1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

In short, ‘Tempest Blades: The Withered King’ is a story that blends science fiction and fantasy, with some anime-like flavour, in a thrilling story about saving the world while battling your own past, and training a new generation, without dying in the attempt.

It’s about a retired hero, Fionn, who thought that his days as a warrior were over, when he agrees to do a favour to a friend and then meets Gaby & Alex, who never expected to become heroes. Now he must teach them how to uses their special abilities and even more special swords, the titular Tempest Blades so they must join forces to stop an ancient evil. Fionn is battling wit issues from his past and needs to learn to move on and find that there are second chances out there. The world also has a mix of magic and science.

As for the concept, I had been working on the basic ideas and the main characters since I was in high school and a few years ago, everything started to click and created a basic plot from a basic idea: in most stories, the mentor ends dying by the middle of the story or near the end so the plucky young heroes save the world. As a lecturer, I find the idea of a teacher being a secondary character a sad one, given how much teachers give us along our lives. So I took the trope of the Mentor Occupational Hazard and turned it on its head by telling the story mostly from the POV of the mentor, have it being the Main Character and decide that he is not planning to die to make room for the new heroes, but rather, planning to live to train them properly and hopefully, find a small measure of peace at the end of the day. And from there the story and the characters started to work on their own.

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

I started writing stories in high school, mostly as occupational therapy to deal with my depression bouts. But I started in a more ‘professional’ manner in 2015 when I was part of the foundation of Inklings Press, a writers’ cooperative that publishes anthologies. That gave me the impulse and the practice to try my hand at writing a novel.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

I focus mainly in science fantasy. I love it because it allows me to spread my wings and create weird, crazy, fun ideas around the plots I have in mind. Besides, is the genre I grew up with my steady diet of Saturday Morning Cartoons and Anime. In case someone what to know more about Science Fantasy, I wrote a few entries about the topic at my blog:

What the hell is Science Fantasy? Part 1: A definition

What the hell is Science Fantasy? Part 2: A Sliding scale.

A brief story of Science Fantasy

I also have dwelled in SF focused in Artificial Intelligence, Bioethics and the end of the universe. Mostly because I like to explore what makes a ‘person’ well… a ‘person’, and in which shapes we will discuss that issue in the near future.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

I don’t think any trope in particular are necessary or mandatory. As I see it, tropes are ingredients, seasonings to give flavour to a story, so they need to be used judiciously to get a great dish. Overusing can be counterproductive. That said, probably the most common tropes to be found in science fantasy is Magitek, as defined by TV Tropes

(https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Magitek) and Magic understood as a science (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic). The key to science fantasy is making the juxtaposition of Magic and Technology look like something normal and plausible within the world building of the story.

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

Usually, third person and in the past. I only use first person when writing horror.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

Being able to share my crazy ideas with others, while discussing topics I’m interested in. But mostly, having a space to allow my imagination run wild.

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

In my case, revising my own work. Given that I’m writing in my second language, no matter how good I become at that, I still need help to revise the work, else some mistake can escape my sight. This is of importance when it comes to syntaxes (English syntaxes is different to that in Spanish, and occasionally, if I’m not paying attention or I’m too excited writing, I can get them mixed and write run off sentences).

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

Terry Pratchett mostly. As well, GRR Martin, Masamune Shirow (the creator of Ghost in the Shell), Roger Zelazny, Hajime Kanzaki and a bit of cosmic horror by Lovecraft. And while they are not created by a single author, the Final Fantasy videogames.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny. It’s a retelling of Hindu myths and the Buddha’s story, but from a SF point of view with some poetic prose. Very high concept, with a vibe like that of anime or Jack Kirby. It deserves to be made film and not just used as cover for secret operations like explained in ‘Argo’. It’s my book to go to explain how science fantasy looks in book form.

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

My novel is currently in preorder both in Amazon (https://www.amazon.com.mx/Withered-King-Tempest-Blades/dp/1932926747/) and in Barnes & Noble (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-withered-king-ricardo-victoria/1129603780?ean=9781932926743). It will be released in August 20th of this year. And if you are a fan of Final Fantasy styled stories, then you surely will enjoy this book (or so I hope).

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

Twitter. Most of my author/book related interaction are through twitter (https://twitter.com/Winged_Leo). The other place is my own blog:

https://ricardovictoriau.com/blog/

I don’t update its as frequently as I want, but I usually share my musings on writing, stuff about the setting of my novel and my opinions on writing. I rarely use FB for anything that is not personal or family related.