Exclusive Interview With Author "Ross Victory"
Ross Victory is a singer/songwriter turned award-winning author from Southern California. After the loss of his father and brother, Ross dove into self-discovery, reigniting his passion for writing and music production. Ross uses his unique voice and social intersections to inspire and entertain listeners and readers. Ross’s creative output is broad through Urban Adult Contemporary music and literature, with a focus on creative non-fiction and fiction novellas.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
I've never had an aha moment about becoming a writer (professionally) until well into my 30s. I am also a songwriter, so interestingly enough, songs have been part of my life since grade school. My mom called me one day and told me that I should write a book because she felt many young people and older people would be interested in what I have to say from my life experiences.
The thought of writing thousands of words felt daunting until my dad died, and I had a reason to write and a lot to say. Looking back on my life, there is evidence that I have always enjoyed communicating ideas, but I never anticipated that written text would become what it is for me today. It wasn't until I published my first book, Views from the Cockpit, in 2019, that I realized I could be a writer, and maybe even a good one.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
It takes quite a long time to write, to be honest. You have to have an unwavering belief in what you want to communicate. In 2020, I learned how to write books rather quickly. My first book took two years to write. Looking back, it took two years of writing because of the emotional nature of the material. And I was not fully aware of the process and expenses. After a considerable learning curve and trusting the creative process, I wrote my last book, "Father & Sun," in about 35 days, which was record time.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION OR IDEAS FOR YOUR BOOKS?
I spend much time reading articles on Medium. I also listen more than I speak in conversations. Listening to people talk about their lives, and their encounters can spark a creative bug in me. Sometimes the missing piece of a character's back story or the quirk in their personality comes from real life people I've met in passing. Online writing exercises also help spawn creativity.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WRITING?
I love traveling internationally. There's nothing like getting on a plane and landing in a foreign country to explore and taste test foods. I also enjoy visiting natural parks, testing holistic and relaxing activities, and test driving cars.
WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK OF YOUR WRITING?
I believe most of my family is impressed by my writing. I imagine some may think it is risqué or don't understand my choice of language or topic, but writing requires the writer to believe in themselves and take risks. I try not to be concerned with others' opinions of what I'm doing (maybe my grandma).
WHAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING THINGS YOU LEARNED IN CREATING YOUR BOOKS?
Writing the manuscript is one piece of a larger puzzle. Editing, exterior design, interior design, trim size, publicity, advertising (no matter the budget) are essential pieces of creating a book. I also learned that whoever said, "Don't judge a book by its cover," was lying! The cover is everything.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN? WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
I have four books. My favorite book is my book called Egg. Egg is a horror, suspense thriller about a twelve-year-old boy that discovers a mosquito bite in the center of his chest that becomes his evil Siamese twin. I enjoyed writing Egg because it was a break from emotional and dramatic writing and gave me a chance to have fun by being weird and articulate.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS SEEKING TO PUBLISH THEIR FIRST BOOK?
· Emotional Immunity. For my first book, Views from the Cockpit, my editor gave me an important warning. He told me to practice not to be emotionally attached to my projects and the outcome. When I've spent hours creating and so much money trying to make it real, it isn't easy not to think of your work as your babies. But my intention for writing is not the same as a reader's intention for reading. Our job as creators is to produce. Everything else is outside of you cannot be controlled and not worth obsessing. Easier said than done and requires practice.
· Practice sitting. Telling a story is not a quick process. Setting a timer for 3-4 hours to write, research, plot, and outline was the best way to structure my time to complete a project. Even if I weren't inspired, I would wait for the timer to go off.
· Doubt and burnout are a step in the process. I've noticed that doubt, burnout, and writer's block are vital ingredients to the writer's process. Worry about judgments and criticism of your project is also natural. So now I expect to feel this, and I plan to move through it.
· Don't ask friends and family for creative feedback. We love our friends and family, but I have learned not to ask for their creative or professional feedback. Sometimes people inadvertently discourage through words or vibes because they don't recognize what we're are doing or understand the deeper importance. Sometimes they are jealous; sometimes, they are working through gaining courage for their dreams. I would share with caution or identify people who have the skill or experience to give useful comments.
· Team is everything! Apart from emotional immunity, the team is the most important. I recommend building a reliable team of people who have different strengths in different areas. I also like working with people who are not afraid to say when an idea or concept is not working.
· Compare service costs There are so many things you can do by yourself to advance your writing. Producing a book requires much administration. Many companies offer to do administration or research for a cost. Still, some of what you will pay others to do are easy and take a few hours. Procure two to three professional quotes to compare for any service you need.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GOOD STORY?
Good stories latch onto the reader's emotions and inspire their imagination no matter the genre. I enjoy relatively short stories that don't use any filler words to increase the book-length. People have short attention spans. Most people aren't reading books. So I want to explore writing novelettes and novellas that can be read and absorbed in 90-100 minutes—content over length for me.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GREW UP?
When I was about seven years old, my parents would dress me up in a little suit and send me to first grade with a blue plastic briefcase. I collected notepads, pens, and library cards and was always writing down what people were saying. This made me a target for bullying, but ironically business and communication have been apart of my life for thirty years. With my publishing imprint, communication and business are a crucial part of life.
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