Ricardo Victoria - Magic and Mayhem, Sword and Sorcery, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Ricardo Victoria - Magic and Mayhem, Sword and Sorcery, Science Fiction and Fantasy
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Born in the frozen landscape of Toluca, Mexico, Ricardo dreamed of being a writer. But needing a job that could pay the rent while writing, he studied Industrial Design and later obtained a PhD in Sustainable Design, while living in the United Kingdom. There, he did a few things besides burning the midnight oil to get his degree: -Trained in archery near Nottingham -Worked in a comic book store to pay for his board game & toy addiction He is back now in Toluca, living with his wife and his dogs where he works as an academic at the local university. He has short stories featured in anthologies by Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press and he was nominated to a Sidewise Award in 2017 for the short story “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon”, co-written with his arch-nemesis, Brent A. Harris. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Tempest Blades.

Please give us a short introduction to what Tempest Blades is about.

The Tempest Blades series is a story in progress, with 2 books – Withered King & Cursed Titans – plus a few short stories published, about this legendary hero Fionn, who after his final battle during the Great War found himself awakening 100 years later is asked to return to the role of hero to stop an evil from his past and saving the world from looming menaces from beyond the physical realm. Along the way, he is joined by a new band of heroes: Gaby, Alex, Sam (who is Fionn’s great-granddaughter and adoptive daughter), Fionn’s best friend Harland, and Sid the Samoharo. (In the Cursed Titans they are joined by Kasumi the demon hunter, Joshua, a man with mysterious powers, and Yokoyawa, Sid’s cousin). Fionn finds himself in the role of mentor to this new band, preparing them for the challenges that they will face. Every action has a consequence both in the large scale of the world they live in, and on a personal level, which is reflected in The Cursed Titans with the fallout from the conclusion to The Withered King and the toll to Alex and Gaby’s mental health and personal lives.

Bottom line, the Tempest Blades series is a story about getting a second opportunity, finding redemption, and your place in the world amidst action-packed adventures that actually read like a tabletop role-playing (TTRPG) campaign! I’m writing each book to be self-contained, even as they are part of the larger continuity, so readers get a whole story in each book along a larger arc.

What inspired you to write this story? Was there something that made you want to tackle this?

I started to write as a sort of therapy to help me cope with my own bouts of depression and talk about things that interest or even frustrate me. To me, writing Tempest Blades has been a great therapy session. It also allows me to live the adventures I always wanted to have as a kid that grew up with a steady diet of 80’s and 90’s cartoons with the best set of friends one could wish for (yeah I was a solitary kid back then). I was also interested in writing a story from the POV of the mentor, at least for part of it, as in most SFF stories the mentor teaches and then is unceremoniously dispatched. I wanted to prove that the mentor can be a protagonist on its own right.

Tell us more about Fionn. What makes him so special?

Fionn would be the first person to tell you that he is nothing special, so I don’t want to incur his anger by contradicting him. Fionn is just a smalltown kid that found a magical sword and decided to use it to protect his town from marauders and from there he saw himself thrusted into ever increasing risky adventures until he became somewhat of a living legend (a status he is not fond of) and a hero that kinda lives up to the legend and is now in charge of teaching and guiding the next generation of heroes to be the best versions of themselves. I think that what makes him special is his heart. Even when he is in a rough patch and wants nothing to do with the rest of world, if someone needs help, and that goes especially for his friends and family, and to some extent his people, the Freefolk, he will be there in the front line to help in any way he can. His moral compass has only been strengthened by the horrors he has witnessed and in some cases endured. So I think that it is not his abilities, like the healing factor, nor his trusty sword Black Fang that makes him special, but it’s his character. He is a hero by choice, and he makes that choice every day even with the little things that can make others have a better day. Even if he is not feeling well himself and could use a hand.

Why did you decide to write a flying ship into the story?

To help the plot to move at a realistic pace and curiously enough, increases the sense of urgency. I’m also a fan of vessels as characters within the stories, like the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars or the Going Merry in One Piece. Finally, I’m an Industrial Designer by formation, so I liked the idea of creating my own iconic ship.

What drew you to the SFF genre?

Waxing a bit poetic, the possibility of living amazing adventures through the characters I read or write, to live vicariously through them and to feed a childlike sense of amazement at what the possibilities of the world can be, and maybe, should be.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I kinda dwell in toy photography as a way to relax, and I used to practice archery many moons ago, but I’m nowhere as good as Alex is. Also, I can wiggle all the toes in my feet.

Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?

Aside finding the correct word for them (as I’m writing in my second language), not really. I have a pretty vivid imagination and really weird anime-esque dreams, so I’m used to it.

Have you always known that you wanted to be a writer?

Yes. Since I was a kid, I liked to create my own stories and dreamed of writing my own cartoons and comics. So yeah, this is a life-long ambition.

Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?

A couple of times, as each one of them have their very unique, strong personalities, sometimes they decide what to do or take the conversation into unplanned tangents, which incidentally serve for the worldbuilding, so it’s all good. For the most part we have reached an agreement on how to work out the story.

The world you built is both strange and familiar in many ways. How did you pull this off?

I’ve been playing and tinkering in this world for many, many years, as homebrew a setting for TTRPG campaigns, for my stories, and as mental exercise for relaxation. So, it kinda grew organically, as I added and subtracted things that I like, things that inspire me, personal experiences such as travels abroad and stuff I dream. Also, one of the topics I teach at university is system thinking and I apply that to my worldbuilding because I like everything to make sense within the system that is my world. Even the strangest thing has a reason to be there.

What did you have the most fun with while writing Tempest Blades?

The action scenes and the banter. As I have a pretty vivid imagination, writing them is like watching one of those cool movie scenes that everybody remembers. Also, I love writing the dialogues between my characters. Some sound cool or inspiring, others make me laugh.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

There is no such thing as an average writing day, I write when I can, as my day job can be a bit hectic at times and quite calm at others. As for habits, let’s see… I usually write the ending first, then the prologue and then whatever scene my current mood inspires. I also have a file on my phone where I write down what ideas came suddenly or interesting dreams I have to use later as inspiration for different scenes.

What are you working on right now?

A story collection of tales within the Tempest Blades universe and the third book in the series.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I tend to very responsive an easy to interact with on Twitter, my handle is: @Winged_Leo 
I also have a website with the following domains (choose the one you like the most):
https://ricardovictoriau.com/ or
https://scifantastique.com/