I’m Victoria Clapton. I write in a wide variety of genres from Dark Fantasy Romance, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Contemporary. A softy at heart, romance can be found in all of my writings except some of the science fiction. To date, I’ve written 15 books that are all indie published, and have won two short story contests. In 2020, my short story “Intertwined” won 1st place in the Earth’s Final Chapter science fiction competition through Endless Ink Publishing.
Would you say that writing is a hobby, a passion or something else? What does it mean to you?
Writing is life. Really. I began writing stories when I was a child and never quit. I love the action of creating characters and worlds and making them come to life on screen or paper.
Tell me about your favorite part of the writing process?
My favorite part is the first draft. I love the freedom and lack of conformity in the first draft. The first draft is the place where I create and dream.
…the hardest part?
The first round of edits when I realize that my first draft wasn’t near as wonderful as I imagined.
Which do you think is your strongest skill: character creation, world building, or plot?
World building and dialogue, I think. Writing is one of those arts where a writer is forever growing. So, every time I sit down to begin a new project, I try to improve what I did before.
When it comes to creating characters what are your major goals and tasks involved?
I want readers to be able to see, smell, hear, and know my characters. So much so that they would recognize them on the street. I write fiction. Characters are only figments of my imagination, but I want readers to feel as if they are real.
Tell me a little bit more about Subaru’s End.
Subaru’s End is a dark fantasy romance. It is a story of good, evil, and morally gray. An epic battle among celestial beings and the three realms of Subaru that aims to bend perception on what is good or bad.
You wrote all three books before publishing the first one, right?
I did! I had this story in my head, and I knew it was bigger than anything I’d ever tackled as a writer. More characters, bigger worlds, deeper topics. I wrote all three books back to back to ensure a certain fluidity.
Did you set out to write one book and it became three or was it always planned to be three?
Three. I knew from the beginning it would be three. I wanted the space to fully create a new world. Three books for the three realms.
How did you feel about the result?
I am humbled and incredibly proud of these books. I set out to try something new, to delve into the world of fantasy writing, and though I know, I am always growing as a writer, I couldn’t love those three books more.
Besides the worry about how certain scenes would be received was there anything particularly challenging about this trilogy while you were writing it?
You hit the nail on the head. These books aren’t considered erotica by any means but there are a few bdsm-type scenes woven into this trilogy. I didn’t want to write sex scenes for the sake of having sex scenes. It isn’t that sort of story. Those scenes and what occurs during them are integral parts of the plot, but I was very worried they wouldn’t be received well and agonized over the writing of those scenes.
What is something you learned with your most recent writing project?
I delved into the fantasy realm with Subaru’s End, and as is my nature, I had to swirl in romance and darkness within the fantasy tale I hoped to create. I learned bravery with this project. Subaru’s End is a trilogy, and I spent a huge portion of time writing scenes that I adored while thinking no one would want to read such scenes. Now that the books are out, I’ve discovered that’s not the case. The scenes I feared readers would find hard to digest are the scenes that most readers love.
If there was one thing you could go back and tell yourself before you wrote your first book, what would it be?
Ooh, this is a hard question. I have learned so much, particularly about editing and construction, but I’m proud of Dark Light and all those first books I indie published. They are certainly not written the way that I write now, but as stories, I like them, and I’m really glad that I was brave enough to share them with the public. Maybe I would go back and tell myself to publish sooner. I still have a stack of books written before Dark Light that I’ve never done anything with.
What book are you currently working on?
Colleen Unbound, the final book in The Binding Universe, a New Orleans Urban Fantasy, is in the final editing/formatting stages. While I work on promo and such, I’m working on a Gothic short story that I plan on submitting to a small publishing house that I’m dreaming of being a part of someday. After that, I’ll be starting to work on an Arachne retelling that I have been plotting out/planning for years.
Your Binding series takes place primarily in New Orleans, correct? What about that particular city has a draw for you?
Yes, all six Binding books take place primarily in New Orleans with a few visits to the faery realm of Elfrice. New Orleans is such a unique city laced with the perfect blend of history and urban legends. It’s mysterious and macabre and filled with genuinely good souls. There is a luring scent in the air and an undercurrent of possibility. New Orleans tugs at my heartstrings unlike any other place…so much so, that I wrote 6 books in that setting.
What kind of process do you go through to edit your books from first draft to publication?
The first draft is a bit of a flow for me where I try to get my main ideas down. Then I do a sort of pre-edit read through where I add details and needed scenes. After that, the book goes to alpha readers. Once I get their feedback, I make changes and share with beta readers. After that, it goes to a professional editor for formatting and editing. I used to do that process myself but now am fortunate enough to have help. While all of that is going on, I am also busy working on promos and covers.
What does promo entail for your books? Self-publishing puts more of the promo effort on the author’s shoulder so have you had success with what you do to promote?
Ah! Great question. I have only found one sure thing that always works. Keep posting all over social media and engage as much as you can. It can be overwhelming at times. I am like most writers. I write because I prefer the solitude, but I sell more books when I step out of my comfort zone and make the posts and videos.
Tell me about a couple of books that have been impactful for your writing life.
All books written by Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman. I read my first Anne Rice novel at nine years old and found myself captivated by her imagery and descriptions. I fell in love with her writing style and always try to encapsulate imagery and descriptions that will vividly stick with a reader. I discovered Neil Gaiman my first year of college. From him, I have learned the importance of fleshing out all the characters, making it clear what everyone is hoping to accomplish along with throwing unexpected curve balls. Both writers have impacted my life as a reader and also as a writer.
What are you currently reading?
Entropy. I just began reading it last night. (Arbor’s note: Victoria is on my first readers list! 😁 )
What are you doing for fun (not including work and writing?)
Archery. I shoot a recurve bow, and I do yoga daily. I’m also kind of nerdy and totally into Cosplay. I’m always trying to learn a new language. I’ve been in Japanese classes for almost five years, but recently finished the highest level currently available. So, I’ve started with Hindi. (We will see how that goes.) I am a huge crafter. I knit, crochet, sew, draw, woodburn, weave..this list is endless. I’m not good at sitting idle. I’m always making something.
In conclusion, what do the next few years look like for your writing career? What do you want to accomplish?
My biggest goal is to be able to write fulltime as my only job. The final Binding book, Colleen Unbound, is about to be released soon. In the meantime, I hoping to publish a short piece I am working on now before I delve back into new worlds and new books.
Thank you to Victoria Clapton for taking the time to answer these questions. You can find her works on Amazon, TikTok, and of course her website.