyone else, rather I want to be the best version I can of me being a writer. That said, I admire Terry Pratchett for his style and way he handled social critic within fantasy with humour, GRR Martin for his complex worlds and clever storytelling within storytelling and Roger Zelazny because his stories are some of the most imaginative possible.
- What inspired you to write Tempest Blades: The Withered King
I created the setting and most of the characters of the novel when I was in high school, as a way to deal with my depression and put to good use the vivid dreams I often have, so I’ve been trying to get written a novel set there for years, but couldn’t find a full story to tell until my old D&D character decided to take over the plot. In all seriousness, something I often found annoying was the fantasy trope of the retired hero that becomes a mentor to the new hero and the dies in the process (it might come from the fact that I’m a big fan of Obi-Wan Kenobi). And I found it annoying because I work as a teacher, so I felt that mentors are not being given their due in fantasy plots. Thus I decided to flip the script, write the story from the POV of the mentor and make him survive somehow what’s the most deadly job in fantasy. And suddenly everything clicked and the writing flowed. And in a more personal level, one of my goals since I was young was to write and publish a novel. I wanted to do it before I was 35, but hey, life happens. Writing it years later than expected helped me to use personal experiences as inspiration –although I have never hunted demons- for the personal conflicts of the characters, which is what makes a story good. The action is just window dressing to talk about more important issues.
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
My book is entitled: “Tempest Blades: The Withered King.” It’s about Fionn, who is this retired war hero, that owns a legendary sword ‘Black Fang’ which part of the ‘Tempest Blades’ of the title, a group of mythical swords. And he has certain special abilities. One day, Fionn agrees to do a favour to a friend, help him to find missing person and soon everything starts spiralling into a race against time to stop an ancient evil. Along the way, Fionn meets Gaby and Alex, two friends that possess their own Tempest Blades and have special abilities, not unlike those of Fionn. While they never expected to become heroes, they decided to help him because they felt it was the right thing to do. And thus Fionn is thrust as well into a role he hates –and is probably the most dangerous job on a fantasy world- he becomes their mentor. He hates it, because the last time he did that, it ended badly for all involved. So now, Fionn not only has to save the world, but survive training the new generations of heroes. The story takes place in a region of Theia, a world where magic and science intermingle and put it simply, anything is possible, like airships battling flying monsters, magical weapons competing against nanotech-based weapons and so on. At the end of the day, Fionn needs to choose between letting his past being an anchor or learning to move on and take advantage of a second chance.
As a friend said once: it’s what happens when you put science fiction, fantasy, a bit of cosmic horror and a dash of anime into a blender. It’s a very entertaining story, especially if you like to play videogames such as Final Fantasy.
- Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
All of the MC are my favourites; but if I had to choose one, probably Fionn. He is the older brother I always wanted. And him crossing from my first D&D game to the world of Tempest Blades paved the way for the setting to actually work. He reminds me of those characters in the venue of Jon Snow or Algren from the Last Samurai: weary warriors that would prefer to be alone but their code of honour and responsibility sends them into paths where a world is a stake and they are the ones that can save it. For some reason I like that kind of characters.
- Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I tried not to be too preachy –probably failed-, but given that I wrote it in part to deal with personal issues, I guess that life can give you second chances, but you need to learn to move on to see them.
- Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?
The sky was raging in fury, lightning slashing across the dark skies, the wind blowing away the mist. The square was being emptied, the townspeople trying to get as far away as possible from the giant creature, whose red eyes were locked on the man standing in front of him in defiance. Any other mortal would cower before the behemoth, but this one was smiling. The creature started a conversation, its deep, booming voice echoing all over the place.
“Why don’t you run like the other mortals?”
“Not really my thing.”
“I will crush you.”
“You can try.”
The creature roared with anger, stomping its way across the plaza. Fionn didn’t waste time and jumped into the fray, slashing it with Black Fang. The creature replied in kind, raising its massive right claw and trying to shred Fionn like paper. He parried the attack with the sword, but the strength behind it almost broke his arm. He got ready to parry the second one, biting his lips to tolerate the pain, when an attack by Gaby on the creature’s back interrupted the exchange between them. Gaby’s twin blades were out of their sheaths and each shone with a clear, bright light, one glowing blue and the other red.
“Are those Tempest Blades too?” Fionn asked with an incredulous stare.
“Yes,” Gaby replied with her crooked smile. “Their names are Heartguard and Soulkeeper.”
“How did you…”
“You are not the only one with secrets, Greywolf,” Gaby said. “But that will have to wait, there is work to do.”
Both Fionn and Gaby jumped, attacked, dodged and parried the blows coming from the creature. But after every attack that the creature suffered at the hands of Fionn and Gaby, it regenerated immediately. It was growing angrier by the moment, picking up trash cans and throwing them, breaking walls and destroying the windows of the shops and pubs. The creature kept throwing things at them, forcing them to take cover behind a semi-crumbled wall. Behind the cover, they saw the men-spiders returning, attacking the scared patrons who were trying to get away from the creature.
“Those civilians need help. Would it be too much to ask you to help them?”
“As much as I would hate to leave you with all the fun you are right. They need me more than you do.” Gaby winked at Fionn. “Be careful.”
“I’m always careful.”
Fionn could only smile at her with admiration in his eyes. Gaby ran towards the running people, not losing a second in attacking the men-spiders. Her blades were streaks of red and blue light in the dark. Parts of the spider-like creatures started to fly off. She was efficient, Fionn thought, too efficient even for a Sister of Mercy. There were so many things he wanted to ask her. But that would have to wait. A girl, running away from the conflict, broke a heel and fell in front of the path of destruction of the larger creature. Its collection of sharpened teeth was in full sight in a mockery of a smile. Seeing that, Fionn ran towards the girl, covering her with his body as the claw descended upon her.
“Oh shit,” Fionn managed to say before the creature hit him fully in the back with all its strength, sending him flying away with the girl in his arms. He managed to twist his body mid-air to absorb the blunt force of the imminent impact when they hit the ground. His jacket and the skin of his back were torn to shreds and he was bleeding profusely. His head was spinning. Fionn looked at the girl who was scared and crying, but safe. He shook his head to clear it and smiled at her.
“I will distract him while you escape. Can you run?”
The girl only replied with a nod and Fionn let her go.
She ran away into the streets. It was then that Fionn noticed a faint cut on his right cheek, a cut that started to heal amidst tiny green sparkles of energy.
This is gonna hurt tomorrow.
- What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Tempest Blades: The Withered King?
You mean, aside writing a whole novel in my second language rather than in my native Spanish? Probably the editing process (I struggle to do it on my own) and find an agent or publisher to believe in the book. Luckily I found a publisher that while small, believes in the story told in it and has been really supportive and has put a lot of effort in getting the book out.
- What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Tempest Blades: The Withered King?
That I need to be more organized with my time, be more open to critics and suggestions from my beta readers and my editors and that I can actually write an engaging story and not just a crazy one.
- Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Probably a very overused one, but hone your craft and work on it as much as life allows you, so you don’t regret not getting your words out to the wider world. Also, write the book you would buy for yourself in a bookstore, and let the market and the fans sort themselves. Because if you are not in love with your work, if you write only for a payment, your work will show its soullessness. It would be like buying a bag of chips, lots of air, not much content. Don’t get me wrong, getting paid for your writing is awesome, I wouldn’t complain if I get tons of money from my writing. But you will have a longer, more endurable and personally satisfactory career if you put your heart in what you write, not just an algorithm.
- Anything else you would like to say?
I hope readers enjoy “Tempest Blades: The Withered King” as much as I enjoyed writing it. So please buy, read, and review it.
- And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I’m trying to get off the ground the sequel for Tempest Blades, and I’m planning to turn a short story that got published a few years ago into a novel as well.
The Withered King (Tempest Blades)
Fionn is the wielder of a legendary Tempest Blade, and he is blessed – or cursed – by the Gift. Though his days as a warrior are long over, his past leaves him full of guilt and regret. Life, however, has other plans for him, when he agrees to help a friend locate a missing person.
Gaby and Alex never expected to become heroes… until they met Fionn. As an ancient evil arises and consumes the land, Fionn must help them to master their own Gifts and Tempest Blades.
Together the three of them, and their friends, will chart a course aboard the flying ship Figaro to save the planet. Will Fionn’s past be an anchor, or will he overcome the one failure from his former life before time runs out?
In a world where magic and science intermingle, anything is possible.
Including second chances.
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