Monday, 1 November 2010
STEPH: I'd like to welcome author Vijaya Schartz to the Spotlight this week. Vijaya has an awesome series, the Chronicles of Kassouk which I enjoyed very much. I hope you get a chance to check it out.
Black Jaguar is your latest release in the Chronicles of Kassouk. Can you tell us a little about the story?
VIJAYA: This particular story is one of exploration. At this point in the series, the Human population has grown, and for the first time crosses the ocean on a Galleon. They do not expect people, even less mind-readers, and the hero soon realizes that there is more at stake than a culture clash. As usual in my books, there is plenty of adventure, and some cool but sinister aliens with an important agenda, who are going to make life extremely difficult for my hero and heroine. But this is also a romance, so there is a developing relationship throughout the book, and all the expected romantic rewards... but you'll be wondering until the end.
STEPH: What was in the inspiration for the story?
VIJAYA: I definitely had in mind the plight of the conquistadors, isolated, away from home, and the plight of the indigenous tribes coming in contact with a technically more advanced people. I do not take sides, history is what it is. But since it's science-fiction, why not imagine a better world, where people try to get along despite enormous obstacles.
STEPH: How long have you been writing?
VIJAYA: I've been writing since childhood, but for publication only since the mid nineties. My first paperback came out in 2000 and I had many books published since. After a dozen, I stopped counting. Many of my older titles are now out of print, but I intend to bring them back to light in eBook very soon.
STEPH: How do you create your characters? Do you cast them? If so, who are the leads?
VIJAYA: Sometimes a novel is the heroine's story, and sometimes it's the hero's. In this case, Kahuel, aka Black Jaguar, is the hero. He starts as a young, inexperienced, roguish prince, thrown in a position of responsibility by extraordinary circumstances, but he learns and grows in wisdom and tolerance. By the very end of the book he is completely transformed. The heroine is already wise, but she has problems of her own, the most important being cultural. She is an animal lover, a vegetarian, and he is a hunter and a meat eater. But when it comes to bonding rituals and mating rules, Kahuel is up for a big surprise...
STEPH: What attracts you to writing science fiction/futuristic?
VIJAYA: Sci-fi is the last frontier of fiction. Anything is possible, there is no limit to the imagination. There are no boundaries or rules, other than those you impose yourself on the world you create. Besides, I've always been for progress, technological advances. My husband says I must come from the future. I was inventing epads with GPS, blue tooth, and instant picture transmission in my books years before the technology came out. I think the ipad stole my idea - just kidding :-) Although Sci-Fi writers do influence technology. Where do you think they got the idea of a flip phone? If you watched the first Startrek series, you know where.
STEPH: How did the story find a home with Desert Breeze?
VIJAYA: Actually, Desert Breeze contracted this title way before the book was written, as it's parts of a series. This is Book Three, and two more books will follow. I'm actively writing book Four, Blue Lioness, scheduled for release in 2011, and book five is scheduled for 2012.
STEPH: Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share with us?
VIJAYA: When does a writer find time for hobbies? I don't know. But there are a few things I love to do, although I don't have much time anymore. I love martial arts (no wonder most of my heroines are butt-kicking warriors). I sometimes jump out of perfectly good planes (and I am terrified of heights). I have an eye for color, and I used to paint, but not for a long time. Writing is taking up all my free time (event my sleep when I dream).
STEPH: What's your favorite place to visit in Arizona? A festival? A town?
VIJAYA: Arizona is wonderful. I love the many national parks, with the Anasazi ruins in particular (which inspired some of my past stories), also love the Grand Canyon (I did some rough water rafting on the Colorado river), and the red rocks of Sedona full of ancient myths and legends.
STEPH: Fun question: Who is your favorite cat? A Tiger, Leopard, or Jaguar?
VIJAYA: Like in my books, when readers ask me who is my favorite hero, it's always the one I am writing at the time. So, although I loved to write about Rascal the leopard, and Diablo the black jaguar, I would have to say that my favorite feline at this particular time is a silver blue lioness named Hellion.
Thank you Steph, for your insightful questions.
STEPH: It was great to have you here today, Vijaya. You can find her on the web at:
Award-winning Sci-Fi, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick
Vijaya's paperbacks, kindle, and audiobooks at Amazon.com:
Vijaya's eBooks at ARe:
STEPH: PS - Did I mention, Vijaya's first book in the series, "White Tiger," won the Arianna Award from EPIC for best cover? Kudos to Vijaya for writing a kick-ass story and to the cover artist, Jenifer Ranieri for bringing Vijaya's vision to life!