Sunday, March 06, 2016

Out and About: Book Signing with Victoria Aveyard

Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

I finished Red Queen and Glass Sword and the novellas in a little more than a week. It was cross over galore. It had an entertaining cast, a beautiful setting and a robust rebellion, which I all love. Today, I met the author and the creator of Cal, Victoria Aveyard in the book signing. #VictoriaAveyardinPH was enlightening - I got to ask the question that has been burning in my mind.

The Basics
Who: Victoria Aveyard
What books: Red Queen, Glass Sword + Cruel Crown.
When: March 6, 2016
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What I learned about Victoria Aveyard, her books and her writing style from the Q&A:

Here was my question to Victoria: Could you tell us if there is some kind of scientific background or explanation regarding the First Divide, when Silver and Red blood split two ways?
It was a result of nuclear warfare a thousand years before the story happened. There was mutation among mankind.

Victoria's advice to writers:
You have to finish your first draft. You need to finish your book before you could sell your book. Victoria is fond of action sequences and high-octane parts. It is easier for her to draw out a map of long battle sequences. In order to be good at writing action scenes, you need to read stuff with it and internalize the language of it. Though you need to balance it out a little - 100 pages of action scenes could just be 10 minutes in real time.

Which is more important: characters or plot?
Victoria started Red Queen with the world or in this case, an image = the Red girl in an arena about to be executed but then she kills her executioner instead, with lightning. Victoria's style is from macro to micro. Characters are more important for her. It is more important to have characters that are relatable because they keep the story alive and keep the readers reading.

On the story of Red Queen being set from a duology to a saga:
In book two, Glass Sword, Victoria figured out the ending of the story. She doesn't consider having four books for the series as extending or stretching the story. It all had to do with understanding the characters and their reactions to what was happening in the book. The characters were moving on their own accord, taking specific turns to specific paths and taking detours around the plot.

How far is Red Screen from the silver screen?
Elizabeth Banks has been signed to direct the movie. Victoria feels that she is very much involved in the process. It was also great that this was her line of her work, this way she knows where her job/her role ends. She doesn't stress out too much about the entire thing.

Victoria's favorite fantasy books and books that she drew inspiration from:

1. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - this was mainly Victoria's inspiration. She mentioned that she brought the book around with her for two years and kept rereading it.
2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - she starting reading the Harry Potter series when she was nine years old. The last book was released when she was 17 years old. She was just "there" during the Harry Potter period.
3. Song of Ice and Fire- She loved how the author twists fantasy tropes. No one's good and no one's evil in the novel. Good characters make bad decisions. Bad characters make good decisions. The characters were in a gray area and this made them more interesting.

What are the advantages of having a film/screenplay writer background in writing a book?
Film school gave Victoria a comprehensive, highly detailed way of storytelling. Pacing is key. Escalation is the name of the game. Each scene/chapter should up the ante. You should know your audience. Her main role was an entertainer to her audience. Screenplay is like poetry for her. In a screenplay you need to finish telling a story with limited words and make use of context really well in 120 pages tops. In a novel, you could really, completely paint a picture. She prefers to work on whatever she wasn't working on.

Which part was the most difficult to write?
It was difficult to write the 'quiet scenes' for Victoria Aveyard - the part where the characters regrouped after something bad happens. In the Red Queen, it was the entire middle of the book. After a certain character had died, the protagonist was a lunatic.

Inspiration for the names and abilities of the royal houses: Victoria did a lot of google translation from English to Latin and vice versa. Cal was from the word Calore, which meant heat in Spanish. She also played with a few words: Osanos sounded like ocean. Victoria used wikipedia to research about super powers. Some of the super powers serviced the plot. Elora had to be a mindreader. Evangeline, who could control metal, always had needles around her which was an indication of her character.

Victoria on literary betrayals: Game of Thrones is the ultimate book for literary betrayals. There was a time when the author of Game of Thrones took three characters successively and Victoria had to be in a dark place, sad and broken. Harry Potter was another favorite of hers, Sirius Black + Dumbledore. Taking away the mentor was storytelling 101. It was a pattern that people follow.

Victoria on the third book: Characters who are not that present in Glass Sword will be in Red Queen 3, based on what happened towards the end of Glass Sword.

Victoria on the strong presence of feminist indicators in the book: Victoria is a modern woman. It is her natural inclination to write about a woman who is respected, who is a strong, opinionated character but isn't necessarily a perfect one. Victoria liked Mare's flaws above her powers.

Victoria on mixed fantasy, science fiction and dystopian genres in Red Queen: Victoria likes genre mashups. She is a kitchen sink writer and she needs to love what she writes. Dystopia is the background/setting of the story. Fantasy is the power house/monarchy set-up. Science fiction is the super powers of the characters.

Victoria on the portrayal of Mare and what readers could expect from Mare after Glass Sword:
Glass Sword is the book where Mare wobbles. It was her anti-hero moment. In the third book, Mare would realize that she is not the center of the universe. Here is a brief rundown of what happens to Mare:

Book 1: She trusts the wrong people.
Book 2: She doesn't trust anybody.
Book 3: She tries to trust who she is and who she could be.

My Reaction: It was really fun to go out to meet bookish people and another amazing author after several months of quiet life. I missed the zing and enthusiasm in the air. I missed being with my blogger ladies and gents. It's always great to be able to mingle and discuss things with like-minded people. NBS staff were awesome as usual - seriously, they do a great job in making a booklover's dream come true. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to have a giveaway copy signed for you guys this time around. The rules said three books and I had three - if I knew, I would have bought the ebook version of the novella, instead. I'll try to whip up something by next week! *winks*

My black shirt, my hair and Miss Aveyard

Victoria and I

Signed books :)

The group and Victoria Aveyard. I'm the one holding Glass Sword.

Thank you to National Bookstore and Harper Collins for making this happen! You guys rock.

1 comment:

  1. That's so great! Man, you guys get the best authors. So jealous.