Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview: Fantasy Author Andi Katsina

Please tell us about yourself.I was born in London and grew up in Manchester, England. I trained as an athlete, swimmer and accountant, with lots going on in between. I like to go for a daily run, and swim in the ocean. I really like riding motorbikes. Im an environmentalist and believe in the right of protection for all sentient beings. I am a writer, usually writing epic fantasies.
Tell us your latest news?
Currently one of my books is being translated into Japanese, it’s expected to become a huge bestseller. Right now I’m working on a fun, earth based, sci-fi story, and looking forward to the release, Spring and Autumn 2013 of Rick & Wylie’s Fantastical, Magical Adventures
book 2, and Gurk & Whale [The Rose Mane Arrows] respectively.
When and why did you begin writing?
After a long break, I picked up my pen again in 2003. I wrote two books, and wanting to write a fabulous story for someone I care a great deal about, so that they could read it to their little girl, I continued writing. The story I wrote was Gurk & Whale [The Rose Mane Arrows].
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I was nine years of age. I used to write plays, this I did for many years, it was such great fun.
How can we find you?


Tell me a little about your book.
It’s a highly descriptive epic fantasy following the adventures of father and daughter, forcibly separated, journeying through an island sized mystical forest.

More blurb; the fabled Hawaiian Menehune people, thought to be invisible except in moonlight, are believed by most to exist only in legend. In actual fact their kingdom has been in deep slumber ever since being attacked, half a millennium ago, by an evil wizard, Wan Chu Fang.

Wylie, a vivacious teenage girl, finds the lost sacred Lono crystal teardrop, which contains the one being capable of defeating the evil wizard. The race is on for Wylie to reach the sleeping Menehune kingdom, and for the evil wizard to procure the sacred Lono crystal teardrop.

Violently separated during their vacation to Hawaii, Rick, Wylie's father, must now enter the mystical forest, a huge region found deep within the Hawaiian island, in order to rescue his daughter and try to help her wake the sleeping kingdom. Along with a small group of friends, he is faced with many dangerous situations as they journey through the mystical forest. Wylie's journey is equally fraught with danger, which unfortunately she must face alone….

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I write full-time. It’s not a conscious effort on my part to organize my writing time. Usually as soon as I wake up I start making notes for the story I’m working on, this is about a two-hour process, could be longer. I then sit down at the computer and type the notes into story format, not finishing for the day until all that day’s notes are typed up. This can take many hours, with breaks in between. Oftentimes I’m still typing right into the evening; writing full time, all day, everyday.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I began writing plays at school, in English, Latin and French, I enjoyed it so much, from those early days I very much fancied myself as a writer, and for three or four years, age nine until twelve, I was a writer, a play-writer. 
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?I hope to give my readers a wonderful experience when they visit the fantasy worlds I create. I want my readers to feel relaxed, and also very excited and eager to explore my scenes and follow my characters. My stories are real, live fantasy places readers can become a part of, helping to shape the world and develop the characters. This is what I want my readers to take away; the feeling that they have had a fantastic time reading my stories, and that they themselves, in forming a bond with these fantasy adventures, realise that they too become a member of the fantasy world they read about, whether as a viewer, or actively using their own imagination to participate in the journey. My worlds are fantastical wonderful places and are open to everyone.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Lakisha, I am rather fortunate in that I find no part of being a writer tough. It’s a great vocation, and the end results are so rewarding. To have readers who enjoy my work, wow, it’s fabulous. Hearing from my readers, telling me they really enjoyed my book… wow! If you feel as though you can tell a good story, and have always wanted to write a book, I urge you friends, begin writing now!

What about your book makes it special?Rick & Wylies Fantastical, Magical Adventures book 1 [Journey to the Kingdom], part of a trilogy, is a great adventure in the epic fantasy genre. There is much more to the story than most, this accounts for its length. Many young people, and people young at heart, really enjoy great fantasy epics, this story does not disappoint, and the fact that it is so long, makes my readers journey that much more lasting, and enjoyable. I think catering to ones reader in this way is quite special.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?My micropublishing hub; is a great starting point to find out about me and some of my books.
Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?Yes! First and foremost, never give up! You must have a vivid imagination to be attracted to this genre, dont limit it! Much advice offered tells you to read as many fantasy books as you can lay hands on. I say dont! Why invest yourself in other peoples work, you can not hope to be individual if you dont stand back and develop your own ideas and style, with as little input from other writers as possible. Dont feel as though your story might not cut the grade. It is always great to have a new perspective and fresh ideas. If you are struggling to continue with your story, after only a few chapters, Do Not let this stop you, my advice is to simply begin work on another story, which will give your current story to develop by itself in the middle of your mind, as soon as you see a way forward, pick it up again, or if you are racing ahead with another story, MAKE extensive notes so that you will be able to take up the story as soon as. It is important to make notes when working on a story because you can lose great ideas as quick as you can formulate them! Good luck fellow writer : )

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I always try to impart, in a most subtle way, the need for environmental consciousness, be it the need for clean waterways, the necessity for reducing pollution, etc..
What are your current projects? Currently, in relation to Rick & Wylie’s Fantastical, Magical Adventures book 1, I am working with translators in Japan, and also negotiating the publishing of the book in India. I am also writing a very fun, earth based sci-fi novel. In addition to doing much to publicise the release of my book.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No! There is absolutely nothing I would change about Rick & Wylie’s Fantastical, Magical Adventures. I never release a book until it is completed, and it’s never deemed to be completed until I’m happy with it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?I originally become extremely interested in writing when I was nine. I used to write plays in a few different languages. I did this for three or four years. I totally enjoyed it; also discovered writing came quite naturally to me.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?No. I enjoy the whole process, and am so thrilled each time I finish a book.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sometimes, especially if I’m writing a particularly scientific or technical part of the plot, it can be a little exhausting, and as such I write at a slower pace, other than that everything goes smoothly. I really enjoy the stories I write.
Do you have any advice for other writers?Yes, I always have advice for other writers, although my advice is more for those who are striving to become writers; don’t give up!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would love to say to my readers; Thank you so much for your time, I very much appreciate it. Receiving feedback is lovely. It makes writing these epic fantasies all the more worthwhile when I hear that you have really enjoyed my stories. Best wishes to you all. Andi x


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