Monday, June 30, 2014

Author Interview - Anna Kashina (2nd time)

Yup, now its time to interview the lovely author who was the first one that I interviewed on my blog. So, welcome again or should I say welcome back 'Anna Kashina' (who I previously interviewed and also there is a review of her first angry robot book on the blog). This time we talked about the sequel 'The Guild of Assassins'.

Q and A -
1) Hi and Welcome back. First please start off by telling us a bit about your new novel "The Guild of Assassins"?

Thanks! It is great to be back, and thank you for hosting this interview.
When I originally wrote “Blades of the Old Empire” I intended for it to be a complete stand-alone, with all the plot lines resolved. However, when I finished the book I could not escape the feeling that the story--as well as the relationships developed in this book--need to be followed up on. Among the story lines to wrap up, the most important one for me revolved around Kara’s status with the Majat Guild. Technically she is now free, but her freedom has been achieved by Mai putting himself on the line for her. Sooner or later the Majat Guild is bound to learn about his disobedience -- and act on it. This is the conflict that feeds the story in “The Guild of Assassins”. Of course, the Kaddim continue to play their part, trying to take advantage of this conflict to orchestrate the downfall of the entire Majat Guild.

2) Is the narrative still mostly from the viewpoint of 'Kythar' and 'Ellah' like the previous book, or do we get new narrators?

There is a major new narrator in the book: Kara. While previously it was important for me to keep out of her head to maintain an enigma around her character, with the way the story revolves around her in “The Guild of Assassins” I simply had to switch to her point of view. While previously she was shown only a superb fighter and a love interest (the fact that some readers actually complained about), in this book we finally get to learn what did she think about the whole situation and how she deals with it. I hope this will be rewarding to the readers who craved for her point of view in book 1.
Unfortunately, this shift means that Ellah has receded to a minor role in this book, but I hope to remedy that in the future installments of the series. Ellah is still very much in the picture, and her truthsense proves very important during the story.

3) Despite being somewhat in the shadows, Aghat Mai was one of the most interesting characters in the first book, so will he be more in the limelight in this book?

I am glad you asked! Mai is actually my favorite character in the series. It is strange for me now to think that he was originally conceived as no more than a plot device, a man who can pose a believable threat to Kara. He has become so much more. And yes, he does play a central role in “The Guild of Assassins” (as I hope is evident from the cover). In this book, he will show a range of different sides of his character, including some of the more ruthless and the more vulnerable ones. I hope it will be a treat for Mai’s fans.

4) As for 'Kythar', will we get to learn more about the his gift/ability?

Yes, of course. Kythar’s gift is still the main tool to defeat the Kaddim, and he still must develop it fully to do that. Moreover, defeating the Kaddim requires a combination of his gift with a Majat fighting force, and achieving it seems nearly impossible with the way the Majat never take sides and have now turned on their only two warriors capable of resisting the Kaddim mind control--Kara and Mai. Once again, the Kaddim’s mind games come into play to strike where they are least expected.
One of the fun aspects of writing “The Guild of Assassins” for me was to pitch Kyth against Mai. The two men are so opposite, and both are so important in the fight against the Kaddim. I had such a great time playing out this relationship in the book.

5) As I really liked the action bits and world building from the first book, tell us a bit about what more to expect in these regards?

More action, of course, and more world building. As the title suggests, this book will take us into the heart of the Majat Guild, and finally show some of the mysteries of this place not normally seen by outsiders. And, since Kara is now a major point of view character, the action around her rises to new heights--or so I hope.
Compared to the Blades, this book has more elements of romance too. While in the Blades we did have two major love interests, they both involved innocent teenagers and thus were more of the silent admiration and blushing type. Here the romance is more adult and thus revolves a bit more around physical aspects of it. I know some people were taken by surprise by romance in the previous book, so I just want to give the heads-up here and make sure the readers know what to expect.

6) So what's next for you, may I ask?

I am working on book 3 in the series. After that, we’ll see.

About 'The Guild of Assassins' -
Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!

But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.

But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

Expected to be published on 5th August, 2014.

About Anna Kashina -
Anna Kashina grew up in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994 after receiving her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She works as a biomedical researcher and combines career in science with her passion for writing.

Anna's interests in ballroom dancing, world mythologies and folklore feed her high-level interest in martial arts of the Majat warriors. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Awards: 2013 Silver Medalist, ForeWord Book of the Year. 2014 Silver Medalist, Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY).

Her links - Website, Facebook, Twitter

PS: Expect the review of the novel 'The Guild of Assassins' closer to the release date. You can check out her 'First Interview' and review of 'Blades of the Old Empire' 

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