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Thanks for the interview at Indie Author Interview Corner

Indie Author Interview – PS Mokha

My next guest in the Indie Author Interview Corner is the author of The Last Sanctuary.

Dear readers, please welcome PS Mokha.

Hello PS Mokha,

Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:
Hi, there. As a person I crave adventure, new and exciting things to stimulate and tantalise. As an author, I’m much the same

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What made you decide to be a writer?
A love of story telling and a desire to practice an art that predates cave paintings. Stories were a way ancient people imparted knowledge, and working towards tapping into that power is an incredible journey with unlimited experiences.

What made you pick this genre to write?
Fantasy is unparalleled because anything can happen. The possibilities are limited only by the author’s imagination. I also love humor and enjoy dropping those delicious comedic moments into tense situations.

Tell us a little about your latest book.
The Last Sanctuary is a traditional fantasy set in modern London and dashed with epic themes and splashes of humor.

How do you come up with your ideas?
I work with teenagers and their minds are more fertile than the Amazon basin. I also read bucket-loads and am blessed with the overactive imagination of a child.

Is there someone in particular you would like to thank for supporting you through this process?
My wife and kids, every minute of every day

Tell us one positive thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).

People stop me when I’m going about my business to say how great the book was and hassle me about how quickly the sequel is coming.

Even better, almost a dozen teenagers have told me mine is the best book they have ever read.

Tell us one negative thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).
The success of The Last Sanctuary means the early starts and late nights to write and polish book two must continue – although it’s a small price to pay to work on something I truly love.

Give us your links to learn more about you and your books?

Check out the great reviews on Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13…

…and here is the trailer link.

And for those that want to buy
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Sanctuary-…

Anyone who likes my PS Mokha page on Facebook and posts an email address, I’ll email a free e-copy in return for a review – it can’t get much better than that!

Finally a big thank you to Jill for allowing me to be interviewed.

Interview with Nadia Bashoo

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Today I’m fortunate enough to post an interview by Nadia Bashoo, author of young adult fantasy novels Sacrifice and the Hand of Destiny series.

1) Tell us about your latest novel?

My latest novel ‘Wolfsong’ is the story of Stefan, a young werewolf who disobeys an order from his leader to marry a girl from another pack. This results in a blood feud and Stefan is forced to flee. He befriends Hayley, an ordinary human girl who becomes caught in the war between the two werewolf packs.

2) What inspires you to write?

I’ve had inspiration from a variety of sources: dreams, conversations with friends, a piece of music. More often than not, ideas just come to me out of the blue.

3) What is your favourite novel and what makes it so great?

It’s impossible to choose one favourite novel as I have so many. I love Young Adult and Middle Grade Fantasy. The best novel I read recently was ‘The Mark of Athena’ by Rick Riordan. It’s the third in his Heroes of Olympus series. I loved the action sequences, the way the characters were forced to put aside their differences and work together, and the wonderful way Rick Riordan manages to blend mythology with the modern world.

4) If you could interview any three people, who would they be and why?

JK Rowling definitely. The fact that she was able to plot such an amazing series and slip in clues throughout the books is incredible. I’m terrible at planning, so I’d ask her how she does it. I’ve always wanted to meet Philip Pullman. He seems like a very interesting man. I’d like to have met Michael Jackson before he died. He was a musician, not an author, but he was an artist. I think it would have been an unforgettable meeting.

5) If you could be re-born in any place and time, when and where would it be?

I’m actually quite happy where I am now. I couldn’t live in a world that didn’t have iPods and audio books.

6) Can you tell everyone about where to get hold of your book?

My novels ‘Sacrifice’ and the Hand of Destiny series, Book 1 – The Appointed and Book 2 – The Betrayer are available in ebook format from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes to name but a few. My latest novel ‘Wolfsong is available from Amazon and Smashwords and should appear in all other ebook stores within a month or so.

Thank you Nadia.

Trailing a Blaze or a Fire to be Extinguished?

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Back in ye good old days, a book was written, it sat in a bookshop and if you liked it, you bought it. Bookshops of tomorrow are an endangered species, like snow leopards, video hire stores and funny American sitcoms.

All this is a shame, because I love bookshops. Browsing through titles with intriguing covers and blurbs that make a book sound like the best thing since pimple cream is a great way to spend time.

Then there are the reviews on the back cover – Charlie Funkerton, National Enquirer Magazine gave this book a 5 brazillion star rating.

Whether a brazillion is a resident of a South American country or a way of removing unwanted hair – one thing is clear; it isn’t a large number. And herein lies my point. In an increasingly cutthroat industry, publishers and authors are having to find more ingenious ways to make their product rise above the rest.

A relatively recent phenomenon is the book trailer. When I first heard of the concept I envisaged an author sitting in a leather chair by the fire reading their novel – something we could ably do ourselves. Upon further investigation I learnt that some trailers were like mini-movies. Like today’s movies most were awful, but a few were so magical you could have pinned a horn on its forehead and called it a unicorn.

So here it is – my trailer for The Last Sanctuary –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40ZmAyRyWSs

Enjoy

When Good News Strikes

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A large bookstore chain has agreed to stock my novel, The Last Sanctuary, in its Auckland and Wellington outlets. Whilst this is good news, I won’t celebrate until contracts are signed.

I take all news with a pinch of salt. News is not always designed to inform, often it aims to manipulate. The key issue is trust. If the source and messenger are reliable, the news can be assumed as accurate.

We all trust different sources. For schoolchildren, teachers are often considered trustworthy. Our orphans in The Last Sanctuary are eager to learn as much about their past as possible – which is fair enough; but which teachers can they trust in order to find out what they need to learn?

Some of their teachers provide wrong information for the right reasons. Others provide wrong information for the wrong reasons. Relying on poor information can cost lives. Worse still, it could result in genocide. Will our orphans successfully make the right choices?

Sometimes failure can masquerade as success. In other words, even though our protagonists might survive their numerous adventures, success in the greater scheme of things may only be possible if our protagonists were dead.

Now there’s a twist.

The Holidays

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Having returned from a holiday in the Bay of Islands I should be invigorated and ready to go.

Kayaking to uninhabited islands with my daughter, relaxing on the beach with a good book (thank you Ken Follett) and being massaged with hot jets in a jacuzzi should be bliss. Except throughout the magical experience was a niggling sensation. How to make book two of The Last Sanctuary series truly explosive?

The dolphins that swam beside our boat made me think of mermaids. The remote islands made me think of lost worlds. The way the skipper commented on our surroundings had me judging her diction and use of terminology.

Having young children is great for a fantasy author. They share a writer’s “what-if” lines of questioning that give a sense of adventure and excitement to the everyday world.  When the world is more than just ‘everyday’, the sense of adventure and excitement can be enhanced. What lies in the depths beyond the crystal clear shallows? What creature lives in the cave of a remote island? What is moored in a bay just around the bluff?

With imagination on your side, possibilities are limitless. A world with limitless possibilities is a world I’d like to live in and one I sought to create when writing The Last Sanctuary. I hope you enjoy.

Discovery and Beauty

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Two themes I aimed to include at the outset in my novel, The Last Sanctuary, were discovery and beauty.

Recently I discovered the Goodreads website. It is a beautiful site, full of like-minded book-lovers and authors whose sole aim is to share their experiences of the written word and everything connected.

Thank you Goodreads, for giving me the gifts of discovery and beauty!

… and thank you to the 20 people who have reviewed my book,  especially the 19 that gave me 5 stars!

Importance of humour

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What makes someone laugh in a book differs from real life humour. Word play can work, provided the reader isn’t the type to skim read, meaning they miss the subtlety (for example – let me introduce you to the butcher’s wife. Meet Patty.)

Visual humour is difficult to pull off given the text base nature of delivery, but it can work. (I awoke to find that someone had drawn a huge face outside my front door. I couldn’t get over the cheek of it).

Messing with the reader’s expectations is the type I prefer. It requires more planning, delicacy and intricacy and is appreciated by the more mature reader.

Cheesy gags can work for younger readers and for the young at heart, who also appreciate the odd fart joke (by odd fart joke I don’t mean a fart that’s odd).

Whatever your style of humour there is something for everyone in The Last Sanctuary.

Have a look at Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13618421-the-last-sanctuary) to see a growing number who agree.

Black, White & Rainbows

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I work in a school and as Dean have pastoral responsibility for over a hundred teenage students. In the last week I have been mentoring pupils on how to reach their potential.

Some students define success and failure as opposites, like black and white. But that is not what life is about. It’s about trying your hardest, achieving your potential and doing the best you can. I avoid talking about success or failure because life contains a rainbow of colours, not just black and white.

When writing my story involving the three orphan protagonists, I reflect on issues my students face.

In The Last Sanctuary, people do bad things when faced with impossible choices and great pressures; just like people do in real life. I understand the choices faced by the protagonists in my book are not the same as the everyday child; but who wants to read about everyday children?

I consider a fear or paranoia a student faces at my school and I reflect on the ramifications. I extrapolate the consequences before seeking to counsel the student on how to progress. This emotional load helps me tap into a variety of human conditions that feeds my writing.

The Last Sanctuary is a book about fairies, elves and goblins that the average 12-year-old will love. But it is also a deeply layered story following the emotional and physical journey of three orphans facing a reality no one should ever face. The book recently received an incredible post on Goodreads, “From a 30yr old Mum who usually reads historical fiction, this was outside my usual but I was hooked in the first few pages!”

I hope The Last Sanctuary hooks you too.

Good vs Evil?

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I’ve been installing a 25,000 litre tank at home to catch rain water. The task was vital, not for water conservation, but because our spring dried up last year and we live in a place too remote to access mains water. So having spent the last year living off water collected from a decrepit shed, it was time to collect water off the house.

The boring job of digging a 3.6 metre diameter hole was made infinitely more enjoyable by reflecting on what makes a good story. Most stories have themes about good vs evil. It’s simple, timeless and easy to follow. Sprinkle with a rainbow of emotion through the eyes of the lead character, and you get the beginnings of a tale.

The Last Sanctuary has central themes that predate good vs evil, yet it is a modern story set in London of today. There is good vs evil, yet there is an older more ancient energy that courses through the book’s veins.

That energy follows the cycles of creation and destruction. Characters will die, as everyone does. Death is a natural progression that is required for new life; however The Last Sanctuary isn’t a philosophical book.

It’s a tale of three orphans discovering a magic place and the adventures they have exploring it. It’s about the touching relationship between a Grandpa at the dusk of his life and a Granddaughter not long into the dawn of hers. It’s about friendship, loyalty and doing what’s right.

My water tank hole is getting deeper, but more importantly, I got some exercise and was able to dig it while my mind travelled between planning story lines and reflecting on what makes a great tale. And thanks for the ‘help’ kids. Your role in making mud-pies was an integral part of the project.

Science and Humour

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I wrote a little about the world of Ammasaya in my last post.  Now I’d like to share with you the creative process and some of the themes behind it.

The fairy-tale world of  The Last Sanctuary doesn’t have much room for fairies.  Unfortunately our little winged friends are on the brink of extinction.

Sad though it may be, their loss is our gain, because their fight for survival makes for compulsive reading.  Having said that, battles for survival can become predictable; unless some of our heroes actually die.

It’s not usually cool to kill a book’s main character, but this is just one way my book differs from other books set in a fairy-tale world.

Another point of difference is the insertion of science and humour.  Can science fiction, fairy-tales and comedy mix seamlessly?

Of course they can. People say that religion and science don’t mix.  But anyone who has heard of the God-particle knows that the relationship between science and religion is getting closer. (Google the ‘Higgs boson particle’ for more details). The big-bang theory (which I detailed in a simplified way in my book) is pure science.  But who made the bang?  Where did the materials come from that comprised it?  Some say God made the big-bang, and they might be right.

The Ammasayan world was born in the same way, but the spark that created life came from a source not found in a science journal.

Life in Ammasaya was created by dragons. The  Dragon of Creation and The Dragon of Destruction to be precise.  These dragons created all life, including fart monsters (silent but violent), chilling Spine Crawlers (talkative and violent) as well as a host of other beasties.  These dragons also created humans, which explains why we can be so creative and also so destructive.

With an explanation and justification for everything, you will find it easy to believe the world of Ammasaya really exists.