Why did you become an author?
REZA: I really didn’t have a defining moment as such, just a gradual inclination to write. I have an entrepreneurial background so writing was not something I had great aspirations toward until I lost everything around four years ago. At that moment, I felt my whole world had come crashing down on me. I subsequently realized that although I was correct in feeling that way, I had also been purged of things that held me back from pursuing what my heart really desired. I developed this insatiable desire to write and I have never stopped since.
MAY: I’m sorry to hear about your business. It’s never easy when our plans or lifestyles come undone, and we are stuck trying to pick up the pieces. My journey to becoming an author was also a bit strange. I kept changing from one thing to the other, fell sick, and then fell into writing. Since then, I don’t regret choosing this path. It is something I am grateful for.
On your publishing journey, what were the good and the bad things?
REZA: I never realized how the path to getting published was fraught with dangers (both to your sanity and your budget). I initially sought to query agents, an extremely succinct query letter to as many agents (genre specific) as you could find, should eventually get you published. Numerous individuals gladly offered their advice for free but promised with a bit more of your cash, they would provide names and email addresses of literary agents who are practically waiting to sign you up. ‘Expect many rejections but keep querying’, a universal caveat that eventually did for me. I could not handle being rejected by every Tom, Dick and his dog.
So, after much deliberation, I decided to self-publish. Assuming that I had been emancipated from predators because all the self-publishers had a vested interest in selling my book as they only paid me a commission (so it would be in their interests to sell). Well, it turned out quite the contrary. Self-publishing businesses, there are some exceptions here, are money hungry, bloodsuckers who have little or no desire to sell any books they publish on behalf of their authors. Luckily, I researched them before contemplating investing and had I been suitably unimpressed by the wave of complaints their own authors posted on various sites.
Eventually, I did it all by myself and found that I accomplished all that I needed and without relying on empty promises (and pockets).
MAY: It can be challenging to find a good publisher, especially when you are new to the industry. I know some authors who like their publishers and loathe the idea of having to market their books and some who consider going indie the second their contract ends. There are also many authors who are going hybrid (being traditionally and self-published). It takes a lot of work to get it right, whichever path you choose.
In under five words, describe your personality.
REZA: Respectful, curious, trusting, creative, engaging.
Gold or Silver?
REZA: Gold (of course, was there even consideration?)
MAY: So, no silver to deter vampires?
You are teleported into your favourite TV show to help the main characters reach their goal. What TV show would you join and what goal would you be striving for?
REZA: Game of Thrones, I would love to have a conversation with Tyrion Lannister. The character reflects the genius of George R Martin. His is flawed to the hilt, grotesquely disfigured, physically impaired (a dwarf with one leg shorter than the other), yet he still manages to remain the most popular character of the show. He is a manifestation of our fears and insecurities but his constant ability to defeat the odds with pure intellectual deftness is inspiring to anyone.
MAY: If I got to pick, I’d go with Dr Who and trying to save Earth from imminent danger. One can never have too much fun with the Doctor.
If you could change one thing about the world, what do you think you’d change?
REZA: I wish people would trust love for their fellow mankind and for the animals that co-exist with us. People have become increasingly inclined to revert to their worst impulses when faced with humanitarian issues. This is completely the wrong attitude and reverses the golden strides humanity has made in progressing toward global conscience, which calls out those who are oppressive and abusive. This is being undermined and threatened by nefarious individuals who aim to undo the good that exists in the world.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
REZA: Listen to the voice within, it will guide you through your journey. As a writer, I absolutely love to write. I feel the emotion of within the story, I physically shed tears that characters would have when they face the challenges that present themselves, I vicariously live in the world that I create, and I have come to realize that there is no better place for me to be at than the one that I created. I always say, “The imagination is the playground of the soul.” Many writers have felt exactly this way. When you write, live the story, love the journey. That is what I find most rewarding. I have no expectation of creating the next great bestseller, just a desire for as many people as possible to love my work.
MAY: You’ve given great advice, Reza! Since I published my first book, I’ve come to accept that there will be people who love our work and those who will hate it. Accepting this is important when bad reviews pop up on our work. Some authors I know avoid looking at their reviews just to stay sane.
What does your writing process entail?
REZA: Firstly, I get overwhelmed by a grand idea. This idea evolves in my mind for some time until I find a coherent form and structure to create an engaging story. There will always be a premise, an idea that holds all the branching threads together. Then I create each character, understanding them as individuals, defining their likes, preferences, motives, demeanours, personalities, manner of speaking, etc. I then create the story, like a detailed synopsis of the various chapters. Thereafter, I begin writing, one chapter at a time, with a specific objective on exactly what the story arch should be.
MAY: I used to be a plotter, too. I have notebooks filled with handwritten outlines for the first three books of Helena Hawthorn series. No matter how hard I tried to stick to the plot I’ve planned, my characters just dismissed it and went on to say or do whatever they pleased. It makes for an interesting adventure, but it is also frustrating when I don’t know what will happen two chapters from now.
Upcoming releases and projects?
REZA: I am currently completing the process described above for a lovely new story I created. I intend writing within the next month or two (or three), I am in no hurry and that allowed the story to evolve perfectly. I will let you in on my grand idea on this story.
Six years ago, a tragedy struck a team of scientists working on a project to create interstellar travel. The team leaders, Kelly Hunter and John Carter, were adorable and inseparable, having been together since sixth grade and finding themselves hopelessly in love. John has a photographic memory and was considered a genius at school. Kelly was exceptionally intelligent and used John’s gifts as an accessory whilst they worked together. Everything seemed perfect until something went wrong and the spaceship, The Andromeda, they created mysteriously launched into a dimensional gateway and disappeared with a team member, Edward (Eddie) Grant, on board. John took the blame for everything (ironically to protect Kelly), leading to him being criminally charged and separated from Kelly.
Now, the mysterious detection of gravity waves leads NASA and the government to appoint a team of specialists to investigate. Kelly is the head scientist for interstellar travel at NASA, a seemingly high flying career woman, but she is broken on the inside. She has been estranged from John since the event and they both long for each other, even if their pride had prevented either of them from attempting any form of reconciliation. Now John is summoned to join Kelly and a team to investigate the strange phenomenon. Soon, they realize the waves are actually the prelude to the return of The Andromeda that travelled through a dimensional gateway further than anyone could have imagined. It travelled beyond the reaches of the universe, into a world of creation and another of complete darkness and destruction. Worst still, The Andromeda returned with four seemingly deranged beings that are brutally killing anyone they come into contact with. One of these beings could be Eddie.
So, join John and Kelly as they fight sinister forces that threaten our very existence and simultaneously learn how important they are to each other, how their worlds are co-dependent and how much they willing sacrifice for their love.
Here’s a blurb for Reza’s book, Blood of your blood.
Fifteenth Century England, the knights of King Henry face a brutal war. By day – they fight a violent rebellion, by night – they fight a surreptitious war with a clan of vampires that infiltrated their society.
In this dark and savage world, there lives a brave knight. He is the most skillful fighter and the most courageous knight in all the land. But then his world turns on its head when he meets a beautiful princess that is hunted by an evil adversary. He vows to protect her, but she has a dark secret. Within her secret, lies a mysterious world, a world that holds the answers to his past, a world that foretells of his extraordinary destiny.
Escape into the dark world of Blood Of Your Blood. It will captivate, mesmerize and enchant you.
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