Today, I’m Privileged and Pleased to have with me in campbellsworld, author Victoria Zigler better known as “Tori.”
So, without further ado, here’s Tori Zigler to introduce herself to you.
“Tori smiling with clouds and seafront in the background.”
First,in your own words tell us a little about you.
My name is Victoria, but I prefer to be called Tori. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just publish as “Tori Zigler” in that case, it’s because I had to publish as Victoria, since I promised my Mother I would.
I’m a blind vegan author of poetry and children’s stories, and would describe myself 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’s wandering mind and alternative way at looking at the world.
Where do you live?
I currently live in a town by the sea on the South-East coast of England, UK. I haven’t lived here all my life though. I’m originally from a village in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and spent a couple of months living in Alberta, Canada, which is where my hubby is from. I’ve been living on the English coast for nearly nine years now though… We moved to this area in October 2011.
Who are the special people in your life?
Well, really I treasure all of my family and friends – some more than others admittedly, but we won’t get in to that. The special person in my life though is my husband, Kelly. We’ve been married for 17 years now, and he’s still not sick of me. I’m not sure why.
Do you have any pets?
Yes. I’ve had all sorts of pets over the years: birds, cats, chinchillas, degus, dogs, fish, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, rats, and a tortoise. Right now I have a chinchilla named Mollie, a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo (which, if you don’t know, is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle) named Logan, and a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis.
I do posts from the point of view of one of my petkids on my blog on Fridays (apart from the odd Friday when I take their slot to post something from my own point of view). As part of that, I do a “PetKid Pals” feature, which is an opportunity for the pets of writers or bloggers to be interviewed by one of my own pets. It’s a feature that used to be called “Friends Of Furkid Friday” (so you’ll see that on the titles of most of the posts if you check them out) but was rebranded earlier this year because I couldn’t call Artemis a furkid when tortoises don’t have fur. I’m always accepting guests, and anyone who wants their pet interviewed can find out how – and read the past posts – by going here: https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html
What keeps you going? I mean, like what inspires you and keeps you moving forward in your work?
I have to write. That’s all there really is to it. Then, because I write the stories and poems, I publish them because I believe art in all its forms should be shared. What good are stories and poems – or paintings, songs, etc – if nobody gets to appreciate them?
What is your favorite song?
I’m not very good at picking favourites. Even picking favourites by a certain artist is tricky sometimes, especially since my favourites can – and often do – change with my mood. It likely doesn’t help that I listen to such a variety of music. So I’m going to list the first five favourites that come to mind, since five sounds like a good number to me at this moment in time. Here they are:
Aselin Debison – Sweet Is The Melody
Ottawan – Hands Up
Dolly Parton – Applejack
Ronan Keating – If Tomorrow Never Comes
Ralph McTell – Streets Of London
What is your favorite movie?
Like with my favourite music, I have quite a few, because I watch movies from all kinds of genres. My mood can influence my choice of favourite movies sometimes as well. To narrow it down though: I’m a huge fan of the “Harry Potter” movies, “Practical Magic” has been a favourite movie of mine since I first saw it as a teenager, “Santa Clause – The Movie” has been my favourite Christmas movie since childhood, Batman is my favourite superhero, and my current favourite Disney movies are “Moana” and “Frozen” (the first one; the second is good, but the first is loads better).
What is your favorite book?
Like with my favourite songs and movies, I’ve got several favourite books, which mostly change depending on my mood. My list of favourite books can – and usually will – also be influenced by what I read most recently. Always in the top three of my favourite books list though are “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, and J K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. Other favourites include – but are not limited to – just about any book by Michelle Paver or David Estes, and Jean M Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series.
What is your favorite food?
Toast, grapes, chips (as in what people who aren’t British usually call fries) and rhubarb crumble. Sorry, I can’t narrow it down more than that. If you want to know about drinks, my favourite thing to drink is fruit juice (especially apple, orange, grape, or mango). I also drink a lot of tea, whether regular tea with some kind of vegan milk in it, or a herbal or fruity tea of some kind.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ve been doing a “Monday Motivation” post on my blog for a couple of years now, and have found so many great quotes while collecting quotes for that, which makes picking a single favourite quote difficult. Having said that, a favourite of mine is this one from “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett:
“human beings make life so interesting. do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.” ~ (Death) Terry Pratchett
What is your favorite affirmation?
I’m not always good about following it – hubby says I worry so much he swears I worry about worrying about worrying – but my favourite affirmation is this one from Buddha:
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
What is your biggest pet peeve?
It depends what we’re talking about.
When it comes to books and TV shows, it’s cliffhanger endings. Do it at the end of a chapter of a book or episode of a TV show… Fine. But give me a proper resolution to the book or series, please. I get that some stuff can’t be fully resolved until the final book or episode of something. But I wish people would quit with the sudden cliffhanger endings, and at least tie up most of the loose ends.
If you mean in real life, it’s something I’m sure a lot of disabled people can understand: people who are too quick to judge, like those who look at a visually impaired person – or just learn someone they’re talking to online is visually impaired – and automatically assume they know the person’s capabilities and limits. Every visually impaired person is different, since there are different levels of visual impairment, and even someone with the same level of sight loss may have different capabilities, so it’s impossible to know without asking the person. Speaking of which: I especially hate when this attitude means people speak to the person with me instead of to me, speaking as if I’m not even there. I’m right here people, and am perfectly capable of holding a conversation with you, thank you very much. So, speak directly to me, and stop judging me before I’ve even had a chance to open my mouth.
What do you think your best strengths are, and how do they help you in your work as a writer?
I’m not sure personally, since self-doubt and I spend a lot of time together. However, I’ve been told by several people I have a knack for putting myself in the mind of my pets, so let’s go with that. Since I write for children, and a lot of my characters are animals, I’m hoping this translates to writing believable animal characters. Judging by the contents of most of my reviews, it does seem to, though I can’t pretend that makes those nasty little voices in my head stop suggesting I won’t do so well next time. Ah… The self-doubt that comes with being a writer… *sigh*
What are your weaknesses, and how are you making them stronger?
When it comes to writing, my biggest weakness is in action scenes, especially battle scenes. I’ve been reading more books with those in, and a bunch of articles about writing battle scenes, so hope that’s helping, and the next time I need to write one I’m hoping it will show.
What is your dream for the future, and how does it relate to your work as a writer?
I’d love to own my own house, with a little yard I could sit out in on nice days – or nights, if I happen to be up at night and the weather’s nice – and a room I could call my library, which would be like the old fashioned studies, where it’s half library and half office area. Hubby would have his own study/game room too, so he could play his video games or something while I enjoyed some peaceful reading or writing time. The house would have a nice big kitchen too, so I’d have plenty of space to do some cooking and baking when I wanted to, and for the cook I’d hire to do the cooking when I didn’t feel like it. I’d hire a maid to come once a week to vacuumed and such too, because I don’t like doing housework. You might think I’m lazy saying I’d hire a cook and maid, but on the other hand I’d be paying them, so helping two people who might not otherwise have had jobs to have them, while at the same time freeing up a bit more time to work on my writing, so everyone wins. Of course, first I need the money to afford this, so need to sell a lot more books than I currently do. I can dream though, right?
What is your preferred way of communicating, and how can someone reach you if they wish to buy from or work with you in some way?
The best way to guarantee I’ll notice you trying to get in touch is if you send me an eMail at Keroberous2004@gmail.com – do make sure to put something in the subject that makes it clear why you’re getting in touch, and start the eMail by addressing me by name though, because then you can be sure I won’t mistake it for junk, and I’ll take more notice so you’ll get a faster response.
Alternatively, you can find me at the following links:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
As for buying my books, you can find them in a variety of formats from…
…Along with a variety of other online retailers, such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Audible. I make them available in audio, paperback, and eBook, so there’s bound to be a format that works for you in one of the places they’re available.
Before you go, is there anything you’d like to add about yourself, or your work that I’ve not asked?
I mentioned a couple of times during this interview about being blind. Well, following on from that I’d like to give a mention to my “Toby’s Tales” series, which is a series about a little boy’s adjustments after sight loss, and based on my own experiences. Although, I was several years older than Toby when I lost the last of my own sight.
My “Toby’s Tales” series is designed both to help those in the same situation with their own adjustments, and to help those who might know someone with a visual impairment – or even just want to improve their understanding of blindness – to understand the kinds of struggles a blind person might face in their day to day life, and the kinds of things that can possibly be done to make dealing with those struggles easier. While every visually impaired person is different, so their daily struggles are too, I hope Toby’s stories can at the very least illustrate that a blind person can still do the same kinds of things as a sighted one, even if some adaptations have to be made in the way they do it, or they need specialist equipment to make it possible.
Victoria Zigler is a blind vegan 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, chinchilla, Westie, Cavapoo, and Hermann’s Tortoise.
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’s wandering 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.
To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and 46 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.
Additionally, Tori’s Hermann’s Tortoise, Artemis, was featured in both the Magnificent Pets Coloring Book For Children and the Magnificent Pets Mandala Coloring Book For Adults, which are available via Praise My Pet.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Find Tori’s books on…
…Along with a variety of other online retailers.
Title: Snowlilie’s Brother
Author: Victoria Zigler
“Two dogs – a Westie, and a Cavapoo puppy – in a living room, with dog toys and chews scattered around, and a dog bed nearby. The Cavapoo (Rascal) has a yellow ball in his possession, while the Westie (Snowlilie) looks on sadly.”
“Getting a little brother is a good thing… Right?
When Snowlilie the West Highland White Terrier first meets her new little brother – a Cavapoo puppy, who tells her the humans call him Rascal – and realizes having a little brother means having a new doggy friend to play with, she’s excited. That is, until she realizes it also means sharing everything with him – including her favourite ball, some of her food, and Mummy and Daddy’s attention.
Will Snowlilie be forced to tolerate a little brother she doesn’t like? Or can she learn to like Rascal, and accept the changes having a little brother means?”
Available now as an eBook from…
…And other online retailers, such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
Also available in paperback from Amazon, with an audio version currently in production.