Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you an amazing author, Victoria (Tori) Zigler. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
Tori is visually impaired but that didn’t stop her determination to write. When I searched Amazon for her books there was a large selection of poetry and children’s books, available in multiple formats from a variety of online retailers. Her creativity will inspire you!
I schedule many of these posts far in advance, so to keep you in the loop, Tori notified me that she is under the weather and will respond to comments as soon as she can. I’m sending lots of healing energy her way! <3
First, please meet my guest, Tori Zigler.
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK, with her hubby and furkids. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’swandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world. She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time.Victoria’s Page: http://www.zigler.co.uk/victoria.htm
To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the future. She makes her books available in multiple ebook formats, as well as in both paperback and audio. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, which is available in eBook only.
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview.
Hi Tori. I’m glad you’re here. You’ve published a ton of books. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I ever spent as a writer has to be the money I spent on my computer chair.
It might sound strange to care so much about my chair; especially to anyone reading this who doesn’t work at a computer. But a good quality chair is worth paying out for if you’re a writer. In fact, if you do any job that has you sitting down at the computer a lot.
Though I regularly get up to stretch my legs, play with the dog, or do something else for a bit, I spend a large amount of my day at the computer. Having a good quality chair to sit on is a must if I want to avoid back pain. If you don’t have one, I suggest you do something about that. Your back will thank you for it! I know mine has been grateful since I invested in a good quality chair.
Tori, I know you’re an animal lover. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have two actual spirit animals, who found me when I took my first steps on to my spiritual path in my late teens. One is an owl, and the other is a tiger. But I don’t use either of them for my writing mascot, or even talk about them to others much. In fact, I think this might be the first time I’ve mentioned them to anyone – besides my hubby – outside of groups specifically for those kinds of discussions. It’s definitely the first time I’ve mentioned them in an author interview, that’s for sure.
Read about Tori’s spirit animal: The West Highland White Terrier
My writing mascot is a West Highland White Terrier. Not just any Westie though. He’s the West Highland White Terrier who was beside me as I started on my publishing journey. His name was Castellan Keroberous, and “Keroberous Publishing” – the publisher name attached to my paperback and audiobooks – comes from him.
He crossed over the rainbow bridge a little more than four years ago, and we have another Westie now. Her name is Lilie. But it’s Kero who you will see photos of all over my website, and Kero who will have his picture on my business cards when I finally get around to having them made.
(CLICK HERE to find your own spirit animal).
Your books are so creative. Do you base your characters on real people?
Kero the Westie, from my “Kero’s World” series, is based on my own West Highland White Terrier. Yes, the one who’s also my writing mascot. As mentioned above, his name was Keroberous, but I used the shortened form of his name since I figured children would be able to say Kero more easily; many people struggle to say his proper name, so he was often just called Kero anyhow.
Each of his seven books is based on semi-fictionalized accounts of his own life. Although, the second half of the final book, “Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge” is just what I like to think happened.
Kero is also the inspiration for Yua the Westie in “Yua And The Great Wizard Hunt” and – less obviously –Cubby the polar bear in “Cubby And The Beanstalk” (I sometimes said he looked like a polar bear cub, and “Cubby” was one of the nicknames we sometimes used for him, if you’re wondering how a polar bear can be based on a dog).
Similarly, my latest release, “Where’s Noodles?” is based on the attempts of our Westie girl, Lilie, to find her favourite toy. Well, she had to have a book too, didn’t she? *wink*
Additionally, all four of my degu books contain characters inspired by my four degus. My “Degu Days Duo” books actually have them appearing as themselves: Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua.
Learn about the degu HERE.
In“Degu’s Day Out” Oscar is named after the brother of Luna, who was a female degu we adopted, though the character is based on my Jasper, who took any chance he could to go exploring.
While the degu in “How To Trust Your Human” is my remaining degu, Joshua, under the name of Buddy (the name I used for all four degus if I wasn’t entirely sure which I was talking to, or wanted the attention of all four).
I have several stories I’d like to write containing some of my other past or present pets too. In fact, the adventure story I’m currently working on contains my rats, Star and Skye, who joined Kero across the rainbow bridge almost two years ago.
Oh, and I also have three poetry collections containing poems written for, about, or on behalf of, various pets. The collections “Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems” and “Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes” are only about mine and my hubby’s pets, while “My Friends Of Fur And Feather” contains poems about a couple of pets belonging to other family members too, though the focus is on my own pets.
Your creativity knows no bounds. You have written so many great characters and books. I have to ask… Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. My “Toby’s Tales” series is based on my own experiences after I lost the last of my sight. Each book deals with a different aspect that I was struggling with.
I’d tried to write an entire non-fiction piece about it, but couldn’t, even though I felt like I needed to write about it. Then a friend suggested I tried fictionalizing it to see if giving myself that little bit of distance would help. It did, and I ended up writing a five book series.
In the first book, Toby learns he’ll never see again, and struggles with accepting this fact, as well as dealing with the frustration of doing things that seem simple, until you try to do them without sight. I used examples like eating without getting food on yourself, figuring out which is your toothbrush in a cup full of identical brushes, etc. He also learns some ways to make those tasks easier for him to manage.
In the second book, Toby struggles with being unable to check what sounds are, and the fear of imaginary monsters his mind creates to explain the sounds. He then learns a way to deal with that fear.
In the third book, Toby struggles with feeling left out when the activity everyone else is enjoying is very visual, and his whole family learns how much difference it can make to Toby if people explain things so he can be included in some way.
In the fourth book, Toby learns about how losing his sight doesn’t mean he can’t still do the things he loves. It just might mean changing the way he does them.
In the fifth and final book, Toby attends a school for the blind, where he learns about Braille, and that he’s not alone in his struggles.
The whole series was written as a way to help myself accept, and adjust to, my new situation, since I was finding it difficult to do, despite having known since childhood I’d one day lose my sight. But, it also serves as a way to potentially help others dealing with the same issues, or to educate friends and family of the visually impaired, who may not understand the struggles their friends or loved ones are dealing with.
Tori, you are such an inspiration. Have you ever used the weather for motivation, in terms of bringing out your literary best?
I can, and do, write in any weather, as long as it’s not so hot my brain is melting. I don’t cope with hot weather very well in general. But bad weather, like storms and snow, seems to inspire me most. You can especially see this reflected in my poetry, where storms and snow are common themes. In fact, I’m going to share one of those poems with you.
It’s an old one, which appeared in my collection “Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems” back in 2012, and was a few years old when that book was published since I wrote it back in 2006. But, it’s one of the favourites of my older poems, so I’m going to share it anyhow, and hope you enjoy it. Here it is:
Wolves, Waterfalls & Bears
Like wolves howling in the darkness
The wind howls outside my door
Like a waterfall flowing from the sky
The rain pours… then pours some more
And like a bear in hibernation
I cuddle up warm and snug
With a blanket wrapped around me
And hot cocoa in my mug
© 2006 Victoria Zigler
What a great poem. Thanks so much for the visit, Tori.
You’re welcome. Thanks for the invite.
How to contact Author, Victoria Zigler
Facebook: Tori Zigler
Thanks for stopping by to meet Tori. <3