VICTORIA AVEYARD: In the real of fantasy

Victoria  Aveyard at   National Book Store’s book signing held at The Gallery of Ayala Center Cebu. (CDN PHOTO/EDD BUENAVIAJE)

Victoria Aveyard at National Book Store’s book signing held at The Gallery of Ayala Center Cebu. (CDN PHOTO/EDD BUENAVIAJE)

SHE’S a Tolkien fan, a Potterhead, and one of the millions who’s ready to leap on George R. R. Martin’s sixth  book installment. As if the fantasy realms are not enough, this smart literary lady created the world of Norta where you’d be honored to dine in Archeon, wish you’d never step foot on the cursed land of Gray Town, or hope your last days won’t end in The Choke. Norta and its people are the makings of Victoria Aveyard, New York Times bestselling author of “Red Queen” and “Glass Sword,” who was as much excited as her fans to talk about her series in her Philippine book tour.

Also a screenwriter, Victoria is accountable for millions of Young Adult Fantasy readers getting hooked on the story of a teenage girl named Mare whose deadly power could threaten the destruction of Norta. Divided by blood, the Silvers declare her as one of their own, a long-lost Silver princess, but Mare secretly helps the Red Guard to topple down the Silver regime.

This charming YA writer could easily turn a conversation of dragons and X-Men into an erudite discussion of universal struggles in betrayal, revenge, and literally zapping people. (BHQ)

How’s your Cebu experience so far?
It’s been fantastic. I had a free day yesterday. You can’t tell I have sunburn? (Laughs). We got our nails done and some massage. It was very nice. I’m very excited to meet my readers. Other authors  were telling me that I’m going to have a great time. You’ll
never see anything like it.

I’m excited and nervous, too. (Laughs).


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Where were  you  when the story of Red Queen came to you?
I was at the very end of my senior year in college, and I remember I was working my job on campus. I jotted down this little image I had in my e-mail and  kept it. It was the image of a teenage girl who was about to be executed. I don’t know why but she was in an arena about to be killed. Instead of being killed, she kills the executioner by lightning, and I thought… Okay, I would love to see where that goes and what happens to get her there, and what world exists for this to exist. So I started building and plotting and sort of growing it out. This is a book. I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Let’s go for it!

I pitched it to my manager for my screenwriting career and he said, “Yes, you should work on this.” I moved home to live with my parents right after college. Over the next seven months I wrote this book.

Did you know it’s going to be a series?
I did.  I was going to write a series because I like reading series, and I’ve always wanted to write a book series.

Did you plan it to be a trilogy?
It’s going to be four. I’m writing the third one right now and I realized that I wasn’t getting to the ending I wanted to do in one book… or else it’s going to be rushed or way too long. We went back to HarperCollins and talked about doing a fourth, and they were very happy to come on board.

Was there a time when you wanted to throw in the towel?
Definitely! The entire first draft of Red Queen, I thought it was garbage. I didn’t think  it was going anywhere. I didn’t understand publishing.  I just knew I was writing this book for my manager in Los Angeles but I didn’t know what was going to happen after.

What kept you motivated?
I thought it would get me a job. I didn’t know how it worked. I just thought, I’ll finish it and  see what happens. I had my college loans and I really wanted to be able to pay them.

You didn’t expect  a good reception from readers?
I had no idea. I didn’t know how long books were supposed to be, how books are written and sold. Luckily, I got a crash course very quickly on how things work.

How do you come up with the names of your characters?
Most of them are pretty random. Mare was random.

A lot of them just popped into my head. I’m really good at coming up with random names. (Laughs).

Young fans at the meet-and-greet with Victoria Aveyard. (CDN PHOTO/EDD BUENAVIAJE)

Young fans at the meet-and-greet with Victoria Aveyard. (CDN PHOTO/EDD BUENAVIAJE)

And the rest?
Farley is the only one that is based on a real person. She’s my best friend and her middle name is Farley. So I went with that.

Cal is constructed because his last name is Calore which means “heat.” I was, okay, the nickname is that piece.

The rest is kind of pulled together. I knew my basic perimeters, like a theme, so the Silvers have all very elite-sounding, almost Roman inspired names. The Red ones are a little more common. They’re sort of spins on common names today. Their names are more rooted with the past.

How much research did you make?
Not as much as I would have if I was writing because I love historical fiction, but I don’t think I can do the level of research required to write those books. For me, it feels like cheating because with fantasy I can make up the research… which is nice.

But which part had a lot of digging up?
I didn’t research on a lot of stuff, like super human powers, what they are, how they sort of manifest, but because the book is set in a post-Apocalyptic world, I did look into what people are going to look like that far in the future, what the world would look like, how clotheslines will change and that kind of thing just so I get a feel of the world.

TAGS: author, book, writer
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