Interview with Victoria Grefer

Victoria Grefer

Interview Date: 6/14/2012


Victoria is a New Orleans girl, born and raised, with an appreciation for the charm of the Deep South. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English and a master’s degree in Spanish literature, all from the University of Alabama. She started college as a journalism major and worked a year as a staff reporter for the Alabama student newspaper, “The Crimson White.” That experience that helped her realize, once and for all, that her love for writing lay with fiction. She started enrolling in creative writing classes the following semester.

From the age of six, Victoria dreamed of becoming a novelist, and her writing career began in the third grade with a series of stories about herself and her friends solving mysteries. In high school she fell in love with the fantasy genre, and started writing fantasy as an undergraduate student. She currently resides in Chicago, IL, where she spends her free time promoting “The Crimson League.” She is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, where she teaches Spanish and hopes to write a dissertation that links contemporary fantasy literature with the picaresque novel of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I have always been an avid reader, and in third grade, I discovered the Nancy Drew books. After reading a number of those, I started writing mystery short stories involving me and my friends from school finding secret passages in our houses and such. Wish I still had them! Would give me a good laugh. I started writing fantasy in college, after reading Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings and discovering how creative that genre allows you to be. The only limits are literally those you impose upon yourself as you create your fantasy world.

Kev's response: Well, there's a memory surge in otherwise defunct memory cells! I seem to recall reading the Hardy Boys.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

I have always, ALWAYS wanted to fly. I think that would be utterly amazing. Interestingly enough, though a number of my characters are not full sorcerers and limited to one superpower, only one very minor bad guy can fly. My sorcerers have never cast a spell to give themselves that ability: it would be a bit too blatant in the land of Herezoth, where a sorcerer is a dangerous thing to be. Assuming flying might not be powerful enough of a power, I’d go with telekinesis. Always loved Prue’s power on “Charmed.”

Kev's response: Both would be great fun to have!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Rogue, from the X-Men. I really like Anna Paquin’s portrayal of her in the movies.

Kev's response: Aww, and for a moment I thought I found a kindred spirit. I loved the version of Rogue from the comics, when she had Ms. Marvel's powers.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

My writing is therapy for me. I find that I use my characters and plots to explore, cope with, and attempt to find ways to confront the problems in my life. In terms of books that have influenced me, I’ve found that J.K. Rowing has provided me a lot of inspiration. Also, “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. My favorite book of all time, an absolute must-read. I learned to read French so that I could read it in its original language and not only in translation.

Kev's response: While I have a fair understanding of Spanish, I'm not sure I'd attempt to read a novel in it! Granted, I also speak "male grunt and point," but there's not much of a written language for it.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Generally I might have an idea of what will happen a scene or two ahead, but nothing beyond that. I don’t have outlines detailing a fully developed plot. That would constrict me too much. I need my characters to be able to grow and change and take the story into their own hands. They have surprised me SOOO many times!

Kev's response: Always the best times, it seems to me.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I am utterly useless at night for just about anything! I am definitely a morning person, and take advantage of that to write as soon as I wake up most days. I love starting the day with an activity I feel so passionate about and that brings me so much joy!

Kev's response: It is SO hard to hold my tongue here....

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I am a big fantasy fan. I have really enjoyed creating the world of Herezoth and getting to know its people. I am currently about 55,000 words into the final chapter in my Herezoth trilogy. After that, I know I would love to write a prequel focusing on the characters born noble in The Crimson League. Once that’s done, I’ll have to decide to whether to stick with fantasy or move on to something else. It would be great to write something set in the real world, involving one or more of my three favorite cities: New Orleans, Louisiana; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Madrid, Spain.

As a graduate student in Spanish literature, I have read quite a bit of Spanish language literature and enjoyed, in particular, some of the medieval and Renaissance texts, but I also read tons of fantasy. I’m hoping to link Spanish literature and Fantasy in my dissertation, so I’m currently reading Robin Hobb and Karen Miller for research: my adviser suggested them. I am totally enthralled by Hobb’s Farseer trilogy.

Kev's response: It seems like you've built a fondness for the world, after writing a good chunk of it. I've found something like that with my H.E.R.O. series, I'm currently 2/3 complete with the 7th novel.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I love getting to know the characters, and discovering what their stories are as I go. It’s really amazing not knowing, when I begin a novel, exactly how things will pan out, and then watching things slowly fall into place and come together. Those “eureka” moments when I realize for the first time how two subplots link together, or how something in a previous novel can influence my current project are absolutely magical.

Kev's response: But not flight, for that would give you away as a sorcereress. Wasn't it someone on the A-Team who said, "I love it when a plan comes together." I believe that fits. :)

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Substantial edits involving moving scenes around. Very, very necessary, but man, can they be a beast! Also, those days when it’s hard to figure out where to go next with the story can be discouraging.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I can probably quote entire scenes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Can’t say I’m proud of that, but it is what it is. Funniest movie ever, though my favorite movie of all time is “Casablanca.” Can probably quote that one just as well.

Kev's response: And I, dear lady, would understand those quotes. Well, the ones from Monty Python. Definitely wouldn't get anything from Casablanca.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

One at a time. I’m always a one at a time kind of girl. Far too much of a perfectionist and control freak to try to juggle multiple writing projects at once!

I'm looking to advertise for evil minions for my plot to take over the world, any suggestions?

Make it clear from the start that you’re in charge! No matter how you do it, that’s vital. You don’t want the minions vying against you for power.

Kev's response: I shall crush their imagined rebellion! (Or is that my imagined rebellion of them? Hmm.)

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I think e-books will win out, mainly because the world has become so environmentally conscious of late. Fewer paper books mean more trees.

What are your current projects?

Working on the first draft of the final chapter of my Herezoth trilogy, to follow “The Crimson League” and “The Magic Council” (not published yet, but hopefully in 2013!) Working title is “The Magician’s Revolt,” but I definitely will not be keeping that when the book is published. The right title hasn’t struck me yet, but I like the idea of following the pattern I established of “The Adjective Noun” with the first two installments.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

I wish I had known how vital Twitter is, and had built up a following before I released “The Crimson League” instead of just after. Would have made more of punch at the release for sure! That’s important. Take the time to establish yourself in the indie publishing community BEFORE you release.

Kev's response: That can be a challenge with nothing to show people, though. I agree, however.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Check out the blog for “The Crimson League” at One of my most recent posts is a short story I wrote about passion for football at my alma mater, The University of Alabama, and the blog has polls, character bios, posts about inspirations, and much more! Also, you can check out “The Crimson League” on facebook at You can follow me on Twitter (my handle is @vgrefer). Also, I have a goodreads author profile at

Kev's response: Victoria, thank you so much for joining me! I hope the second book in the trilogy does well, and get the third complete!

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