I spent a good decade masquerading as a foreign language teacher (Spanish, EFL, etc.) mainly to high school students and adults. Now, I write full(ish) time, which was what I always wanted to do with my life, so that's pretty cool. When I'm not writing or reading, I like to play outdoors. Backpacking, rock climbing, trail running, or even just walking in the woods with my four legged bestie, and my two-legged mini-me.
What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?
Blade's Edge (Chronicles of Gensokai Book One), and it WAS my debut. However, that was back in 2015. Traitor's Hope (Chronicles of Gensokai Book Two) came out in late 2017 and then in 2018 I released the first three books of the Victoria Marmot series, for a grand total of five books so far, with two more coming this fall.
Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?
The book is all about women and girls kicking butt in various forms (not just women warriors, but healers, leaders, etc.). If that doesn't appeal there may be no hope for you and this book. In addition, Gensokai is a world inspired by feudal Japan (but it's a fictional setting, not a historical one) so if you are only interested in medieval Europe as a fantasy backdrop you might be disappointed. If you're on board for strong women wielding katana, kiso (a ki based magic) and fighting the patriarchy every step of the way, then it's probably a book you'll enjoy.
Editor's Note: Fighting the patriarchy with katanas is my personal favourite way of doing it!
You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?
Well, I'd like to think so, but I am incredibly biased, as you might imagine. Why do I think it will stand out? Well, it features strong female leads, takes place in a fantasy setting that is NOT modeled after medieval Europe, and I believe it's an engaging tale. But, I write the books I want to read, and not everyone wants to read those books, so undoubtedly someone won't like it, and that's just fine.
WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!
Would you believe the dog ate it? Pretty effective hiding place in the short term. Long term, well... I suppose I'll find it eventually.
Editor's Note: Ew.
Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?
To get some additional visibility for Blade's Edge and to see how it fares amongst other fantasy books. It has been well reviewed from the start (I have a wonderful editor, and I do my best to market it to readers who are likely to enjoy it) but I'm curious how it fares under closer scrutiny.
Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?
I am currently working on the final book in my Victoria Marmot series, the fifth book should wrap up the series (though there are potential future stories in that universe, and possibly even with the same characters). At any rate, books four and five of the Victoria Marmot series will drop in November and then I'm back to working on the next book in my Chronicles of Gensokai series (the series which Blade's Edge begins).
Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?
I would like to thank Mark for organizing this whole thing and giving indie authors an opportunity to gain some visibility and recognition without having to shell out money. We need more contests like this one! Also, best of luck to all the other contestants. If previous years are anything to go by then there will be a large number of high quality books entered and the judges will have their work cut out for them. I'd be thrilled to even make it to the finals. Honestly, I'm just happy to be here.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European?
Editor's Note: Thank you for doing this, Virginia! I wish you the very best of luck with the competition, as well as with work on the conclusion of your Victoria Marmot seires.