Q&A - Victoria Ray Author of Sophia von X

Amanda K. (BookBuzz)

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Author Victoria Ray and her book Sophia von XPhoto byBookBuzz

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Victoria Ray, the talented author of the SE Crème de la Crème series, calls a charming town just 62 miles west of Stockholm her home. She has earned widespread recognition for her captivating "So Absurd It Must Be True" collection and gripping "Sophia von X" thrillers, with accolades including being named a finalist in the prestigious Readers Favorite Contest and a nominee for a Book Excellence Award in recognition of her outstanding writing. When not weaving compelling tales, Victoria immerses herself in the world of literature, refines her culinary skills, explores the globe, enjoys leisurely walks with her loyal dogs, and satisfies her sweet tooth with Sunday afternoon visits to the local bakery, April. Victoria Ray is a true aficionado of life's many pleasures, both literary and gastronomic.

Keep in touch with Victoria via Instagram: @victoriaray_nb

Visit Ray's blog on WordPress - www.raynotbradbury.blog

Author Q&A

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do, but probably not a specific writing style, but a method of writing. Let me explain. First of all, my writing is very dense. Second, my absurdist fiction is one of a kind because it is written just as Tristan Tzara recommended: take a newspaper and a pair of scissors, cut out the article, cut out the words and put them in the bag; shake it, then take out the scraps and create your masterpiece. Here you are, a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.
Well, I know many of you will say it is impossible… But my latest humorous book, Bullet’s Adventure: Chasing Sobekneferu, is written with this method.

And third, I love to mix satire and burlesque with more serious genres like crime and noir. My plots are like a soup: a mix of everything you can imagine. I don’t care much how beautiful my writing or style really is. We’ve got Tolstoy and Faulkner for that. My books should be fast; they should be cruel, fun, and entertaining.

How do you come up with names for your characters?

I mostly pick the first names of my heroes from magazines. The surnames I’m googling and choosing depending on the country or nationality of my character. It should be authentic. For this particular thriller, Sophia von X, I have borrowed the name of a fellow writer (Italian-Irish), Sabina Gabrielli Carrara.

Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

I prefer a mind-blowing plot twist, I think. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of the advice: create a character the readers will root for because most of my characters are not so likable. It might be so that you’ll like them initially, but then I make a twist, and voila – ‘hate in progression.’ Similar to real life, don’t you think? But we are all idealists (and romantics) somewhere deep inside, and me too. I can’t escape it. I can’t kill the Don Quixote in me. That’s why in my next book, a post-apocalyptic novel, I’ll give my readers a couple of friendly and nice people to love…

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Be free. Go on that journey. As we know, there are 7 basic plots in literature, and mine is “Voyage, No Return.”

Do you write an outline before every book you write?

No. Usually, I create a plot only three chapters ahead. I go with the flow and the mood of the book/or character.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I’m blogging as Raynotbradbury on WordPress, and readers can always find my new books on Amazon. Also, I sent one of my books (in English) to 14 Swedish publishing houses. It is pretty daring because they prefer to deal with books in Swedish, but who knows?

Picture this: You feel uninspired, and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

I am going to the library or outside. Sometimes, I start another project (book or story) and write it parallel to my main project. I’m jumping between them: it allows me to create excitement (and a bit of chaos). For example, right now, I’m editing the second and last draft of my crime novel, “Eyebrow Killer,” and at the same time writing a speculative fiction, post-apocalyptic novel about the collision of the multiverse. The story is set in a Swedish small town, Trosa. Both final drafts will be ready in December 2023.

How many drafts do your books generally go through before publication?

In most cases, only one. Maximum – two. I’m writing and sending it to my editor chapter by chapter. That means I’m writing about 2500-3500 words (clean) chapter in two days. Then, when I’m done with the complete text, I send it to the last proofreader. That’s it. It won’t work for everyone, and as Walter Mosley said in his Masterclass (which I recommend watching to every aspiring writer), “You have to find what works for you.”

Let me mention, though, that I have significant gaps between writing and publishing - six or more months. When the book is finished, I usually enjoy well-deserved rest. Because if I’d write all the time, I’d publish four to five books each year, and I’d be exhausted.

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Amanda is a PR manager and book lover from Georgia. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two doggies.

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