About Author

Astrid V.J.

Astrid V.J.

I am an award-winning and USA Today Bestselling South African author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach now living in Sweden. I am happily married and we have two children.

I started writing my first novel at age 12 and kept writing throughout my teens. In my twenties, I began doubting myself and the idea of publishing my writing. After battling my demons, I came to the conclusion in 2019 that I should just go ahead and publish some of the books I'd already written. I haven't looked back!

Elisabeth and Edvard's World is my first series, starting with the two-part Siblings' Tale series and since November 2019 including the prequel Gisela's Passion. These are all fairy tale retellings set in my fantasy universe "the kingdom of Vendale".

I am currently working on a sci-fi/fantasy cross-over. The Wishmaster series and am continuing with my fairy tales retelling series Elisabeth and Edvard's World.
Forthcoming titles are:
Wishmaster series: Finding the Way, Becoming Spellwright, Master Wordmage

In the spinoff series, The Wordmage's Tales: The Companion's Tale, The Sewing Princess, The Artist and His Muse, The Last Warrior, Warring Lions, The Destitute Countess, Silvana's Trial.

In Elisabeth and Edvard's World:
Naiya's Wish, The Lion, the Lark and the Lady, Firmament, Down the Well, Johara's Choice.

I also love giving back to society and have joined several charity projects. Enchanted Waters is a collection of fantasy short stories about magical water creatures and all proceeds are going to Oceana to support their work in protecting our oceans from over fishing and helping maintain marine biodiversity. The authors who worked with me on Enchanted Waters have decided to do another charity anthology, Enchnated Forests, to raise money towards forest/woodland conservation.

When I'm not writing or working on my day job, I enjoy reading, doing embroidery, playing with my children, playing the violin or just taking a tranquil walk in the Swedish countryside.

Astrid V.J.'s Books

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$2.99 kindleeBook,
Finding the Way (Wishmaster Book 1.5)by Astrid V.J.Publish: Dec 20, 2022Series: WishmasterFantasy
Enchanted Forests: A Magical Collection of Short Stories
$2.99 kindle Free with KUeBook,
Enchanted Forests: A Magical Collection of Short Storiesby Astrid V.J.Publish: Jul 01, 2022Fantasy
The Companion's Tale (The Wordmage's Tales)
Free kindleeBook,
The Companion's Tale (The Wordmage's Tales)by Astrid V.J.Publish: Jul 09, 2021Mystery Fantasy
Dragons' Daughter (The Wordmage's Tales)
$0.99 kindleeBook,
Dragons' Daughter (The Wordmage's Tales)by Astrid V.J.Publish: Feb 19, 2023Fantasy

Astrid V.J.'s Series in Order

It's exciting to find a book series to follow! Discover the whole new world of book series created by Astrid V.J..
** Also, there might be other book series by Astrid V.J. not listed on AllAuthor.

  • Wishmaster

    1 Finding the Way (Wishmaster Book 1.5) - Published on Dec, 2022

Astrid V.J.'s Awards and Achievements

    Astrid V.J. has earned excellence awards over time. Here is the glimpse of the accolades clinched by the author.

  • 2019 Gold Literary Classics Award for Fairytales
    2019 award
  • 2019 Silver Literary Classics Award for YA Fantasy
    2019 award

Astrid V.J. Interview On 25, Jun 2021

"An award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author, Astrid V.J. has always been an avid reader and you would never see her without a book. Having studied English Literature, she has a good grasp of the language and different writing styles as well as writing compellingly. Her debut novel Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale won two International Literary Classics Awards in 2019. She enjoys reading, doing embroidery, and playing the violin."
Do you have a simple childhood memory that you could never forget?

One of the first that comes to mind is the day my little sister was born. I was five years old and wanted to go to the hospital with my mum because I wanted to be there when the baby arrived, but instead I had to stay with my aunt and say goodbye to my mom and dad while they went to the hospital and I waited. That moment watching them leave and the door closing behind them is etched in my memory. I was super excited to meet my little sister the next day though.

Do you remember the first novel you wrote at age 12?

Yes, I do. It is still a work in progress which has matured with me over time. Back in the day, I just titled it The Atlantis Project without a title. Then I called it “Under the Sea”, but more recently I’ve settled on it needing to be a trilogy to get all the ideas that have been added to that bare bones idea my twelve-year-old brain cooked up. The titles for The Atlantis Series, an African Occult Fantasy starting in Uganda and spanning the continent (and beyond), will be detailed in Nyesha’s Dreams, The Sacred Stones, and Defending Atlantis. I’ve also expanded the original story with a spin-off two-part series set close to a century later: Time of Prophecy and The Custodians of Truth. All of this is in the works and I sincerely hope to be ready to share this epic contemporary fantasy series with my readers in the not-too-distant future.

As a teenager, what were you obsessed with?

Books. I have always been an avid reader and you never saw me without a book. I mostly walked around school with a book tucked under my arm and would read whenever I got an opportunity.

What was your biggest dream as a child? Did it ever come true?

Becoming an award-winning author (and showing my classmates who laughed at me and talked about me behind my back but in such a way what they said always came back to me that dreams can come true and that the fantasy nerd could become famous). Yes, my debut novel Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale won two International Literary Classics Awards in 2019: silver in the Young Adult Fantasy category and gold in the Fairytales category. As for proving my worth, I’ve come to realise that was never really important, so I don’t feel that negative energy anymore that tinged my dreams in the early years.

Your thoughts on conventional vs. self-publishing? What route did you choose and why?

I chose self-publishing mainly because it was right for me. I’d spent more than a decade putting my own writing down and not believing in myself. I’d saddled myself with the idea that I couldn’t make a living off my writing and hence was better off choosing a different career path. My decision to publish came out of the understanding that if I didn’t do it (NOW) I might never do it and that I’d regret not publishing. So, I went ahead and took the steps. Considering my own self-limiting beliefs had held me back for so long, I firstly didn’t feel it sensible to query traditional publishers who were very likely to reject my writing and start me back down the spiral I’d just climbed out of. Secondly, I found out that even with a traditional publisher, I’d have to seek out readers myself and do most of the marketing on my own, so then I thought, “well, why would I give up all the rest of the creative process like having control over cover design, formatting and the content of my book?” Lastly, I was also aware that my books go counter to current trends and are very niche, which meant they were even less likely to get accepted by a mainstream publishing house. This was the right choice for me. I’ve learned so much and met some incredible authors because I chose this route.

What according to you are the key ingredients of a successful book?

The author’s passion for the subject, a great editor, humility, a brilliant description and a cover that can get people to stop scrolling and read the description.

Who inspired the character of Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in "The Apprentice Storyteller"?

Viola is a very special character to me. First and foremost, she is the inversion of me. I am A.V. and she is V.A. ;) I also chose “Alerion” as a reference to me. My surname is Vogel, which means bird in German and the name I chose for Viola is the French word for a bird of prey. She is determined and headstrong like I never was, but also doubts and gives in to her fears like I have so many times. She also lets her rationality get the better of her sometimes, ignoring her intuition and belittling others’ beliefs, things I have thought if not said out loud.

Additionally, Viola was inspired by my paternal grandmother who was a sweet, kind and tender woman who hid behind a shell of steel. She was the toughest, most amazing woman I have ever known. When I was a child, her energy intimidated me and I was often afraid of her because she was so hard. There was only ever right and wrong for her and she’d make you stay on the correct side of that divide, but that also made her scary. However, as I grew older and began to understand her life in Germany from the Second World War, through the divide between East and West, the loss of her mother at a young age and living with a step-mother during the war, things she did and said started to make sense to me and I’ve come to admire her more and more over the years. She loved the outdoors and some of my fondest memories are of hiking through the Alps in her “back yard”.

How did you come up with the idea of your first series, Elisabeth and Edvard's World?

Elisabeth and Edvard are the main characters in The Siblings’ Tale, a two-part retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ lesser-known tale, Brother and Sister. I came up with the idea when I was fifteen, after reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson-Levine. I loved the feel Ella Enchanted had, but I was disappointed in it being yet another Cinderella retelling. That was why I picked my favourite German fairytale to write a retelling. Following the success of Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale, I realised there was scope for more retellings of lesser-known fairytales. Since then, I’ve written and published a retelling of the ballet Giselle, which was originally based on a Slavic folktale. Gisela’s Passion additionally serves as a prequel to The Siblings’ Tale duology, and I’ve written a retelling of another Grimm tale, The Nixie of the Mill-pond. Naiya’s Wish, which explores the events of the fairytale from the nixie’s perspective, along with some of the other female characters mentioned in the tale. This novel is on pre-order at the moment and will be released in November 2021. Additionally, this retelling comes with a complimentary short story, The Naiad’s Curse, which is a short retelling of the original tale from the original perspective. Since this is such an obscure tale, I found many readers wondered about the miller’s perspective and that is covered in this short story which is available in the Enchanted Waters charity anthology, a collection of short stories about magical water creatures. All proceeds of this anthology are going to Oceana, an ocean protection organisation that works to maintain marine biodiversity and keep fishing sustainable.

In what ways has your writing improved over the years since you first began writing?

Having studied English Literature, I have a good grasp of the language and different writing styles as well as writing compellingly. My early writings were very amateur, but I’ve learned a lot about what style I want to emulate and what mistakes to avoid, particularly through reading, but also by paying attention to what my editors correct. My worldbuilding as improved thanks to my studies in social anthropology.

What are some great life coaching tips?

Take life by the horns. Fear is simply feedback saying you’ve never done this before, not saying “you can’t do it”. When you stumble or fall, get back up again, it’s all part of the learning.

What are some of the most absurd things about modern life?

It is absurd that young women are being told they have to get into the labour force and shouldn’t be having children. I know this is an unpopular thought and goes against current trends, but from my personal experience, I’ve always wanted to have kids and if I’d listened to the general consensus in society, I would probably not have married when I did and wouldn’t have my children. I know, without a doubt, that I would not be happy. I’ve explored this absurdity in my short story, “In Pursuit of Independence” which is available on Wattpad. Essentially, I wrote what could have happened to me if I’d believed the ideology that women should work, be independent, and not have children. I asked myself the question: How would I feel if I bought into this way of thinking and truly believed it was right and what I wanted (getting married and having children) was wrong. As I was writing that story, and since finishing it, I’ve kept coming up with new questions. One of them came from my son: What would happen if a boy who has angry outbursts that he can’t control because the chemistry in his brain takes over his responses was told this response is bad and that makes him bad? I’m currently working on another short story to get my head around this question and there are more short stories coming, so I’ve titled the series of short stories: Tales from the Dystopian Mind, each one is an exploration of the hell we can create for ourselves when we stop thinking from the heart and only believe what others have told us to think.

What are the challenges of being an award-winning South African author?

There are always challenges. My challenges are my own. I still struggle to get my books to sell, but I’m seeing a lot of changes this year. I’ve had more reviews and more pre-orders than ever before, which are an indication that I’m clearly reaching people and keeping them engaged. Rising out of obscurity is always a battle and it is fraught with obstacles, but I’m seeing stars shining above and I’m going to keep on reaching for them. There are so many stories sitting in my head, I think it would be a shame for them to stay there.

Should anthropologists apply their knowledge of anthropology to solve social issues?

No, applied anthropology has proven that it doesn’t work, and besides, there are massive risks that suggestions from an anthropological perspective can be twisted into something altogether different and even counter to the original suggestion. It was an anthropological postulation that formed the backbone of Apartheid ideology in South Africa. I do not believe anthropologists can force change by trying to actively solve social issues. I personally believe the duty of anthropologists is to make their findings and knowledge available, and to educate. It is up to each persona alone to take the knowledge at their disposal and to use it to make the best out of their lives and in so doing enriching society. When we all do our best, and strive for our dreams while remaining ethical and not harming others, then we shall achieve incredible things and will be able to work together to repair the damage caused by our forefathers and heal the great divides that we’ve been told exists, but which anthropology has proven are merely figments of our imaginations fuelled by the psychological processes our brains find easiest to compute.

What books are you writing currently, or plan to write in the future?

I am currently writing two short stories towards Enchanted Forests, a second charity anthology aiming to raise money towards protecting forests. Both of these short stories are connected to fairytale retellings I am working on. Johara’s Choice is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Tinderbox, and the Grimm Brothers’ Singing Soaring Lark, will be a duology: The Lion, the Lark, and the Lady and Firmament (I’m hoping to publish all three of these books by the end of 2023). Additionally, I am working on three more novellas in The Wordmage’s Tales series: Warring Lions, The Destitute Countess and Silvana’s Trial. These are the tales Viola Alerion teaches her apprentice in The Apprentice Storyteller and they are available on pre-order already and will publish in the spring of 2022. I’m also working on the next instalment of the Ytherynia: Gifted Blood Academy, an anthology of stories set at a magical academy where each author writes about the school year from the perspective of a different student. Finally, I’ve also started outlining Finding the Way, the rest of Viola Alerion’s story.

For the future, I have in the works the continuation of The Apprentice Storyteller in two books that continue the journey of the apprentice, Jo. I’m also expected to publish a novella in the Children of Chaos series in June 2022 and that will be the springboard into a new series, The Last Vasa, which is an urban fantasy set in Sweden. And of course, there’s still The Atlantis Series that I’m working on as well.

How long have you been associated with AllAuthor? How has your experience been?

I joined AllAuthor in 2019 and participated in my first cover contest in January 2020. I’ve enjoyed the experience, although I think there is quite a lot of untapped potential for the platform that I haven’t quite managed to come to grips with.

Ask Astrid V.J. a Question

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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 2 years ago
    • Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
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      • Astrid V.J. Astrid V.J. 2 years ago
      • Strangely enough, it's the other way round. I manifested something six months after I wrote it into my book and it changed my life for the better.
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      • Astrid V.J. Astrid V.J. 2 years ago
      • Yes, always. The good reviews help sustain me on rainy days, and the bad reviews are good for me because they make me strive to do better, or they show me where I got things right and ended up getting under a reader's skin. Yes, it's uncomfortable to make people uncomfortable, but I find there's no real point to my writing if it doesn't make people think.
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      • Astrid V.J. Astrid V.J. 2 years ago
      • In my early years, I wrote by hand and then transferred everything to a pc as a second step. I've cut this part of the process entirely. I need to think about the planet and my time. Writing by hand just takes too much time and I need to save trees.
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      • Astrid V.J. Astrid V.J. 2 years ago
      • It's okay to put yourself out there. There will always be lovers and haters. You don't have to be afraid of negativity.
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      • Astrid V.J. Astrid V.J. 2 years ago
      • I've been writing for more than twenty years. I started when I was twelve. My mother read a lot of books to me and by the time I was in my early teens we'd gone through most of Tolkien's works and were getting into Harry Potter and Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The inspiration struck me while reading a non-fiction book, but it was fuelled by my dissatisfaction with the whiteness of the Fantasy genre. Having grown up in South Africa during the transition from Apartheid, I was very much driven to wanting my favourite genre to reflect my lived experience of multiculturalism. Because, who're we kidding. Whether they be elves, dwarves or men, to all intents and purposes they be white folk.
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