Sunday 30 August 2015

A Q&A with author Ricardo Victoria

Ricardo Victoria is one of several writers featured in the new fantasy anthology Tales From The Tavern, published by Inklings Press. The book is newly available on Amazon, also featuring Brent A. Harris, a California-based writer, Alei Kotdaishura from Mexico - where Ricardo also hails from, Leo McBride, based in The Bahamas, and Matthew Harvey, from the UK. Inklings Press caught up with Ricardo for a Q&A about the project. 

Hi, how are you?

Fine, nursing a cold and a busted knee, falling from the stairs at midnight can really mess with them, especially if they hit the floor like meteors.

Sounds painful.

Just a regular day for me. I tend to be accident prone when it comes to my knees and ankles. That’s why I never made it as varsity basketball player.

That’s why you are a writer now?

Something like that.

Inklings Press started out as a group of fellow writers encouraging one another – how did that project help you?

In more ways than expected. First, it helped me providing an outlet to get all those stories in my head out. It created a close-knit yet open group of friends that act as your sounding board, critic, editor and audience to your writing. They also became the spur and motivation to finally work hard in my first novel. Also, it made me learn design basics and dust up my graphic design skills with the whole webpage and cover design. But most importantly it is a way to prove myself that it can be done and not just a daydream to keep me busy dealing with the day job or just therapy to deal with my chronic depression.

You suffer depression?

Yes. And I’m not shy to admit it since I consider mental health a real issue that should have increased awareness. And that’s where my writing enters, as it started as a therapy when I first got diagnosed during high school but now has become something more, something else.

Your group is scattered quite widely around the world – was that a problem? How did you manage to keep one another on track?

Not really, the wonders of modern communication allow us to send the messages no matter the time zone so when the other person connects, they can catch up. The only real issues were with Matthew, since he works the night shift and his work is based in UK, so between that and the time zone difference, he rarely had time to be online – I don’t blame him, he needs to sleep and eat too - but we soldiered on. The other issue was that our main editor got married in the middle of the process, which delayed it a bit, understandably. And for how we keep others on track? Basically Brent and I co-share the whip to… well whip people to get them work. Although lately Brent, who is quite hyperactive, has taken a more dictatorial role… maybe it is time for a coup d’etat where I shall rule with an iron fist in a velvet glove… did I said that out loud?

Yes you did.

Crap. Let’s move on.

Agreed. Does your location play into the kind of fiction you write? Are you inspired by your surroundings? If not, what has proven to be your inspiration?

Yes and no. Local myths and the celebration of the dead in Mexico really inspire me, as well as the Mexican tendency towards cynic and laughing about pretty much. It is a colorful mix of horror and comedy, which considering my major influences might explain my interest in gothic horror, comedy and science fantasy. But I’m equally inspired by the travels I have done in my life, be it Japan, Disneyworld, Paris, Dublin. I also lived for three years in UK, in the Midlands for my PhD, so I have the opportunity to travel around UK a lot and the experiences that I had there plus the friends I was so lucky to meet there have informed much of the plot structure and planning on the novels I’m working on right now.

I’m also inspired by comics, videogames and whatever I tend to dream about, which is very lucid so there is that.

You mentioned other influences, such as videogames and dreams, do you want to tell us more?

That’s what this interview is, isn’t it? In terms of literature, my main influences are Sir Terry Prattchet, Lovecraft, a bit of Asimov and G.R.R. Martin, Celtic, Mexican, Japanese and Native American mythology and World History. As for the others, I feel inspired by Final Fantasy 6 & 8, Secret of Mana (all JRPGs [Japanese Roleplaying Games - Ed]), and superhero comics such as Green Arrow, Iron Man, Nextwave and Batman. And JK Rowling is a role model of sorts for me as writer, in terms of how she developed and trusted her ideas and how she managed her brand.

Those are a lot of influences.

Apparently and according to my therapist, I also have ADHD, so I need to keep busy and the easiest way is reading as much as possible.

What are you reading right now?

Abomination by Gary Whitta and The Martian by Andy Weir.

How long have you been writing fiction, and what gave you the impetus to become a published writer?

I think since I learned to write. My mom still has some of those earlier, innocent stories with puppies. But since high school I have this need to write, to create worlds, or better said world as in the case of my novel Tempest Blade that I hope someday expands not only in a series of books and RPGs. And this need requires a lot of effort, so to honor that effort, I had to get these ideas out so others can read them, comment them and hopefully like and share them. It transformed from therapy to this need to leave a legacy for my, for my family, for my future children. My dream is to have a book with my name on the cover and share this wonderful world I have in my mind and that I visit in my free time.

What do you most enjoy about your own work?

Tough question, since I’m my worst critic. Maybe that’s why it has taken my so many years to seriously start Tempest Blades after going through several iterations, so many that Stephen probably hates them by now. I don’t like my stories to sound cheesy or forced. They have to feel real. But what I enjoy the most is the worldbuilding, the character developing and trying to come with clever quips. It is a fun process inside my head since the characters have taken life by themselves and now I tend to have discussions with them in politics, history and science.

What are you most trying to convey in your story?

First, I would like to write the kind of stories I would like to read. To share this sense of wonder, fun, sometimes fear, sometime love, discovery and epicness that I felt when I was younger watching cartoons and anime, reading fantasy books. I want to recapture that joy of live that makes you get up no matter how hard you get knocked down and face that giant monster no matter the odds while joking away. That’s what I’m doing in my novel and that is what I did with Silver Horn, which was a micro-experiment in that regard, mainly written for a local contest, and in its original version –in Spanish - got blessed with winning first prize in that contest, which to be honest was unexpected, since one of my best friends since high school was participating and he is by far a more accomplished writer with a couple of awards in his belt. Maybe that explains our current rivalry. Silver Horn is probably my only story so far that I can read again and smile without being overtly critical. And ended being canon in my Tempest Blade setting, since Fraog, the protagonist of Silver Horn, is now the dad of my main character.

From the other stories in the publication, which one most attracted you, and why?

It would be unfair to pick just one as all of them are great stories and all the authors are my friends, so it is tricky to choose one or another. But if I have to pick one I would say that Bear Trap Grave by Brent. At first I admit I had hard time reading it, but after it got finished I enjoyed it as much. It reminded me a lot of the maudlin atmosphere in the stories by Fenimore Cooper and Algernon Blackwood and for some reason that kind of stories with society outliers tend to get me emotionally when and if they are well written.

This is the first publication for Inklings Press. What future plans are there?

First, get the word around on Tales from the Tavern, as it is a project I believe in and want to be as successful as possible. Second, we are working on a Mystery/Horror anthology aimed to be out by Halloween/Day of the Death, so I’m gonna flex my muscles with a Lovecraftian story inspired by the Day of Death and the mystic lore of the northern desert of Mexico. That story has a funny history behind it, which is a topic for another day. On the other hand, the cover is already designed and is using a photo I took, which means I will become as well a published photographer. Third, try to finish the first draft of Tempest Blade so I can annoy Stephen and Brent with revisions and then aim for publishing and work of the sequel and some other short stories I have in mind.

Thank you for your time.

Not a problem. Now I need to go and find something to eat. Being creative makes me hungry.

Tales From The Tavern, featuring stories by Leo McBride, Brent A. Harris, Alei Kotdaishura, Matthew Harvey and Ricardo Victoria, is available on Amazon here.

To find out more about Inklings Press, visit

1 comment:

  1. He sounds like an smug asshole. I will punch him in the face next time I see it *looks into mirror* Aww crap *punches mirror* Double crap. :P