Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet Author Vijaya Schartz

Today's spotlight is on multi-published author, Vijaya Schartz. Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims she comes from the future. Her published books collected many five star reviews and literary awards. Her books have been compared to Indiana Jones Adventures with sizzling romance.

DRose: Thank you for spending the day with us Vijaya. Start by telling us a little about yourself. Where are you from? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Vijaya: I was born and raised in France, near Paris, and at the time, while studying for an acting career, I dreamt of world wide travels, discovering little known civilizations, and writing about it. I interrupted my acting to go live in India for an extended period of time. When I look back, I realize that I did travel extensively and lived in Europe, India, Hawaii, and other parts of the United States, including Florida, Philadelphia, and Phoenix Arizona. I traveled to Japan, Thailand, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and now I’m writing novels where I use my knowledge of other cultures to create characters and social conflicts on imaginary worlds.

DRose: Wow, that’s a lot of traveling. I can imagine how inspiring those places are. Are there any authors that have influenced you or your work?

Vijaya: In college I fell in love with the French classics, particularly the great romantics of the Nineteenth Century. Victor Hugo (Les Miserables), Balzac (Madame Bovary), Alexandre Dumas (The three Musketeers), George Sand, Jules Vernes, and later the poets like Charles Baudelaire, Guillaume Appolinaire, and novelists like Collette, Frank Herbert (Dune series), Hemingway, Falkner. Then in America, I discovered Sci-Fi fantasy and Indiana Jones and found my calling. When I settled down to write, I knew I would write unusual adventure in exotic settings. The romantic element came later, and I incorporated it into my Science Fiction.

DRose: Your literary tastes are pretty eclectic. Do you have a favorite book or series?

Vijaya: I had many: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley was an important book for me. I also liked her Darkover series. The Dragons of Pern by Ann McCaffrey were some of my favorites. I loved The Clan of the Cave Bear, but the series didn’t live up to the first book. More recently, I got hooked on THE RELICS OF MERLIN series, by Kathryne Kennedy.

DRose: When you're not writing, do you have any hobbies or interests?

Vijaya: I am a black belt in Aikido (Japanese self-defense), I used to surf in Hawaii, I have been known to jump out of perfectly good planes and ride the river wild, and hike. But these activities are fast receding into the background. It seems that writing is taking over my life. Somehow these interests find their way into my books as well.

DRose: Speaking of, can you tell us more about your book. What's it about and what inspired you to write it?

Vijaya: I had a dozen books published. Most recently two novellas from Sapphire Blue Publishing, A DESPERADO FOR CHRISTMAS and COYOTE GORGEOUS, both contemporary romances, one of them a shapeshifter story. Then last year Desert Breese Publishing asked me to write a series titled THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK, based on an award-winning book of mine, WHITE TIGER, which they re-released in August 2009 as Book One. Originally, WHITE TIGER started as a writing exercise and was supposed to be a short story about snow. Then it became this elaborate romance set in a medieval society controlled by intergalactic beings worshipped in the temple as gods. They keep large felines as pets and the heroine learned to fight with tigers.

DRose: How long did it take for you to get published and what was the journey like?

Vijaya: I started to write seriously for publication in 1991, and my first novel was published in 2000. The second and the third novels were released in 2001. Then came a dry spell for three years. I switched genre and found a new publisher in 2004, writing sci-fi romance series. Then Triskelion Publishing closed in 2007, and I currently have two publishers, Sapphire Blue Publishing for my novellas (eBooks and audiobooks) and Desert Breeze Publishing for my sci-fi romance novels, in eBook and print.

DRose: Any current projects you're excited about and can share with our readers?

Vijaya: I’m now finishing the second book in the Chronicles of Kassouk series, RED LEOPARD, to be released in April 2010, and I am starting work on Book Three, BLACK JAGUAR, to be released in November 2010. More books in the series will follow.

DRose: Do you plot your story before you write it or do you sit and let it flow?

Vijaya: It depends on the book and on the publisher. For my first books, I wrote by the seat of the pants. These manuscripts necessitated many rewrites, not just edits, but major recasting. Then when I started writing sci-fi series, I had to write them fast from a publisher’s idea and deliver a full synopsis before signing the contract. I learned to plot ahead, and writing from an outline made the writing easier and much faster. I also noticed that the books were shorter. But now, with The Chronicles of Kassouk, since the first book was written years ago by the seat of the pants, plotting the others would change the style and make the story too direct, too linear, and probably shorter. In order to keep the feel of the first book, with its original charm and its atmosphere, I had to trust my muse to lead me on a sinuous path while I developed new characters and new conflicts in a more organic way. Right know, I’m enjoying that process.

DRose: Do you write to music or the TV?

Vijaya: Depending on what I’m writing, I’ll listen to the kind of music that transports me into the world I’m writing about. While writing medieval series, I listen to ancient medieval music. When writing Ashes for the Elephant God, set in India, I was listening to Indian music. While writing my Archangel series, I listened to country music, because it was the main character’s background. More ethereal music sometimes helps me focus when I’m writing science fiction. But TV would be too much of a distraction.

DRose: Most people see writers as hermits, closed off in a room, clacking away at the keyboard until the final page is typed. Do you consider yourself this disciplined as a writer?

Vijaya: Almost. I am definitely a hermit by nature, and I have a strict, full time writing schedule. If I don’t respect it, I won’t make my deadlines, and my publisher is counting on me. I am a Capricorn, in other words a workaholic, and I take my responsibilities very seriously.

DRose: They say you can learn a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your work area look like?

Vijaya: Not as neat as I would like it to look. I only clear my office three times a year. Piles of papers on the desk and on the work table, but I know what’s in each pile. My cats love to nap on the bench next to my desk, to the sound of the keyboard strokes. Sometimes the cats, too, want to write, and step on the keyboard to get closer to me. My youngest kitten once pushed the delete key when I had a whole chapter highlighted to print. Thank God for the “undo” key.

DRose: What do you consider your guilty pleasure?

Vijaya: Dark chocolate peanut Reeses, a glass of red wine, and a good movie, after I’ve written my quota for the day.

DRose: Can you tell us a bit about the workshop you’ll be doing for the Desert Rose Conference?

Vijaya: My workshop is titled TAMING THE BOOK PROMOTION MONSTER. The promotion side of a writing career is baffling to most writers and first time authors. Even multipublished authors struggle with promotion. The most popular best-selling authors hire publicists because they know the importance of promotion. It’s even more important for a fledgling author. It used to be the publisher’s job, but more often than not, nowadays, this responsibility falls back on the author, who is often judged by how well the book sells. It’s a vicious circle.

Fiction authors, with their introverted personality, are ill-equipped for the marketing scene. My workshop simplifies and clarifies what is expected from an author, with useful lists, countdowns, guidelines, and inexpensive ideas to help them navigate successfully the murky waters of book marketing, without breaking the bank or sacrificing their precious writing time.

More about Vijayay: Since her first release in 2000, Vijaya had a dozen books published in Sci Fi, mainstream and romance, in print, audio books, and electronic format, often mixing genres. With four different publishers, her early experiences with small press forced her to quickly learn the art of promotion in ways she never thought possible. Vijaya speaks at conferences, and spearheaded the Write Path Seminars.

Her latest romantic science-fiction series, THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK, from Desert Breeze Publishing, started with WHITE TIGER in August 2009. RED LEOPARD will be out in April 2010, and BLACK JAGUAR is scheduled for November 2010. More books in the series will follow next year. Her latest Novella from Sapphire Blue Publishing is a contemporary shape shifter romance featuring a girl with a gun in ranger uniform and a Native American hero, set in Arizona, and titled COYOTE GORGEOUS.


  1. Vijaya,
    Nice interview. Great questions and great answers. Congratulations.

  2. Great interview, although nothing in it surprised me at all. ;-)

  3. Thanks, guys for reading it.
    Vijaya Schartz
    Girls with Guns, Romance with a Kick

  4. Awesome interview VJ! I'm impressed with your background, and I'm sure your workshop will be terrific!

    See you next weekend at the Chocolate Affaire.

    Carolyn Hughey

  5. Wonderful interview Vijaya! The workshop sounds fantastic too.

  6. Great job! I still say you should write your autobiography one of these days! I'd love to read it!

  7. What a wonderful interview Vijaya! It was great to get to know you. I love traveling too. I haven't been to all the places you have, but I totally understand about how learning of new places and cultures brings out something in the writing.


  8. Awesome interview. Sorry I couldn't stop by sooner. You've so many neat places yes one day Vi you'll have to write your autobiography.

  9. Great interview Vijaya. Love your Write Path classes and look forward to the conference.
    See ya tonight

  10. Vijaya, I second Carol's idea about writing your life story -- that'd be the most exciting book yet, which is REALLY saying something!

  11. Vijaya, I love that your workshop is aimed at simplifying book promotions. There's such a glut of promo info that it's hard to know where to start. Looking forward to hearing your proven strategies. Joy & Peace!