Denise: The last time I talked to you, you had a few books in your author portfolio. There are so many more. What inspired you to write not one, but three genres: Science Fiction, Contemporary and Medieval?
Vijaya: I simply cannot limit myself to one genre. I like to create worlds, be it in the past or the future. It makes things difficult for an author, since my readers do not always cross from one genre to the other. To me, though it’s storytelling, action, adventure and romance all the same.
Denise: Are these novels or novellas?
Vijaya: Most of my stories are full novels. I have only four novellas among my twenty something titles. Even my novellas are on the longer side, around 33,000 words.
Denise: Let’s talk about your latest romantic SF novella “Borealis IX – Akira’s Choice.” Why does bounty hunter Akira Karyudo feel something isn’t quite right about her new assignment?
Vijaya: Well, she thinks a seven-year-old child should not be a threat to the Trans Planetary Protectorate, so why would the authorities want him dead or alive? As a bounty hunter, she is not an enforcer, and she is not bound to obey orders. She thinks for herself and makes her own decisions.
Denise: Where is the boy being held?
Vijaya: The boy was just kidnapped from a psychiatric facility and the reader will quickly realize that the situation is not at all what it seemed at first. The boy and his kidnapper just arrived on the Borealis Space Station, at the fringe of conquered space, and Akira hopes to catch them there.
Denise: What is it about the boy that demands the attention of the Trans Planetary Protectorate?
Vijaya: That’s the million-credit question. No one knows… and I’m not going to spoil that discovery for the reader. But when the stardust hits the fan, all becomes clear.
Denise: What have you introduced in this book that you haven’t in your other SF novellas?
Vijaya: It’s something I had never tried in any of my books. The introduction of a child in the romantic mix. My sci-fi heroes and heroines tend to be military, action types, and often loners. Although these are action characters as well, this particular story has a strong element of family.
Denise: How do you keep your worlds and characters separate since you’ve written so many books?
Vijaya: Before writing the next book in a series, I reread all the books in that series to refresh my memory about the world and the characters, whether it’s a series of novellas (like Borealis, where several authors contribute), or my own Chronicles of Kassouk series, or my Medieval Fantasy series, Curse of the Lost Isle. I used to keep character sheets and all kinds of documents related to each book, but over the years, after several computer crashes, these are gone. So now, I read the books. (Love my kindle)
Denise: How do you add depth to their personalities?
Vijaya: I like to write in layers. Usually my first draft of a chapter will be about the dialogue, the action, the plot, what’s happening. Then the second pass is about the characters, the sensory details, the descriptions, the metaphors, etc. Then I polish and polish and get feedback from my critique partner.
As I write further into the story, my characters take on a stronger personality. By the end of the book, I know exactly what makes them tick, how they react, the details of their past. So I go back and add all the little idiosyncrasies and personality details I developed along the way. Often, what the readers comment about are these little character traits I added after finishing the book, almost as an afterthought.
I often remark about TV shows that, in the very first season, the characters are not as well defined. After a few seasons, when you know the characters, and you watch the first episodes again, you can see the difference and notice some inconsistencies. Fortunately, in a book, you can go back and correct these before sending the book to the publisher.
Denise: What is your current writing project?
Vijaya: Right now, I’m half-way through writing Book 5 in the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE medieval fantasy romantic series. It’s titled CHATELAINE OF FOREZ and features the immortal Melusine the Fae and the handsome Count Artaud of Forez. It should come out at the end of this year or in early 2014.
Denise: How many hours do you devote to writing a week?
Vijaya: Not enough. I cringe at my deadlines. Writing a chapter a week takes me three and a half days. But although I write full time, it seems promotion demands so much of my time that little is left in the day to write. I understand that it is a necessary evil. Writing the most wonderful book in the world is not enough. If no one knows it exists, it just won’t sell. We authors have this incredible pride to think that we write for the readers’ enjoyment. Truth is, we like to be read.