Name: Astrid V.J.
Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):
I am a USA Today Bestselling and Literary Classics award-winning author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. I grew up in South Africa and currently live in Malmö, Sweden (after having lived in many exciting and interesting places). I live with my husband and our two children.
My South African-German heritage and the experiences of living and integrating into other societies have given me a great deal to think about and process.
The training in anthropology has given me the tools to think beyond simple stereotypes and ideological explanations of social interaction while the understanding I have of human potential underlying my certification as a transformational life coach allows me to see what is possible and to appreciate the human capacity to achieve success in the face of adversity.
My parents instilled in me a love for books, and the natural world that we inhabit. This love has led to a deep appreciation of the written word and the desire to contribute as much as I can towards improving the state of the world. I would like to use my expertise and passion for cultures to help us move forward.
I write transformation fiction: incorporating transformation principles in novels, rather than writing another self-help book. This is more than Up-lit. My books are intended to be uplifting, but also to provoke thought and help people question the situations they find themselves in, and to identify how they themselves can transcend their circumstances.
Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)
So far, I have four novels in a series of fairytale retellings and my focus is on lesser-known fairytales, The Elisabeth and Edvard’s World series. I have published two novels in a futuristic fantasy quartet, The Wishmaster series, which follows an itinerant storyteller in her late forties and her young apprentice. Accompanying The Wishmaster series is a spin-off series of novellas recounting the tales that are mentioned in the course of the storyteller and her apprentice’s journey. I am also currently working on an urban fantasy series with a bear shifter clan set in modern-day Sweden.
Additionally, I have also contributed to several permanent charity anthologies raising funds for causes close to my heart. The most noteworthy are:
Children of War: an anthology to support the children of Ukraine
The Enchanted Anthologies series, thus far three books each raising monies for a different environmental cause
What’s in a Name series, thus far two books raising monies for global literacy
When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?
I’ve been writing since I was twelve and started publishing four years ago. I read Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock and had an idea. I was also acutely aware of the inherent Westernness of Fantasy and wanted to change that despite it being my favorite genre. Making fantasy more representative is definitely something that drives me to write.
What writing plans do you have for the future?
I have so many story ideas, I’ll just keep going until my time is up, because as the past twenty-four years have proven, there’s no lack of ideas in my head.
What do you like to read?
I read anything I can get my hands on. Although I’m not a particular fan of horror, if written well, I’ll even give that a try. Essentially, as long as the writing is good and the plot is solid, I’ll enjoy it.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?
It’s okay to just go with what you love. I kept pushing writing away because I didn’t believe it was a sensible career option, instead of embracing what I love and trying to make it work.
Author bio and book synopsis
Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author, Astrid V.J. was born in South Africa. She is a trained social anthropologist and certified transformational life coach. She currently resides in Sweden with her husband and their two children. In early childhood, she showed an interest in reading and languages—interests which her family encouraged. Astrid started writing her first novel at age 12 and now writes fantasy in a variety of genres, exploring her passion for cultures and languages. When she isn’t writing, Astrid likes to read, take walks in nature, play silly games with her children, do embroidery, and play music.
The Wordmage’s Tales:
In The Apprentice Storyteller, the boy learns and performs the tales Viola Alerion taught him. Immerse yourself in the tales of the Haldrian Empire and experience these folktales as they fit into The Apprentice Storyteller and Finding the Way. Each tale is a stand-alone and every one of them refers back to the moment it was mentioned in The Apprentice Storyteller or Finding the Way.
The twists of life confront us with the worst within ourselves. At the same time, these moments provide us the opportunity to offer up that which brings out the best in us. Dreams are the seeds of our potential. They are the life-giving guides that unfold the path of our highest achievements. Our dreams require belief—in both the possibility of that intangible dream becoming a reality, and also in our capacity to make it happen.
Love. Loss. Longing. Loyalty. The Wordmage’s Tales bring it all to life.
These tales are a continuation of Astrid V.J.’s exploration of human transformation and expand her journey as a writer of transformation fiction, literature exploring human potential and our capacity to achieve success in the face of adversity. Each one of The Wordmage’s Tales is dedicated to a key principle of transformation.
The Wishmaster series:
A master-storyteller and her apprentice share stories on their travels through the Haldrian empire, where things are not as blissful as the empress would like people to believe. Can they bring change to the galactic empire through their stories?
Elisabeth and Edvard’s World series:
This is a series of retellings of lesser-known fairy tales and folk tales by award-winning and USA Today bestselling author, Astrid V.J. These books can be read as standalones or enjoyed as a series with unexpected interconnections. Currently includes the following retellings:
The Siblings’ Tale duology – Brother and Sister (Grimm)
Gisela’s Passion – Giselle (original Slavic folktale on which the French ballet is based)
Naiya’s Wish – The Nixie of the Mill-pond (Grimm)
Johara’s Choice – The Tinderbox (Hans Christian Andersen)