Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Interview with Andi Katsina of Rick & Wylie’s Fantastical, Magical Adventures #1

Today I have an interview with writer Andi Katsina, author of Rick and Wylie's Fantastical, Magical Adventures; I will post the review within the next few days. But right now, what you have to do is check out this fabulous interview - just three questions, which tell you a lot about the author and give a pretty accurate idea about the awesomeness of the book.

A little about the author:

I'm English, of rich Irish, African descent. Born in the sound of bow bells, an orphan, I grew up in Manchester, England. Quite a bit more than forty, I‘m a vegan, though occasionally lapse into vegetarianism.
Throughout my school years I was a champion athlete and swimmer, going on to become an athletics coach, swimming teacher and youth leader. After which time I was trained as a Chartered Accountant. Interrupting my training, I branched out, working freelance as a troubleshooter in the field of accountancy. Six years of adding and subtracting, was followed by two years of trading as an international commodities broker. This led me to the sedentary position of ‘trader in antique, oriental carpets’. It was at this juncture that I became completely inspired to become a writer.
As a ‘school kid’ I very much enjoyed writing plays in English, Latin and French. Fortunately for me, writing came naturally. I so, so like writing stories that give people, especially young people, and people young at heart, the chance to exercise their own imagination.
I love taking my readers on fantastic journeys. The enjoyment and taste of adventure my stories give to my readers, warms me greatly.

1. There are so many books out there that promise a wonderful ride into a new world. What makes the world in your book unique? How would you convince people to read your book?

What makes the world in my book unique? My fantasy world was created by unbridled imagination, driven by love, determination and endurance. My fantasy world is real! You can feel it, visit it, travel around in it, touch it with your mind. Priya, you've read my book, so I’m sure you can identify with this! You can meet my characters, take a journey with them. It’s a world into which you can happily retreat. It’s also a world that allows you to unleash your own imagination, a place where you can choose to journey either in complete safety, or at the mercy of your own exploratory desires. Some of the people and creatures within my world, if you so wish, can be your protectors. As magnificent a fantasy kingdom this world is, and I describe it to you in full colour detail over the course of three books, there are also dark areas, wicked creatures and nasty people, spawned from evil, areas from which my readers are normally protected, but areas that the great, great fantasy epics must provide. I don’t necessarily promise a wonderful ride; I ride motorbikes and sometimes you can fall off, or they can break down. But I do assure you, my dear reader, a long lasting experience and unforgettable great journey.
Why should you buy my book? I love the fact that the more my book becomes known, the more people want to read it. Right now it’s on target to becoming a bestseller, my first bestseller : ) And it’s already being translated in Japan. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a writer is to see your readers grow in number. Still though, I just can’t bring myself to urge you to buy my book. Instead I would ask that you get to know me, get to know my work, talk to people who have read the book, and through this I’m sure you’ll feel that you really want to read my book too: Rick & Wylie’s Fantastical, Magical Adventures book 1 [Journey to the kingdom]. I care about my readers, and always appreciate your feedback.

2. They say you should never ask a horror novelist if he believes in ghosts. I’m going to take my chances and ask you if you believe in magic. Why did you choose to write fantasy?

Yes Priya, I absolutely believe in magic! Though I would like to differentiate the type of magic I believe in with what is commonly called magic, that being the pretend art of magic, for instance what we see modern day magicians practicing, clever tricks with a distinct lack of real magic. Now real magic, the employment of super natural powers, that is something to behold, and though exceptionally rare, I wholeheartedly believe it exists. And providing we are sympathetic to Nature, in tune with our environment, it may be possible to one day witness a feat of magic. I travel a lot and have come across many cultures and belief systems. I am currently in Central America, a place where certain indigenous tribes believe that people can, under certain circumstances take on the guise of an animal. As a child I spent time in Ireland, and you’d be amazed at how many people claimed to have seen a Leprechaun or fairy. In China, Nepal, Korea, Taiwan, India and Japan, to name a few, the list of magical happenings is endless. The people in these countries also have traditional, religious and or cultural beliefs that some may say are fanciful, but such overwhelming belief in magic can not be so easily dismissed. In documents pertaining to Native American peoples, there are recorded occurrences that seem out and out magical, but occurrences non-the less. England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are founded on a hot bed of belief in real magic, a simple example, the Druids. In Hawaii, where my story is based, there’s been claims of what we consider magic for at least the past seven hundred years. I myself have stood inside a rainbow, more than once, and although it felt magical, being scientifically minded I know there is a rational explanation. Point being, there are claims by people from all walks of life, religious beliefs and educational standing, that magic exists, on a global scale, we can’t all be wrong! Woooohhooooo : )
Why did I choose to write fantasy? Thanks for asking, Priya. All my life I've been surrounded by elements of fantasy. As a child I read books, the majority of them where made up fanciful stories. I sometimes watched television, the vast majority of the programmes; made up storylines greatly departing from reality. One of the major forms of entertainment in our societies consists of made up stories. Fantasy takes it a few steps further, for the most part leaving behind the seeming similarity to normal life, opening the door to mystical, magical, improbable situations. I've been blessed with an exceptionally active imagination, and an understanding of the value of fantasy in being able to offer people a retreat in which they can exercise their own imaginations. I love being able to create whole worlds in which we can be ourselves, but can also experience, explore or observe wondrous  amazing activities, surrounded by people and creatures that are governed by none of the restrictions and limitations we are faced with. Other writers may agree with this, I hope, but I can say with all certainty that for me, having the wonderful ability to create the most fantastic, amazing worlds and universes that other people, my readers, can share, is such a beautiful feeling!! I truly hope you enjoy my stories….

3.  I sometimes write short stories, and I know many people who write poetry. How different/ difficult is writing a novel in comparison? What is your bottom-line advice to aspiring authors?

Priya, this is an excellent question! As a writer you understand much of what’s involved in starting and finishing a written piece. In reference to the 1st part of your question, can I compare it to a track race? Writing poetry is comparable to the 200 metre sprint, a short story, the 400 metre dash, a book, more like the one mile race. But here’s the thing, to participate in any of these races requires training, discipline, and dedication, and all of these races produce champions.
The only differences I can think of at this time is that the writing process continues a lot longer when writing a novel as opposed to poetry or short stories, and the written content is much more involved, complex, for the book. Short stories mirror the construction of a novel, but fewer words are used to tell the tale. Poetry in no way resembles short, or full length stories, as one does not need to rely on the context of the whole to convey the expression of a collection of ideas. The difficulty encountered in writing a novel, compared to a short story or poem, is that since the writing process lasts a lot longer, there is more time for the writer to encounter pitfalls before reaching the finish line; writers block, lack of material, weak storyline. There is a myriad of factors that can play a part in preventing one from finishing a novel, but this is exactly were dedication and discipline will protect the writer from failure, and ensure that the novel is completed.
Advice for aspiring authors, bottom-line; start as you mean to go on. Let me clarify, if you start writing when you’re not ready, for a fact you’re not going to finish the piece. And starting a writing project and not finishing it, especially a first project, is the easiest and most guaranteed way of bringing one’s writing career to a crashing halt. I should add here that there’s nothing wrong with starting to work on a writing project and finding that you can’t get very far forward with it. When this happens you have to be kind to yourself and also you have to understand what it is that’s actually happening, for instance, possibly writers block, (writers block can present itself at any stage, whether you’re scribbling a handful of sentences or writing a book, if it does happen to you recognise it for what it is), possibly you don’t have enough information on the subject, (this is more important to an aspiring writer because falling short of material can be worrisome to the extent of actually putting you off writing), lots of possibilities… but a probability is that it’s not enough to put you off writing, providing you don’t blow it out of proportion, you must accept it for what it is, a dry patch. If you do experience this, know that it’s all right to change your project; you’re working on one piece, if the ideas aren’t flowing, simply put it to one side and start on something else. Under no circumstances should you let such a blockage be a determining factor. Never, ever, put your pen down for the wrong reasons! It’s not uncommon for many writers to have more than one project on the go at any one time. Newby, it really doesn’t have to be tough : )
Another issue to be taken into full consideration; if you can write straight off the bat, excellent, otherwise always try and work out in your head, or on paper, voice recording etc, what it is you want to say. You need to know your subject matter. If it’s a poem of course you need to know what it is you want to express. If it’s a short story same thing, if it’s a book for heavens sake you need to know what the storyline is, I’m not saying you need to know it from start to finish, rarely is a writer so fortunate to know the whole story, details an’all, it depends how your thinking process operates in relation to the material you’re going to write about.
In closing I give to you one of my own mottos, a sentiment shared by many, and a necessity you will become accustomed with if you do become a writer, NEVER GIVE UP! Also, rather importantly, don’t ever let the thought of not having any readers, or not being able to sell your books, short stories, poems, interfere with becoming a writer. As I’ve said before on many occasions, being a writer isn’t determined by selling your work, and it’s not determined by lack of readership. You find your way, you write your story, your poems, your prose, readers will come, they’re very generous and are always willing to give you a chance, you write, your readers will come. Good Luck, and always remember, never give up!
Priya, can I just mention that my motto, by the way, is offered to everyone, not just aspiring writers. Friends, everybody, whatever in do in life, sometimes it can be extremely tough, but please don’t be defeated, and really, for each and everyone of you, NEVER GIVE UP : )
Priya, this is for anyone who really does want to write a book but doesn’t know how to go about it, my post: How Do I Write A Book by Andi Katsina

Thanks for the great, really thought out responses, Andi. Wow, the last part has inspired me to just start writing, right now! Before I run off to do exactly that, check out the book's magical website right here!


Cheri Devine said...

I have read many of Andi's wonderful books, all different in their own way. She has such a delightful way of structuring sentences and getting her points across, and she is always willing to share with others. I urge all of you to read whatever Andi writes. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Cheri

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