Hello everyone! Welcome to another Jingle Books Author Spotlight! These will be posts where I discuss and showcase, authors and their writing talents and published works. So without further ado let’s get on with the Author Spotlight!
Meet the Jolly Author
Astrid V.J. is a USA Today Bestselling and International Literary Classics award-winning South African fantasy author. She is also a trained social anthropologist and transformational life coach, elements that deeply influence her writing, which she calls transformation fiction: exploring the human capacity to achieve success in the face of adversity. So far, Astrid has three series out of which two are collections of standalone stories.
She is focused on writing retellings of lesser-known fairytales in the Elisabeth and Edvard’s World series and inventing her own fairytales for modern sensibilities in The Wordmage’s Tales series. Astrid also likes to use her writing to support causes close to her heart.
Currently, her short stories are included in the following permanent charity anthologies: Enchanted Anthologies series supporting environmental causes and Children of War: an anthology to support the children of Ukraine. All proceeds of these books go to the chosen charities.
What And When Started Your Love For Writing?
I’ve always loved reading fantasy. Both my mom and dad encouraged my early reading with fantasy novels from their childhoods and I got quite a solid grounding early on. By the time I was twelve, and because I was growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, I was very dissatisfied with the Western nature of the genre that didn’t reflect the world I was growing up in. I also read Graham Hancock’s book The Fingerprints of the Gods and that sparked an idea. I’m still working on The Atlantis series, an urban, African fantasy set about ten years into our future now. So I guess I’ll publish it in the nearish future. 😁
Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?
I love how fantasy can be so fantastical weird and otherworldly while also dealing with utterly relatable topics that are grounded in the human experience. I love how a good fantasy book can make me think, making the unknown known and the known unknown in very anthropological fashion.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
That is very hard. My dad’s German, my mom is of Italian heritage but grew up in South Africa and my husband is Mexican-Swedish, so all our holiday traditions are blends from these cultures. Right now, we’re getting ready to celebrate St. Nicholas, Guadalupe and St. Lucy days.
What is your favorite holiday book or movie, and why?
My favorite holiday movies are Love Actually, Joyeux Noël (French movie about a Christmas during WWI at the war front) and the original Miracle on 34th Street. I also love reading holiday themed books and one that I’m looking forward to re-reading this Christmas is the Winter Souls series by Jennifer Kropf, which is a Christmas Portal Fantasy.
What is one thing about the holiday season that you can’t stand?
That’s a really hard one. I’m the family’s head elf, so all things Christmas make me happy. I suppose that means I can’t stand an Ebenezer Scrooge and will do anything I can to give that person some Christmas cheer. This year, I’m also very upset about what is happening in Ukraine. The fact Russia is particularly targeting civilians and trying to win the war by making living conditions impossible in the winter, that really gets me. I sincerely hope the people of Ukraine get a Christmas present this year by this war ending this month.🤞
If you’d like to help me give a gift to the Ukrainian children this month, consider buying my charity anthology, Children of War, which supports the emotional and psychological healing of Ukrainian children who have witnessed war.
What makes your book(s) special?
I like to blend genres. I read very widely in both fiction and non-fiction, so elements of other genres I love will often find their way into my writing, which many readers have said is refreshing. Additionally, I focus on examining principles of human transformation that I teach my clients in my transformational life coaching business. Almost all of my character arcs involve exploring at least one of the key principles.
For that reason, readers could choose to use my works as self-help books if they wanted to. They get the blueprint of what the work entails and the example of how it could play out, which I think is very encouraging for some. Additionally, there’s the advantage that readers don’t even have to consciously implement change. By reading my books they could get enough subliminal input to simply shift mindsets and embrace possibilities.
So…what are you working on now?
I’m getting ready to publish Finding the Way, the sequel to The Apprentice Storyteller, which is my most popular work so far. This series follows a traveling storyteller and her apprentice as they travel through a Star Wars-like intergalactic empire and discover all the bad things happening there. In a fun twist, I’ve not only focused on the mentor-mentee relationship for the storytelling, but also switched the roles, allowing the apprentice to teach his master about life and the incredible beauty of the universe. It’s been a lot of fun to write and I’m currently finalizing Finding the Way, which releases December 20.
Astrid you are the embodiment of the holiday spirit. I hope your books take you very far. I wish you the best of luck with Finding the Way book release! I know it will go far. You can reach her at her linktr.ee or website. Thank you all for reading and remember:
Live. Love. Laugh.