Interview with Children's Fantasy Author Victoria Simcox

Victoria, also known as Vicki, was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She has one older sister. When she was 7, Vicki moved with her family to British Columbia. Then in her early twenties to Western Washington, where she now resides in Marysville WA. She has been married for almost 20 years, and has 3 children. For the past 10 years, she has home schooled her children, and she also teaches elementary school art. Her other family members are, a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, 2 cats, named Frodo and Fritz, and 1 parakeet, named Pauly. She did have a pet rat named Raymond; when she started writing The Magic Warble, but sad to say, he has since passed away of old age. Vicki enjoys writing, reading, painting watercolors, good movies and just hanging out with friends and family. Her favorite author is C.S. Lewis, and one of her fondest memories is when she was 12. She would sit at the kitchen table, and read the Chronicles of Narnia to her mother while she cooked dinner. These magical stories were very dear to Vicki and she remembers wishing, If only I could go to Narnia like Lucy and Susan. Vicki hopes that maybe she can touch someone with her story in a similar way.

Facebook: Victoria Simcox
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Welcome to The Writer's Life, Victoria. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Victoria: I am wife and mother, and have home schooled my 3 children for the past 10 years, and am still in the process with the younger two. My oldest son Toby, 16, is now going into his first year of college. I have spent a lot of my time helping my children learn all their school subjects and I've also been an elementary school art teacher for the past 7 years. I started writing about 8 years ago and I began writing The Magic Warble about 5 years ago. It started out as a little hobby that I only worked on occasionally, but then eventually grew into a daily regimen.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Victoria: My book, The Magic Warble, is a fantasy story, listed as Juvenile fiction, but I feel it is for all ages. I'd say Juvenile and Young adult fantasy are still my favorite categories to read.
Growing up reading CS Lewis's beloved Narnia Chronicles has influenced me in writing The Magic Warble. My story is about a 12 year old girl named Kristina Kingsly, who hates to go to school because she doesn't fit in. She's bullied by some of the kids, and they make her daily life miserable. I created this aspect of my main characters life, because as a child, I had experienced dealing with bullies in school myself, and I remember hating to go because of them.

My parents owned their own piano store and they up and moved it many times, so before the age of 13, I had made 5 major moves, and had been to 7 different public schools. I can remember this being difficult for me, especially having to leave friends I had made, and even worse having to make new ones, which I was not good at.

I named the main character "Kristina" after my daughter Kristina, who is 14 now. Even so, my book's character is not characterized after my daughter. Kristina in The Magic Warble is definitely her own unique person.

In the story, Kristina receives a gift from her teacher at school, and it's this gift that magically takes her to another world, where she finds out that she not only fits in, but is chosen for a very important task, and if she completes the task, she will change the destiny of the land. Throughout her journey, Kristina meets all kinds of characters, such as dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and a teenage boy named Werrien, who ends up going along with her on her adventure. Along her perilous journey, she will not only have her strength tested but her heart as well.

I wrote this story because, I love fairy tales and fantasy stories, and I have a big imagination that I thought I may as well put to good use. Once I got started writing the manuscript, I couldn't stop. My characters seemed to take on a life of their own and I felt that I owed it to them to finish their story. This may seem a little weird, but when you spend so much time writing a story, you do, or at least I do get very attached to my characters.

Even though The Magic Warble is a fantasy filled with adventure, suspense and intrigue, the underlying message is one of faith, hope, perseverance, friendship and love.

What kind of research was involved in writing The Magic Warble?

Victoria: Being that The Magic Warble is a fiction fantasy story, I didn't have to do much research. The story was created from my imagination. I would say that it has aspects of my past entwined throughout it, and also influences from famous writers, such as C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, and J K Rowling.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Victoria: It started off as a real bumpy ride, being that my manuscript got a lot of rejections. This can be quite depressing, but it is definitely not uncommon, because it is really hard for a new author to get published. I have heard that even if your writing is superb, a lot of publishers won't want the risk of taking on a new author. Even so, I am not one to give up so easily. I knew that my story was good—not trying to brag, but almost all the kids I have talked to who have read it, told me that they loved my story. Even the ones, who hardly ever read books, told me that they couldn't put the book down. I even had a grown up tell they cried at the end of the book.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Victoria: I'd say it took 9 months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Victoria: I don't have an agent, and have never had one, but that's just the way it went for me. I know that a lot of publishers require you to have an agent, or they won't even consider your manuscript. I think that an agent could be very helpful in getting your manuscript reviewed by more publishers, but on the other hand, if you can get accepted by a publisher without using an agent, of course you would save yourself some money. I suggest that a new author send their manuscript out to publishers that don't require agents, first and if they don't get accepted, hire an agent then.
Do you plan subsequent books?

Victoria: Yes, I'm thinking 3, maybe 4 for the Magic Warble series. I am a little over half way done with book 2 in the series.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Victoria: I almost always write at my computer in my bedroom, so that would be my favorite place.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Victoria: The first thing I'd do is upgrade my website to have full flash and music.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Victoria: Self promotion is very important, because even if your publisher is promoting you, it will be even better to promote yourself as well. On line, I have a website, and a blog, also a book trailer and I am doing an online tour. Off line, I have been doing a lot of signings in book stores, and have done book talks at libraries and schools. I think that an author must get out and meet people. I feel that you should show your audience that you are about relating to them. In other words get your eyes off yourself and touch someone else by meeting them in person. Showing a genuine interest in my readers, I have found to be most rewarding.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Victoria: I would say getting rejected by agents and publishers is one of the most common reason writers give up. Also low self esteem and fear can be the culprit as well. I, like anyone else, have had fears, doubts, and even anguish at times while going through my publishing journey. But I had to remember what my character "Kristina" went through in my book, and how one of my messages entwined throughout the pages is, "never giving up" so, the answer is no. I did not almost give up. I believe that one should never give up on their dreams, no matter what. Failure should never be an option. Abraham Lincoln is one person I really admire. The odds were very much against him, yet he never gave up. What a great inspiration he is. Here is one of his quotes I love: Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose your power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life. Wow! Powerful!

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Victoria: If you truly feel that writing is your life's purpose, then no matter how hard the publishing journey gets, or how frustrated you get when writers block may stop your creativity, or how low your self esteem may get, never give up. Even so, saying all this, don't expect miracles to fall into your lap. You'll have to search and work very hard figuring out what to do next, but I believe if you do this, an opportunity will show its self. Do a lot of research. The internet is a goldmine of information. I'll leave you with another good quote: Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. J. R. R. Tolkien

Thank you for your interview, Victoria. I wish you much success!

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