Saturday, February 22, 2014

Very fun Guest Post/ Interview with Author Anna Kashina [Blog Tour]

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Anna Kashina

1) If your life were a novel. you can title it and write a short synopsis. Just something fun. Maybe make a mock cover. ;)

Oh, geez, where do I begin. Maybe the title should be “Jack of Too Many Trades”? Or, “One Step Ahead of Disaster”? I guess the theme would reflect the essence of how I feel day to day. Taking on far too much. Barely managing to balance on top of a very unsteady pile of things to do. Finding my escape into created worlds. Would that do for a synopsis too?

2) Author bucket list: 10 things I would like to do as an author (or the books/ characters I want to write)

How about five books and five characters:


A historical romance
A historical mystery
An urban fantasy
A novel about ancient Russia
A novel about ancient Middle East


A villain everyone would root for
A woman in a female-dominated Middle Eastern-style society
A hero who wins a war without ever touching a weapon
A shape-shifter
A new type of mythical creature that combines features of elves and vampires (without drinking blood)

3) Inside the Mind of Anna  -Let everyone know what sort of things go through your mind on a day to day basis. Maybe a little dialogue inside your head? 

This brought to mind a conversation I once had with my grandfather, when I was a lot younger. I said to him, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could download our thoughts directly into a computer?” His face contorted with horror, and he said, “Heaven forbid!” As I grow older, I am beginning to understand him.

So, what goes through my mind every day? A lot of self-convincing: “Yes, you can do it. No matter what.” I also have a lot of thoughts like: “What the hell were you thinking when you decided to do X?” And yes, a bunch of promises: “After I finish my current work in progress I am going to write a novel on Z.” And then, “Yeah, right, like you’ll ever have time.” These types of thoughts are recurring, the rest come day to day. The ones I look forward to are “You’ve done great!”--not too often, I am afraid.

I guess it tells you one disturbing thing: I do tend to talk to myself a lot.

4) Trolls versus ogres- who would win? What advantages do you think one would have over the other. Or any 2 other fantasy creatures you can think of? Orcs?  sasquach? minotaur? cyclops? gremlin? goblin? gnome? Whoever you want to put against each other. Dragon Vs. Centaur? Griffin Vs. Werewolf? The possibilities are endless!

What a fun question!

Trolls and ogres seem to be almost the same in my mind, so I would have to make up a few rules first. If trolls are kin to rocks and ogres to forests, each would have more chances in their own environment. My feeling is, trolls would draw strength from rock and ogres--from soft forest soil, so the victory would depend on where the battle is taking place.

And, I love this idea of pitching mythical creatures against each other. Pixies versus centaurs? Pixies should win, by driving centaurs mad and forcing them to run off a cliff or into a quicksand.

5) Why I will never write a modern-day political thriller. 

Anything that is set in a world resembling our everyday life just doesn’t connect. I could imagine writing a political thriller set, say, in 13th century Spain. But then, wouldn’t it be fun if it was set in the Kingdom of Xar that resembles 13th century Spain (maybe with less religion)? I would probably end up writing a fantasy anyway, so that I could elaborate on the setting and not be constrained by historical facts.

I do like putting politics into my books, and even if there is not much of it I always try to make sure it is all consistent. But a book focused entirely on politics-related action? Not my genre.

6) Necessities for surviving the Apocalypse (Zombie or other)
Who would you want by your side in the case of an apocalypse (hopefully this never happens, but just for fun) Why would you choose that person? What survival necessary traits do they bring to the table?

I think I would pick Gandalf. Not only is he a wizard who makes an art of survival, he is also such fun company.

7) Which fantasy or mythological creature would you NOT want to be the most? (Your very last choice.)

Gargoyle: hanging off a rock cliff, or a ledge of a building, is unappealing on so many levels. Too high, for one. Not to mention rain, snow, and pigeons. Vampire is close second. I like the power, but I would hate it if I had to drink blood.

8) Who is your favorite all time book/movie/play/cartoon/horror story Villain? I adore villains, so I am not sure I could choose. (Although Regina from Once upon a time is pretty complex. And evil. definitely evil. With mommy issues out the wazoo..)

Yes, I adore villains too, and I think the villains, not the good guys, make a story fun. I do like Regina, she is very good as villains go, even though I am not a fan of the show. Aside from her, I have to say, Voldemort is one of the better ones. I like his background and the fact that he was actually likeable at some point. I also love the concept of horcruxes.

This question touches on a topic I find very interesting. Evil as a concept has much more dimension, but in a traditional story good has to win every time, so we have to make the evil side faulty to make such victory believable. It is my ambition one day to write a villain everyone would root for. The challenge is, such villain would probably stop being a villain and become the good guy.

And yes, this reminds me of my true favorite: Jaime Lannister from “The Game of Thrones” series (actually called “Songs of Ice and Fire”). You cannot imagine a worse villain at the beginning of the book, but he becomes so likeable after he loses his hand. If I could ever turn around a character like that, I would feel very proud.

9) Choose a book world to live in -besides the worlds you created in your own book- and explain the pros and cons. Or just the pros. ;)

I wouldn’t mind living in Rivendell. The idea of staying in a beautiful place, surrounded by friends, feels very close to my sort of paradise. Provided, of course, that someone else fights off the Dark Lord and no one ever has to die.

10) Choose a world from one of your own books to live in. Explain.

I am picking from “Blades of the Old Empire.”

If I was a commoner, I would probably choose the Forestlands. I love forests, and people in the Forestland villages feel kinship with trees and blend into the environment very well. They are also under protection of the Forest Woman, who can be terrifying, but would not allow anyone else to hurt her subjects. A close second would be the Majat Fortress, the safest stronghold in the world.

As a scholar, I would choose the Keepers’ White Citadel, where you can spend your life doing scientific research without the fear of being disturbed.

11) If you could be any inanimate object (shoe, pencil, pen, stick- whatever) what would you choose. What object would you hate to be? 

I could be an earring, so that I am beautiful and cherished and always have a position from which I can see everything. I would hate to be a carpet and have everyone step on me.

12) What do you think would have happened if writing popular fiction as entertainment had never been implemented?

I think someone would have implemented it. Entertainment is easily the most important part of our society. I don’t think it would have been possible to avoid having popular fiction as an intricate part of our lives.

Anna's new release

Strange Chemistry
Kara is a mercenary – a Diamond warrior, the best of the best, and a member of the notorious Majat Guild. When her tenure as protector to Prince Kythar comes to an end, custom dictates he accompany her back to her Guild to negotiate her continued protection.

But when they arrive they discover that the Prince’s sworn enemy, the Kaddim, have already paid the Guild to engage her services – to capture and hand over Kythar, himself.

A warrior brought up to respect both duty and honour, what happens when her sworn duty proves dishonourable?

“Kashina’s Arabesque novel … will have readers dream of summoning their own djinn.”
- Publishers Weekly on The Goddess of Dance

“Truly compelling”
- Booklist on The Princess of Dhagabad

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the post and for the great interview! Doing this one was such fun.

    1. (: No problem, Anna. I had a lot of fun as well. Don't be a stranger to the blog.


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