|I love bats! They are cute, even when they look a bit scary!|
6th October 2016, Scholastic, 336 pages, Paperback,
Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.
Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23510089-shadow-magic
This didn't look my kind of read right now, but it's a type that I've read in the past and thought you all might like a look at. So it's with great pleasure I can share the details of the book and Joshua's insight into the positive points about writing novels!
Also apologies this was supposed to be up at 9am - needing my strong pain meds on Sunday meant it completely slipped my mind to preschedule it, and it took me all day to gain enough energy to post it. Better late than never!
Five fave things about being a writer by Joshua Khan
Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.
*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.
In no particular order:
Earning a living out of storytelling. You sit down. Have an idea. You pull it, push it, squeeze it and bit by bit that idea grows, goes in directions you never expected and comes to life. Scratchings on paper, taps on the keyboard become characters, people with hopes and dreams (and nightmares) that weave their way into the world. You’ll meet readers who’ll believe in these characters, who’ll feel them as real and as close as any friend, will cheer at their victories and cry at their failures. Then there is the world building itself, which is an extension of what you feel you have to say about the time and place you live in. SHADOW MAGIC may have zombies and giant bats but the idea behind it comes from the education of girls in the third world. Why is half the population denied its chance to help? The sequel, DREAM MAGIC, is inspired by the current refugee crisis. These things are on my mind, and by writing I’m able, in a way, to explain it to myself, and hopefully inform others without being preachy! And I get paid to make all this happen.
That’s a pretty damn awesome job to have.
Being around the kids as they grow up. One of the biggest perks was working from home. No more daily commutes, no more weary days at the office. My career as a full time author began the same year by youngest started primary school. I took her there on her first day. There have been packed lunches, forgotten PE kits, surprise trips and homework tears and triumphs and I would have missed that if I’m stayed an engineer, out before breakfast and home after supper. Both kids are now in secondary school and that routine continues, it’s brilliant. And that also goes for the school holidays. I work during the half-terms but take August off. There have been plenty of brilliant days down at the lido with the other parents, and picnics and the odd camping trip. You can never get time back and I’m very grateful (and lucky) that I’ve been able to spend so much of it with the children.
The company. One of the big deals about becoming a writer was meeting my heroes. It’s still weird. I’m on a panel next month in Boston with Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, Jonathan Stroud. I adore these guys! Then I’m in Lucca on a panel about world building with Philip Reeve and Terry Brooks. Equally insane. It feels surreal. Hopefully I won’t just gibber like a kid.
I came out of engineering with not a single writer friend. Then you are dropped into a world where there’s Salman Rushdie at the canapes and you have a quick chat with Michael Bond, the guy who created Paddington (very quick, he is really old).
On the day to day level there are chums who I see regularly, and what’s better than chatting books with people who write them?
Endless working in cafes and people watching. It can get pretty boring being at home all the time. Then I pack up my laptop and head out. Most cafes nowadays have evolved into workstations for freelancers. They’ve power sockets and wi-fi and a no rush policy. As long as you’re buying the odd drink or muffin, all’s good. I spent months in the old Foyles café. I loved the wobbly stools and uneven tables and the whole vibe. And I’d watch. Students would come in. Old friends would meet. Shoppers taking a break. Other writers would park up. It’s great to watch the world go by for a bit. I do use Costa Coffee too, but the franchises don’t have the same feel. More suits passing through than out-of-work actors writing a screenplay. But their lemon muffin is the BEST.
Seeing the book. Don’t you love that new book smell? Well, it’s a thousand times more powerful when you open up a box of books with your name on it. Seeing it on the shelves is pretty nice too.
It feels like ages from the moment you get the deal to the moment you have a copy in your hands. But each step was worth it. The edits, the roughs for the covers, the discussions with the editor and festivals and school visits. All quite magical. The school visits are important. I really feel this is the age you make readers, that they are looking for that book they’ll remember forever. Mine’s The Hobbit so I think that’s why I write what I do. I’m trying to capture, in my own clumsy way, the otherworldly magic of the book about Bilbo. That goes back to my first item, the storytelling. It is magic, and being able to make magic is an extraordinary privilege.
Nayu: Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, including today's which is with a fellow book blogger who I know: YA Yeah Yeah!