Currently, I’m living in lovely Pacifica, California – about ten minutes south of San Francisco.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Pacifica is one scenic town. We’re right on the Pacific coast so we are surrounded by gorgeous rolling hills and stunning views of the ocean. Living right next to a beach is my absolute favorite part of Pacifica.
What turns you on creatively?
Music. I am a musician’s daughter so I was brought up on a little more than food and classical music. Being exposed to orchestras and choral productions at a young age, I find great comfort and inspiration in classical symphonies. Though the older I get the more my taste in music expands. Still, if there is ever a moment when I feel uninspired, all I have to do is listen to some Bach, Mozart, Chopin or many others and I’m back in the game.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
There are so many to choose from! How can I settle on just one? I like the sound of “lugubrious,” but the meaning is a bit too – shall I say lugubrious (ha!)? “Mellifluous” is another good one – not only is the word itself mellifluous (double ha!) but it also has a beautiful meaning. Still, I think I’ll settle on “impervious.” Impervious is one of those words that I loved ever since I learned it (which is a story unto itself). I love the sound of this word AND the meaning. It feels like the word on its own gives me strength. As for the “use it in a poetic sentence” bit – that won’t be difficult. I have recently written a poem where it is the first word:
Impervious, impregnable, unnerving
Undoubtedly, the best in all of me
Unnecessarily, I wished to be
But here I am, the life within still churning
What is your pet peeve?
I studied history in my undergrad. So I have a strong belief that the need to know history is vital for humanity’s optimal development as a species. Otherwise, humans are simply doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again and potentially live out a miserable existence. So people who know nothing of history and have zero interest in learning it really get under my skin. I mean, seriously, is it really that hard to remember which countries were in alliance during WW2? Half of our Hollywood movies are based on the second world war and still I meet people who know nothing on the subject. It’s just weird.
What defines Viktoria Nikola?
This is a deep question. What really defines any of us? Could it really be encapsulated into finite words? I’m not sure, but I’ll try.
I’m part a melancholic Russian soul who venerates (and even is nostalgic about) the long ago past. And part an excited American dreamer who likes to question established norms and looks forward to the future with hope. I feel a bit like a paradox at times. But I think this can all be boiled down to the fact that I’m simply a philosopher at heart.
In 1991 my family and I immigrated to America from Russia. I didn't become fluent in English until I was about eight years old. Even so, I wrote my first poem in English when I was 12 and my first story when I was 13. However, instead of thinking "Eureka! I've found my calling!" I thought: "What an adorable hobby." In fact, since I was a musician’s daughter, my mind was set on becoming a musician. A violinist, a guitarist, a vocalist - any one of them would do. Once I was accepted to UC Davis, however, I was far too busy with my classes to pursue a music career. I started studying history. Then picked up classics. I fell in love with the mysteries of the ancient world and began thinking of pursuing a Ph.D. in either subject. Or perhaps of becoming an archaeologist. However, after an unsuccessful archaeological internship, I decided against the scholastic world. Eventually, I found my way to Traditional Chinese Medicine: part history, part philosophy, and big part natural therapeutics. I've always been attracted to holistic medicine and thought this was a nice blend of all the things I loved. However, after spending a few years in the Master's program for acupuncture, I realized something was still missing. That's when I sat down to write a poem, as I so often did when the muse called, but instead of a poem, a novel came pouring out. So here I am, still writing poetry and brainstorming my next few novels.