Friday, November 19, 2010

Interview wih Vijaya Schartz

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Vijaya Schartz. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called BLACK JAGUAR. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
When Kahuel sails away from Yalta to explore a new world, it is in large part to escape his past. He also hopes to prove himself as a worthy prince. But when tragedy strikes, and the new continent proves to be inhabited, he discovers that the powerful Mutant of Kassouk who commandeered his expedition has an alternate purpose.

Princess Talina of the Chosen clan, a peaceful native tribe concealed and protected by a race of powerful aliens, believes she can never wed. But when foreigners land on her shores, and they bring with them the legendary Lost Daughter of the Chosen prophecy, she realizes her fate is about to change. But how strange that the foreigners cannot mind-talk, and why to the felines like them is a mystery.

The Estrell people, a galactic race with problems of their own, have a crucial use for the innocent Chosen, and they cannot let a bunch of explorers jeopardize decades of work intended to insure the survival of their dying race.

With the future of the entire planet at stake, the struggle for power and for survival will play on this virgin continent, away from civilization. Can Kahuel, with his warriors and felines, simple weapons and Human ingenuity, prevail against impossible odds?

BLACK JAGUAR is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

This title follows the series. In the world I created for THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK, large felines have been tamed as pets and trained for battle. The Human warriors of Kassouk also like to take nicknames of felines representing their fighting abilities. In Book One, WHITE TIGER is the warrior name of the heroine. In RED LEOPARD, the hero is nicknamed Red Leopard, and he also has a leopard as companion. BLACK JAGUAR is no exception. It's the hero's nickname, and he also has a black jaguar as a companion.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Sci-Fi romance wasn't even a genre when I started writing it. I was lucky to find a publisher who believed there was a readership for it, and for the past ten years, I've been writing it. I love it. The readership is increasing steadily, especially since eBooks are becoming more popular.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I loosely plotted the entire series when the first book was published. But each book in the series can be read independently. If you are like me, however, you don't want any spoilers, so you will want to read them in the right order. The idea for BLACK JAGUAR came from history (as more often than not, even in sci-fi). The medieval society I created for the series, struggling against domination by technologically advanced races, has evolved to the point of ocean exploration of new continents. So this book brings explorers to the shores of unknown lands and people.

What are your favorite science fiction research books, and why?

Science is fascinating, and I follow its progress and try to determine the new directions, repercussions, and possibilities for the near and far future in space theories, health, genetics, etc. But I don't use books for that. By the time a book is published, the research is obsolete. Newspaper clippings, internet research, scientific television programs, research news (I love the Science channel). I also follow UFO investigations, and study ancient mythology (which could be based upon alien visitations in the far past) and History. All these areas are linked and full of information and inspiration for a sci-fi writer.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

The character I like writing the most is the character I am writing at the time. Right now, it's the heroine of BLUE LIONESS, Book Four in the series, schedule to come out next year. New characters are full of surprises, and fascinating. You do not shape them, they shape you. They hold power over the writer. But I have to say I always had a soft spot for the tall, handsome, dark, sexy hero of WHITE TIGER. His name is Dragomir.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?

If I am under stringent deadlines, I work from an outline, and I want to know my main characters before I start writing. So I use various techniques. Often, though, when I get to chapter three, I have to discard most of that work, because the character is not who I think he or she was in the beginning. So, I much prefer to start writing. I watch my character in action, and that tells me who he or she is. By the end of the story, I know my characters very well, so I go back to the beginning and flush them out to implement all the wonderful things I learned about them while writing the story.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

Yes, I use them, but only for myself. So I remember which way lies the Eastern Continent, or how long it takes to cross the ocean, and which way the suns rise (this planet revolves around a binary star, so they have twin suns). In book One, I had to chart for myself the landmarks of the continent. Only if it is clear in my mind can I make it clear to the reader.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to count. But my childhood was shaped reading the incredible adventures of Jules Vernes, although I never bought the world in the center of the Earth bit. It offended my knowledge of science, even as a child. Later, I loved Victor Hugo's realism and depth of characters. But I also loved Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask). Drama and adventure were my favorite staple at the library.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

That's a difficult question. It depends on what kinds of books. For paperbacks, definitely getting reviews from major magazines. When Archangel Checkmate's review came out in Publisher's Weekly forecast, and I signed three hundred copies in forty minutes at Book Expo America in Chicago, it gave all my books a great momentum in bookstore and library orders.

But that was before eBooks and all the wonderful opportunities now available to authors on the internet. Still the secret is to promote everywhere, all the time. Creating a buzz around your book is the best way to let the readers know, and remind them that your book is out.

What do we have to look forward next?

I'm writing two more books in THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK SERIES, Blue Lioness (August 2011) and Noah's Ark (April 2012). But I also have two new titles coming out from a Canadian eBook publisher at the beginning of next year SNATCHED, and KICKING BOTS, both sci-fi romance novels. The same publisher will also re-release in electronic format a number of my earlier paperback releases. So, lots of new releases to look forward to.

Thanks, Vijaya!

To celebrate her book release, Vijaya is offering a free paperback copy of Anaz-voohri, a sci-fi romance, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

With over a dozen novels published, Award-winning author Vijaya Schartz writes action romance in Sci-Fi, contemporary, paranormal, and historical settings. As a world traveler, she brings an exotic quality to her stories. Her books gathered three Golden Quill awards, one Independent Publishers Book Award, and numerous Reviewer’s Choice nominations and five-star reviews.

Check out author’s website at:

Buy her paperbacks, Kindle, and audiobooks at:


Anonymous said...

Good morning Vijaya. Thanks for joining us today. Do you prefer dark, milk or white chocolate today? Science Fiction has always intrigued me as I grew up watching Star Trek (the original), Star Wars and Battle Star Gallactica. In fact, I have to admit I wrote a really bad Star Trek episode as a teenager where I was the heroine and Kirk (a young one) was the hero. Enjoy your day.

Vijaya Schartz said...

Thanks, Kim. I love dark chocolate, the darker the bitterer (?) the better. Some words sound funny even written. Aren't these sci-fi TV shows great? My present favorites are Caprica, Stargate Universe, but I never say no to a rerun of Startrek TNG. I also love the summer shows, like Eureka, and a while back Kyle XY. Lots of good ideas there

Estella said...

How many books do you have planned in this series?
It sounds great.

Donna Hatch said...

I grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica, so I've always liked Sci Fi. Kim, when I was a kid, I wrote a couple of episodes for Battlestar Galactica(starring me opposite Apollo). Nowadays, they call that fan fiction ;-)
Great interview! Your series sounds great!
I've read Anaz-voori (probably butchered that one) so you don't need to enter me in the drawing -- I just wanted to stop by and say hi.

Cara Marsi said...

Wow, your stories sound fascinating. It's obvious you love Sci-Fi and you love what you write. It seems you infuse a lot of realism into your novels. Good luck. Great interview.

Vijaya Schartz said...

Estella, there will be five books in the series. Thanks for the comments, Donna and Cara. Cara, I see you love cats, too. I adore them.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Vijaya! How wonderful to see you here at MCTT! You write such action-packed stories, it's great to hear about your new release. I'm hoping I win this one. :}

catslady said...

I've learned to like dark chocolate because it's good for you :) I started out loving Sci-Fi - Twilight Zone and Outerlimits and then of course Star Trek and Star Wars. My reading was Edgar Allen Poe and then of course Stephen King with many other authors in between. I'm thrilled with the new genre and how can I not like a book titlted BLACK JAGUAR!! It sounds like it's right up my alley!

Vijaya Schartz said...

Congratulations to Estella, she won the paperback copy of Anaz-voohri. Enjoy your prize!