Wednesday 16 October 2019

MEET THE AUTHOR: Ricardo Victoria, author of Tempest Blades: The Withered King

Ricardo Victoria is no stranger to the blog, as regular readers will know. He has a special offer at present on his novel, Tempest Blades: The Withered King, which is available for less than a dollar on ebook until October 20, and to mark the moment, he stops for a chat about the book, its recent launch, and more. 

First thing first, absolutely the very best of congratulations on the launch of your debut novel. It must be an amazing feeling. How does it feel to hold it in your hands knowing that it's a real thing now?

It’s a weird experience. A part of me is so tired due to day job duties. Another is already planning what’s next. And beneath that, there is this inner kid dancing happily for finally achieving a goal I set to myself 20 years ago. It is unbelievable to have this book in my hands, with things that populate my head in print, with a world I created to keep my mind busy and being lucky to have been receiving good reviews. I know I’m not the most technically gifted writer, but being praised for the imagination and craziness –to call it in some way- of the book really raised my spirits. So I’m exhausted, but delighted. I finally achieved the third of the three main life goals I had set for myself…

I need new goals now.

Related to that, how does it feel to know it's out in the world now, that people you've never met have it in their hands or on their tablets? 

Nerve-wracking. Exciting. Impatient. I just want people to read it, like it and review it. But I know that’s not a reasonable line of thinking, so I settle for enjoying the fact that there is people buying the book and hoping that they like it enough to recommend it to their friends and family. And maybe, just maybe, someone will be inspired by it or the book will help them to get through a rough patch, like other books helped me and inspired back in the day.

Let's talk the book itself. One of the things I really liked about the book was the way in which the characters were introduced. I was listening to a piece of music the other day (All At Once, by The Airborne Toxic Event) and it reminded me of the structure of your book, adding layer upon layer so it all builds up. The way you introduce the characters is the same, one at a time, one layer on another, so while there's a lot of characters, the reader is never overwhelmed. Did you find yourself having to be patient, knowing you had this great character coming in and wanting the reader to meet them but having to sit on your hands a bit with them? And which was your favourite character introduction? 

Well, given the weird method I have to write, no, I didn’t need to sit on my hands until I wrote the scene where each character got introduced. I just simply wrote them as inspiration struck. So when I got the introductions out of the way, I focused on having fun with the rest of the story.

Favourite one? I guess is a tie between Fionn and Alex. Fionn’s is very cinematic (and based on a dream I had years ago). Alex, because his story starts in a similar way to a couple of personal events I was going through during the first months of my Ph.D. This was before we met of course, but those events set me in the path to learn archery and play Heroclix and meet you guys! So one is for fun factor and the other for more personal one.

There's a lot of worldbuilding going on in the book – how much material have you got jotted away in notes elsewhere, because I get the sense there's a lot more still in this universe?

Let’s put it this way: if I put to writing all the material I have for world building and backstory, I could create my own equivalent to the ‘World of Ice & Fire’, with different cultures, lore and events. I’m still missing a few centuries worth history and a few regions to fill out, I just have a blank space there. But they will come in time. Writing short stories (like Asherah’s Pilgrimage or Buried Sins) have helped me to flesh out that, though.

Does that mean you've got a sequel brewing?

Make that two. Probably three. Maybe a short story anthology.

What's been your favourite moment of the novel publishing process? 

Besides writing the book? Working with Salvador on the cover illustration and getting feedback from beta readers.

And what's been your favourite feedback so far? 

As I mentioned before, the ones praising the book for its creativity and imagination, for the surprising depth in terms of emotional growth of the characters. And apparently some found my one-liners and jokes pretty funny. The basic plot might not be ground-breaking, I admit I’m a very limited writer in terms of style and skills (blame language barrier), but the fact that people are loving the story and more important, the characters in it. I have found surprising that many reviewers say that Gaby is their favourite character. Truth be told, I was nervous, since writing with justice a well-rounded female character while avoiding clich├ęs was a major aim for me and quite a challenge.

I love the visuals of the book – there's one moment particularly with the skyship coming under fire and trying to navigate its way through a spectacular landscape (I won't say more to avoid spoiling for readers). If you had the chance for it to be turned into an animation or a movie, who would you want to make it? And if it was live action, who would you cast as the leads? 

Hell yeah!

The events from the book, in my head, look like an anime series – hence the episodic feeling of the chapters-. It was conceived in that way from the start. So yes, making an animation of it would be my dream (probably in the style of Into the Spiderverse or a more modern anime). As long as I can get the sequels of the ground before the first season/movie, to avoid issues…

Now, I envision the voices of the characters pretty similar to whom I would like them to play them either in animation or live action. If money, time and age weren’t an issue, this would be my ideal cast:

Fionn - Chris Evans
Gaby - Natalie Dormer
Harland - Peter Dinklage 
Sam: Hailee Steinfeld or Rose Leslie
Sid: Ryan Reynolds or Alan Tudyk

Alex is the only one I have problems casting for several reasons, so my wife suggested two options: Andrew Garfield (we both are fans of his Spidey) or Noah Centineo.

Netflix, call me. You know you want to.

I'm really delighted for you that this moment has come – but of course there are other moments ahead! What's next on your to-do list? 

Try to finish the draft for the book’s sequel. It already has a tentative title: “Tempest Blades: The Sequel: Electric Bogaloo 2”… nah I’m kidding. The title is “Tempest Blades: Cursed Titans”.

I’m also working on a Lovecraftian ghost story about pirates taking place in Campeche, Mexico. And maybe put together that anthology with stories about the world of the novel. Other than that, just surviving till my next holidays so I can sleep a little more.

Thanks very much for stopping by! Now go conquer the bestseller lists! 

Until October 20th, The Withered King is available for just $0.99 in ebook format from Amazon - to celebrate Ricardo's birthday! (Happy birthday, Ricardo)

You can pick it up at

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