INTERVIEW WITH VICTORIA ZIGLER!
It’s a pleasure to have you back again, Tori.
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
My name is Victoria, but I prefer to be called Tori. I’m a vegetarian poet and children’s author, who was born in the Welsh mountains, but now lives on the English coast.
I’ve been married to my Canadian husband for a little over 15 years now, and we currently have four furkids: a degu named Joshua, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.
I’ve never had particularly great eyesight, and have now been completely blind for more than a decade. I’ve been visually impaired since birth, registered blind since just before becoming a teenager, and lost the last of my sight to Congenital Glaucoma in my early 20s.
jjspina: I’m so sorry to hear about your loss of sight. You appear to be adapting amazingly well. God bless you.
2. How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
It varies. Sometimes – such as in the case of my “Degu Days Duo” and “Kero’s World” books – the ideas will come from the events in the lives of one or more of my furkids. Sometimes it will be an event in my own life that inspires me, like how my struggles to adapt after my sight loss inspired my “Toby’s Tales” series. Sometimes it will be random questions that pop in to my head, musings from things I’ve read or watched, or random things I hear in my day to day life. In other words, my ideas can – and do – come from just about anywhere.
I write them all down, and work on whichever I’m most inspired to work on at any given time, often having more than one story on the go at once.
jjspina: You are amazing, Tori, with all you have done with your books.
3. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a middle-grade pirate adventure story. This is a challenging project for me, since most of my stories are either fantasy stories, fairy tale retellings, or animal stories based around my pets. The fact I’m challenging myself with this project – combined with some real life stuff I’ve been dealing with this year – means it’s taking longer to complete than I thought it would. But I’m enjoying the challenge, along with the things I’m learning while doing research.
I’m also working on another poetry collection. I’m always working on another poetry collection, since I start thinking about the next one as soon as I finalize the previous one.
Along with both those projects, I’m also currently in the process of getting all my backlist available in audio, which is a project I started last year. I have over 50 titles, and 40 of them are now available in audio, with most of the others in various stages of production.
jjspina: Wow, you certainly are a busy young lady. Good for you!
4. What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?
I have a lot of hobbies I dabble in, some I do more than others. Reading is right up there in the top spot, of course. But I also enjoy watching movies, watching nature and science themed documentaries, watching some other types of TV shows, listening to music, knitting, solving brainteaser puzzles, playing Dungeons And Dragons style roleplaying games, and sometimes doing a little cooking and baking. I’ll dabble in a few other activities from time to time too, but those are the main ones.
Jjspina: Like I said before, Tori. You are one amazing lady!
5. What is your target audience for your book?
My new release, “Where’s Noodles?” is aimed at animal-loving children. It’s aimed at those old enough to enjoy a story without pictures – since my books are not illustrated – but still young enough that sitting through a long reading session isn’t going to happen. So around 1st grade, give or take, depending on the child’s reading level.
Most of my books are aimed at a similar sort of reading level, though there are a couple of my books I’d recommend for slightly older readers. I have a story about the Battle of Hastings, for example – it’s called “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” – which contains some violence due to being about a real battle, so it carries a warning on its blurb that it’s not suitable for younger, or more sensitive, readers.
jjspina: You have quite a broad range of books and subjects sure to entertain many ages.
6. What advice would you give prospective authors?
Read, write, research, revise, and edit. All of those are important things to do. But the main thing is to write. Just sit down and write. Worry about the rest of it afterwards.
Also, if you’re going to write about a character with a disability, and don’t have that disability yourself, please actually talk to someone with that particular disability to find out how things really work. Not all the myths about disabled people are true. I don’t have super hearing just because I’m blind, for example. I wish I did, because that would be kind of cool. But I don’t. So, just as you would research any other topic thoroughly – at least, I certainly hope you would – do your research when it comes to writing about a person with a disability too. Most people are happy to educate people as to what it’s really like having their particular disability. I’m always happy to answer questions about blindness, for example. Just ask. The same goes for people of cultures and religions not your own.
Jjspina: Wonderful advice, Tori. Thank you for sharing that with me and my readers.
7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could go absolutely anywhere, I’d love to go to Africa on safari. Just to see the animals.
I’ve had some awesome animal experiences. Last year, for example, I had a keeper for the day zoo experience, where I got to cuddle an armadillo, a hedgehog, a meerkat, and some snakes, as well as feeding bats, lemurs, and penguins, among other things. I’ve also had several experiences dealing with farm animals, including bottle feeding lambs and kids (as in baby goats). Then there have been the times I’ve ridden various animals, like the camel I rode while on holiday in Cyprus, the donkeys I used to ride during trips to the beach, the elephant I rode at a circus when I was about six, and the various horses I’ve ridden over the years. All that is not including the lifetime of caring for my own birds, cats, chinchillas, degus, dogs, fish, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and rats. Each one was a wonderful experience, which I’m glad to be able to say I’ve had – especially the keeper for the day experience, which was beyond awesome. But an African safari would be even more amazing.
Unfortunately, the combination of cost, extra arrangements that would need to be made because of my lack of sight, and my inability to deal with hot temperatures – seriously, I’ve been struggling with the UK’s Summer temperatures, and they’re nothing compared to how hot it can get elsewhere – I doubt it’s ever going to happen.
Maybe I’ll just go with plan B and go to Disneyland Paris, and while I’m there check out the other tourist things in Paris. Or do the things I’d like to do even closer to home, like visit Loch Ness and Stonehenge.
Jjspina: I wish you all the best with your traveling and pray that you get to visit some of those places.
8. What would you do if you were not a writer?
I can’t imagine not being a writer. I’d likely still write even if I didn’t publish anything. Writing isn’t just a job to me. It’s part of me.
However, if I didn’t have the option to call my writing my job, and had to pick something else to do, I’d want to do something involving either animals or young children. Whether that be a vet, a zoo keeper, a pet-sitter, a child-minder, or whatever. Working with animals or young children is the only way I think I could be happy doing something other than writing, and even then I’d likely find some way to get some writing time in.
Jjspina: I bet you would find a way to write. If it’s what you love, then you must do it. I understand perfectly.
Book blurb: Where’s Noodles
“Noodles is a strange red creature with a squeaker in his tummy, who just happens to be the favourite toy of a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie. At least, he is now, since the bushytailed squirrel and cuddly triceratops fell apart while she was playing with them – totally not her fault, by the way!
Now noodles is missing.
Lilie’s sure she left Noodles on the living room floor when she went walkies. But when she comes home and goes to fetch him so they can have a nap together, Noodles isn’t there.
Where’s Noodles? Is he somewhere else, or is he lost forever?”
Available in multiple eBook formats, with paperback and audio versions planned for the near future.
Where to find the book:
About the author:
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK, with her hubby and furkids. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world. She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time.
To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the future. She makes her books available in multiple eBook formats, as well as in both paperback and audio. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, which is available in eBook only.
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Thank you, Tori, for sharing your new book with me and my readers. I love the cover. I wish you much success with all your future endeavors. It was a pleasure to have you back again.
Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read about Victoria Zigler. I hope you will check out her books and links above.
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