Having people of all different backgrounds read your book is something all authors dream of. It is even better when your work is translated into different languages, allowing for a much wider audience.
Viktoria Faust is living this opportunity. The award-winning Croatian author recently had her vampire novel, Beauty of the Beast, translated into English. Her book is also different from the other vampire books out there – hers centers on the Balkan conflicts of the early 1990s.
Here she is now!
MC: Tell us about what inspired you to be an author.
VF: I first realized I’m a writer when I was 13, when I wrote my first novel. It was childish, written in notebook, but it had beginning, middle and the end. And it was horror. Something about people who can turn themselves into owls. So, I’m doing this for 30 years now, and it’s more about the way of life then about inspiration. For me to write is the same as to breath – it comes naturally, and I can’t do without it.
MC: How did the conflict in the Balkans effect your writing?
VF: I was 18 when war in Croatia began, just finished high school. I was about to start my life as adult, but everything around me was standing still, only trying to survive. Nothing was normal. So that’s why I made my vampires a war vampires – what would attract vampires more than everyday fresh supply of blood and dying? That’s why they came to that corner of the world. It seemed logical – monsters are attracted by monstrosities. Beauty of The Beast was written two years after the war. It’s the only novel I’ve written set in that time period. The same way my main character escapes horrors in her home town, I escaped that part of my life with that book.
MC: How are your vampires different from others?
VF: As I said – they are war vampires, they feed on battlefields. But that is only first layer of the liars they are. Beauty of The Beast is first of seven books (I’m writing the third part right now). In second part, Unspoken Story, I’m reviling more of their true nature. So – spoiler alert! They are vampires who feed on vampires. Not because of some moral reasons, but because they are so powerful that they can do that. They like the taste of vampire blood. Actually, they like all nonhuman blood. Some of my characters describe themselves as ‘Buffy meets Blade and going nuclear’. They are Bogyman of monsters.
MC: What inspired you to translate your books from Croatian to English?
VF: My Croatian readers were asking me for years if I have plans to translate it. I had, but I haven’t had an opportunity. So when opportunity presented itself, 15 years after novel was firs published in Croatia… I shortened it – in Croatian the novel is almost twice as big, and it’s still a long novel in English – 168.000 words. There is something in that book that people respond to. Sometimes readers tell me: I read that book 10-20 times! And I always ask: tell me what I did right in writing it, I want to know, so I can write the same way every book I write. Well… I haven’t had proper answer yet. I guess there is no formula in writing a book people like. It just happens.
MC: What is more rewarding: being an award-winning author or to have many fans?
VF: I value the opinion of readers’ best, so I appreciate readers best. Awards are symbolic, opinions are honest. Opinions are based on emotions, and because of them I’m a horror writer. For example, I heard once of one woman naming her son after one of my characters. That was realization for me – I was able to touch a person I never met on such a deep level. No award ever made me feel that way.
MC: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
VF: Just write. Don’t let anything get in your way. Being an author is hard and under-appreciated profession. You should do it, because you cannot stop doing it. You should do it, because you cannot help yourself. It’s an addiction, the best and a most positive one. Trust yourself. Learn from your mistakes, and mistakes of other writers – you must read a lot to do that. Persist. Don’t indulge in other people’s opinions, but listen to them. And never trust an advice of other writer literally, because every person is different and there is no magic formula.
Here’s where you can find Viktoria online: