I love science and fiction—on their own, and together in novels. When I’m not reading, my day job broadly involves research and teaching in higher education.
In terms of life goals, I didn’t plan on authoring a novel, but I’m so glad I did. My family encouraged me to write fiction, and I finally took the plunge in the spring of 2018. Best. Decision. Ever. I’m now obsessed with world building and writing character driven fantasy novels that lock onto your heart and never let go.
When I’m not writing, reading, and researching things, you can find me outside. For about the past ten years I’ve been an avid birder. During that time, I met a handsome gentleman who likes birding too. We’ve been together ever since. He took the picture on this page when we visited White Sands National Monument, NM. We traveled there to see the southwest AND… greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus). If you’re wondering, I saw a roadrunner—it was amazing, and I even did a very quiet happy dance when I had my first sighting.
Other items of possible interest: I live in the Hudson Valley region of NY. I have curly hair, but sometimes wear it straight. Proud long-haired chihuahua mama. Find me on Instagram @aj.vicktoria so I can get to know you!
A.J. Vicktoria: I had some character outlines when I started writing Excess Gravity. Their personalities and backstories continued to expand as I wrote. I have the major plot points and character development before I write, but how I get to those places is always changing. Sometime my characters surprise me while I’m writing. I love all of my characters, but my love for Jai surprises me the most. I didn’t really develop her backstory until I started writing Excess Gravity.
CM: When you were writing Excess Gravity did you ever experience writers block? If so, how did you move past it?
AJ: It didn’t really happen. I keep writing if I’m stuck.
CM: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
AJ: Make a daily word count goal and stick to it. Have fun. You’ll make mistakes, and this is to be expected. Learn from your mistakes and keep on writing.
CM: Have you always had a passion for science fiction and fantasy?
AJ: I’ve been a fan of science fiction and fantasy for a while. Science fiction has a special place in my heart. I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in my early twenties. That book will forever hold a special place in my mind and on my bookshelf.
CM: What are some of your favorite books and/or authors?
AJ: I’ll read fiction (fantasy, historical, sci-fi), philosophy, and history. Here’s a short list of favorites:
Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy Series
Elise Kova, Air Awakens Series
CM: Is there an author that you would love to co-write with?
AJ: Alexa Donne. She recently wrote Brightly Burning. The book is a retelling of Jane Eyre set in space. A little over a year ago, I wanted to write a Gothic romance set in space. I searched the web to see if such a book existed. I found Brightly Burning. It’s fantastic book, and I hope to write something similar in the future.
CM: I loved the appearances of cats in Excess Gravity. Can you tease if we will be seeing Earth or more creatures from Earth in future novels?
AJ: Charles and the cats! I’m so glad you enjoyed their page time. Yes, there will be more from Earth- creatures, heartbreak and adventures galore. We’re going to Earth. That’s all I’ll say for now.
CM: I was quite amazed by the descriptions and creativity of the technology in Excess Gravity. Do you have a tech background?
AJ: No tech background. I’ve had an ongoing interest in the relationship between humans and machines which I explored with Arra Chromos in various ways. Technology as an extension of the body, mind, and society. These relationships can and do have the power to make something greater than ourselves. Sometime we create things we’re not prepared to deal with. All sorts of crazy things can happen. I love how science fiction explores these relationships and associated anxieties. Are androids more human than their creators? Can technology poison/harm users like a biological virus? The list goes on and on!
CM: How do you think the characters of Excess Gravity would react to our technology on Earth?
AJ: I’d say they’re not too impressed. On Earth, we’ve recently started to explore our technological prowess. In contrast, the Empyreans have been around since the dawning of the universe and they’ve had to design technology to bridge their weaknesses.
CM: What inspired the realms in the Empyreal Galaxy?
AJ: The Empyreans and their galaxy grew from one image in my mind, an imprisoned man in the stars. Their origins, chords of life, and politics all grew from this one snapshot. Then the ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions started rolling in. Why is he in prison? If he’s in the stars, does he have powers? What if he controls gravity? Who are his enemies? It took me about two months to brainstorm the Empyrean galaxy and the first book. Etaine is the man in prison. You can find out why he’s there in the prequel novella, Gravity Rising.
CM: Which realm or planet would you want to visit the most?
AJ: I’d love to visit Rivan’s tropical beaches.
CM: What character from Excess Gravity are you the most similar to?
AJ: I’m a combination of Jai and Arra. In general, I prefer books and animals to people. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, but sometimes being social makes me tired.
CM: Can you tease anything about what you are currently working on?
AJ: I’m working on book two in the Empyreal Saga. Solar’s Reach (title reveal!) hits virtual shelves September 2019. I expect to finish the Empyreal Saga trilogy in December 2019. I have a different young adult series planned for 2020. The series follows a young girl caught between two warring magical families. I’m itching to write these new characters. In 2021 I might return to the Empyreans with a spin-off series. You can follow me on Instagram @aj.vicktoria or subscribe to my newsletter on www.ajvicktoria.com for news about upcoming books.