Alright, ladies and gentlemen. If you’ve been reading along these past few weeks, you’ll know that I recently enjoyed a book called Shadow Magic. If you haven’t, I’ve got a brief catch-up for you.
Shadow Magic is a magical, darkly enchanting story, set in a sweeping and fantastical landscape of worlds. It’s a story that could be any number of genres: fantasy and paranormal, mystery and horror. It’s brilliantly written, and I can’t wait for the sequel (Dream Magic, expected publication date April 2017)!
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Joshua Khan, the author of Shadow Magic. So here it is, eleven questions with Joshua Khan!
1. What was your world-building process?
A theme. I wanted a world that have been created, and ruled, by sorcerers. But to make it work I needed rules to magic. So I based it on the classical elements, incorporating both Western and Eastern concepts. Each house of magic could control only one element. So we had sorcerers of Earth, Wind, Fire and Air to begin with. Then from the east I took the idea of Metal/Silver/Light and the Void, ie. Darkness.
The next was names. Places aren’t just a made up jumble of vowels. They mean something. So I used that. You have Castle Gloom, Knight’s Hill. A huge graveyard called the City of Silence. Then the characters were named to suit. Tyburn is my executioner and Tyburn was the place they had hangings in London. Thorn comes from Herne’s Forest, so has a nature-style name. His father is called Vyne, his mother Blossom. Lily’s kin are all named after devils and demons, she is Lilith, meaning Mother of Monsters. What else would you expect from necromancers?
2. Which character is your favorite?
Is it weird to say I had the most fun writing Gabriel? He’s awful, but hysterical. It’s fun writing a guy who’s so utterly deluded!
3. If you could belong to any of the six Houses, which one would you choose?
House Typhoon, the sorcerers of the sky. I’d want to be able to fly. It’s the answer I always give when asked what superpower I’d like. You’ll meet some in DREAM MAGIC.
4. Any scenes or characters that didn’t quite make the cut?
Wow, it seems so long ago but I had a huge section dealing with the Shardlands, the vast magical wasteland left over in the first great, and horrific, war of the Six Princes. That said, it’s central to Book 3, BURNING MAGIC, so nothing’s ever wasted.
5. What fandoms are you a part of?
Where to begin? I’m a total superhero geek, DC rather than Marvel even if it’s a bit uncool! That and I’m mad on roleplaying games, especially Dungeons and Dragons. It was rpgs that made me a writer. It’s all the craft of story-telling.
6. Best experience as an author?
Met a guy who was about 15 or so, never finished a book in his life, mine was the first. Damn awesome experience.
7. How did you react when you found out that you had the publishing deal?
My wife and I would order a takeaway curry (spicy South Asian food) on the odd Friday night. We were debating whether or not to order the rice and the bread, as it felt slightly extravagant. Got the book deal and decided to order both!
8. Did you go to school for writing, was it a childhood hobby, or something you picked up more recently?
I spent 20 years in the construction industry, I’ve a degree in mechanical engineering. But when I decided to become a writer I went for it as a career change, not just dabbled in it as a hobby. I read up on the craft, took courses. Did what I could do to push forward. I was pretty disciplined, wrote 4 pages every night. 10pm till midnight. That said, I was keen on writing for ages, but writing roleplaying game adventures. That, perhaps more than anything, was what gave me the start as a storyteller.
9. What kind of music do you listen to when you’re writing?
For the SHADOW MAGIC books there’s been a lot of Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees!
10. We all know rejection is a part of life- how many times did you get rejected before your manuscript was picked?
12, then I stopped submitting. It would be about another 2 years before I was ready, and entered a writing competition. That’s how I found my agent, she was one of the judges.
11. Any advice for young writers?
FINISH. If you can write a whole story, then you will make it. THE END are the two most important words in a manuscript. I know too many people who’ve been working on their ‘perfect’ manuscript for years, and never completed it.
Also, I’ve got some really exciting news. Here at Jamie’s Fiction Addiction, we’re running a giveaway for the first time! I have a signed copy of Shadow Magic that will go to one lucky reader. All you have to do is use the Contact page here on the site and put your name and email address. I’ll choose at random, and if you’re the lucky winner I’ll contact you with further information.
Thank you, Mr. Khan!