An Avid Reader’s Dream Come True
1) Let's get to know each other. What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
2) What is your genre and what drew you to it?
I write fantasy. It is the genre I gravitated towards most naturally with my writing as the magic and fantastical worlds always drew me in and captivated me. As an adult, I love the fact you can take real life, dress it up in a fantastical adventure and allow readers an escape while also providing an opportunity to deal with difficult things in an objective way where beliefs and thoughts from the real world don’t get in the way. It stops certain topics that are almost always going to be taken personally from being seen that way and open things up for the reader. To me, the fantasy books that have made me think of my own life and interactions have always been the ones that stay with me longest and that is what I love to write.
3) What is the best time of day for you to write?
I’m a mom of two young children, I have a day job, I’m a wife too. With things the way they are right now, there is very little time left over for writing, especially when I feel tired at the end of the day. When things go well, I manage to wake up early every morning and dedicate one hour to writing before I have to get my family up. Sometimes I struggle with even that, but that’s okay, because my family also often creates time for me on the weekend when they go to a playground or the nearby park and give me some time to write. I make the most of the time I have and when I do sit down, I am usually focused and very productive.
4) What is your favorite way to connect with readers? (Social media, newsletters or something else)
I am most active on Instagram and Facebook. Mostly, I use Facebook to connect with other authors, while Instagram is where I connect with readers. I do also have a newsletter where I share more about my works in progress and about myself. I also have a Facebook group dedicated to fairytales where readers can join me. We have a fairytale book club every 6-8 weeks and meet up using Facebook Rooms to chat about the book and fairytale.
5) Do you attend or participate in Cons or literary fests? If so, which ones?
Unfortunately, as I live in Sweden, attending book festivals and suchlike has not been possible. I have attended some book fairs in Sweden, but since the restrictions due to covid-19 I haven’t actually ventured out publicly. It’s probably time I did get back out there again.
6) Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, how did you overcome that?
There have been times where I’ve considered giving up the publishing side of things, but then I remembered all the readers who have reached out to thank me for my work or I read some of my positive reviews and I tell myself it’s okay to take a break and put myself and my health first, and come back to the publishing and more socially active side of things in a few weeks or months. There’s no problem with taking a break. We all need rest.
7) What gives you the most satisfaction in the writing process?
I love all aspects of writing. I enjoy coming up with the idea and working through the plotting. I love writing the first draft, but I also adore the editing process and polishing my books until they are the best they can be. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I really do love the whole business of creating a good book.
8) Who did you dedicate your first book to and why?
The Siblings’ Tale is a two-part retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ lesser-known fairytale, Brother and Sister. I dedicated Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale to my sisters because they were my first fans and as the story revolves around siblings, it seemed very fitting. I dedicated Becoming, Part 2 of the Siblings’ Tale to my children because they are “brother and sister” and I sincerely hope they continue to have as wonderful a sibling relationship as they currently have.
9) What is your favorite character from any book you have ever read?
Oh, wow! That’s hard. I average 100 novels a year, so this is a particularly difficult question. I think one of the characters who made the biggest impact on me when was growing up is Momo by Michael Ende. She was so different and her adventure so empowering, it really made a difference to how I saw the hectic consumerist world we live in. She also encouraged my own love of storytelling because of her powerful, almost magical, ability to listen. I really wished I could have a friend like Momo.
10) If you could take one item out of any book that you have ever read, what would it be or why?
Another really tough one. Let me see… Nope, I can’t come up with one, but the thing they all have in common is that they’re blades. I fall in love with any magical blades, no matter what story it is. Sting from The Lord of the Rings and Excalibur form the Arthurian legends, especially The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart, which is part of the most incredible retelling of those legends I’ve ever come across, to the Subtle Knife in the book by the same name penned by Philip Pullman. I love them all. If you want to keep me happy as a fantasy reader, just give me magical blades 😉
11) What is one book that is currently on your To-Be-Read list?
Darling, I have sooooo many! I offer my fellow indie authors a maximum of fifty reviews every year, so currently just that tbr is at 45 books, and then there are the books I have on my kindle that I still want to read. I am a bit of a mood reader, so I’ll often browse the selection I have and pick something at random. Other times, I read a book because I feel I really owe it. Anyway, the next book I’m planning to pick up as soon as I can, this may take a bit as I am currently writing a book with a looming deadline, is A Mermaid’s Tail by J.C. Seal, which is the fifth book in her Angels and Demons series but can be read as a standalone. I’ve loved this author’s other works, so really look forward to getting to this new release of hers.
12) How do you arrange your bookshelves? (Color, alphabetical or another method)
Generally, I go by genre, so the non-fiction books are together, and the fantasy books are on a different shelf. Then again, I also have very little shelf space, so things don’t stay as organized as I would like. My children don’t help much with that either. So, I guess the honest truth is: the books are on shelves. That’s organization enough for me.
13) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
Since I mentioned The Siblings’ Tale earlier, I guess I’ll start there. The duology is now part of a quite extensive collection of retellings. I’ve been focusing on retelling lesser-known fairytales. Here is a list of the published and upcoming books in the series. Most of these can be read as standalones:
Elisabeth and Edvard’s World series:
The Siblings’ Tale duology (Brother & Sister):
Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale
Becoming, Part 2 of the Siblings’ Tale
Gisela’s Passion (Giselle)
Naiya’s Wish (The Nixie of the Mill-pond)
Johara’s Choice (The Tinderbox)
To be released in 2024-2025:
The Zafira duology (Singing, Soaring Lark)
The Lion, the Lark, and the Lady
Down the Well (Mother Holle)
My flagship series is the Wishmaster series, which follows a travelling storyteller and her apprentice through an intergalactic empire where they use the magic of stories to alleviate suffering. This particular series is strongly influenced by my work as a transformational life coach and my love of space opera.
The Apprentice Storyteller
Finding the Way
I’ve also written a spin-off series where my readers get to experience the tales mentioned in the Wishmaster series. In The Wordmage’s Tales series, you can pick and choose from a range of stand-alone novellas that mainly fall under clean historical romance, however I see them all as my own invented fairytales for modern sensibilities.
The Wordmage’s Tales series:
The Companion’s Tale
The Sewing Princess
The Artist and His Muse
The Last Warrior
The Destitute Countess
I am also working on two other projects at the moment. The Last Vasa series is an urban fantasy with bear shifters and vampires set in contemporary Sweden and exploring some of the social issues I’ve noticed living in this country combined with some interesting tidbits from Swedish history. The second is a historical portal fantasy project I’m working on with Sky Sommers, one of my author besties. The Last Prince trilogy starts out as a portal fantasy retelling of The Nutcracker ballet set in Russia during the time of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent books span the past century of Russian history to explore some of the ideological and political elements that have wormed their way into our lived reality today. You can expect deep conflict, lots of soul searching and powerful, evil forces mashed up with Sommer’s sassy dialogue and a focus on friendship.
14) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
I have a website that also serves as a blogsite. I am not as active on it as I would like, but I do keep things up to date, so anyone curious to know what I’m working on or who wants to find out more about my books can check it all out here:
15) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
As mentioned before, I am most active on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/astrid.v.j_author_official/
But you can find all my other links and places to follow me, as well as my newsletter subscription through my link tree: https://linktr.ee/astrid.v.j_author_official
You can also purchase my books here: https://books2read.com/JoharasChoice
16) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
Johara’s Choice, my retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, The Tinderbox, releases on May 26 and I’m really excited for this release as it’s my fourth novel-length retelling of a lesser-known fairytale. I always loved this fairytale as a child, but as an adult I began to see issues with Andersen’s original that I wanted to respond to. This is why Johara’s Choice is written in dual point of view, including the original occurrences relating to the soldier and the magical tinderbox, while also exploring the life of the princess, who serves as an afterthought in Andersen’s version. This particular story has had a strong focus on mental health and a strong message about hope.