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Author Spotlight on Astrid V. J.

Tell our readers briefly about yourself.

I'm a South African of Bavarian-Italian descent and have been writing since I was twelve. I've always loved fantasy. These days, I am also fascinated by different cultures, which is why I studied social anthropology at university. The knowledge I've gained from those studies has proven invaluable to my writing. I'm also a certified transformational life coach, a vocation I discovered a few years ago, and which propelled me to take the step to publish my already written manuscript for The Siblings' Tale. Since completing my certification, I've realised that the human capacity to transform our lives and achieve success in the face of adversity is a key aspect in my writing, even from before I started consciously doing it, which is why I call my writing "transformation fiction".

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Finding the Way follows itinerant storyteller, Viola Alerion, as she discovers some profound secrets about life, while trying to raise awareness about the Haldrian Empire's impact on the people, magical creatures and environment the system exploits.

What inspires you?

Life, the universe and everything. I get epiphanies from something as simple as taking a walk.

What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?

I have a day job. I'm a mom of two young children. I have a home to keep running. And a wonderful husband who wants to spend time with me outside of sharing chore duty. For that reason, I don't have a writing routine. I'm grateful to get some writing done every week.

Do you plan out your creations? What is your process before you create?

I do chapter outlines for all of my books and most of the time the stories stick to those original plans.

Do you have a self care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?

I need to write to be in a better frame of mind for everything else. My writing is my self-care practice that has the biggest effect on my wellbeing.

What is your favorite creation thus far?

The Apprentice Storyteller. It combines a lot of loves. My love of South Africa is represented in the landscapes mentioned. My love of storytelling and seeing people achieve their dreams.

Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?

That's a little like choosing a favourite child. I have too many characters, each with their unique characteristics, and I love them all dearly.

Are there any recurring themes in your work?

Human transformation, marginalization/discrimination, negative self-talk, a critique of social standards of beauty and more.

What does success look like to you considering your creative passion?

My books replacing my day job income would be amazing.

What is something your fans/readers/followers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?

I almost became a Psychologist.

What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?

Only you can do this thing that beats in your heart. So, go do it.

Where do you get your ideas for world building?

They come from all over, but I do use a lot of anthropological techniques in my world-building, like talking to people from the ethnic group I'm drawing inspiration from, reading ethnographies and exploring cultures through food and clothing.

What genre do you prefer to read?

I have no preferences. I read widely and as long as the book is well written, I'll usually enjoy it.

What hobbies do you have?

Cross stitching, sewing clothes.

Do you have any outside experiences that influenced your work?

Social anthropology, transformational life coaching, psychology.

Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?

All my books are available on Amazon and some of them are published wide, so also available with other retailers. I'm most active on Instagram, but can also connect with me on Facebook, Goodreads, YouTube and Wattpad.

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