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- Special Discussion Leader
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- Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
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- Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
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- Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
- Latest Review: The Monster Hotel by Susan and Mark Kibbe
To view the first in the series, The Undying Queen of Ur, click here.
To view the second in the series, The World Without Arkhalla, click here.
To view the interview with co-author Arahom Radjah, click here.
1. Arkahalla’s Trilogy is co-authored by you as well as Arahom Radjah. What is your role in the writing process?
What I do in essence is take the basic plot, scene summaries, dialogue excerpts and ideas that Arahom gives me each time, streamline them into an outline of characters, scenes and chapters that he then reviews, and after we discuss changes, I go on to write the book. Then we have another round of amendments, discussions and corrections, and I implement those to deliver a final draft he is satisfied with. If it sounds like an elaborate process, it is – but it is also one that seems to work for us down the line, which is all that matters.
2. In writing the story together, is there ever a time that the two of you don't agree? Who gets the final say?
We disagree much less now than in earlier days. We do argue different points of view on the plot and the characters, which is healthy for the book, because it becomes the result of a collaborative thought process rather than a single ego. That said, the final word is Arahom’s, as it should be. We collaborate well, but we are not writing partners. I would not write a work like the trilogy on my own, neither would I write it this way – my stuff is very different. My job is to realize Arahom’s vision, to put his ideas on paper. That I try to do as well as I can and put as much of myself into it as it will help produce the best result. If readers like it, if Arahom feels it represents him, then my job is done.
3. The books both seem to be well-edited with few grammatical errors. Would you tell us a bit about the editing process of the book?
We each go through each draft multiple times. It’s just something we need to do. And even then, we may never get them all. It’s the curse of editing!
4. The second book in the series, The World Without Arkhalla, has just been reviewed and received a 4 star rating. Can you discuss a bit about this book and where it picks up from the first book, The Undying
Queen of Ur?
On the one hand, it picks up immediately after the first book ends. Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read that, but Arkhalla is dead, her kingdom is on the verge of both a revolution and a civil war, and Shamath has been living a quiet life with the memory of his dead beloved. We go on from there to detail what happens next, to the surviving characters, to the realm of Ur, and to the world shaken to its core by the consequences of Arkhalla’s demise. On the other hand, just starting from how the first book ended, this continuation expands and broadens our world, our scope, our focus. We move from the tragic love story of the first book to an epic adventure tale in times of war, we have a fuller look into a universe of story. But this is not random development or franchise building. This is basically us following the characters into their journey. This is where Shamath grows into a hero – and we see what that means to him. This is where Bel and Narama are fully realized as characters with their own tragic origins and deep reasons for what they do. The story comes out of the characters and their choices, not vice versa. Our hope is that the book is different from the first one, yet just as exciting.
5. How did writing the second novel compare with writing the first?
There have been a lot of drafts done of that first story, simply because the story and the characters were still coalescing in Arahom’s mind and the overall plan of Arkhalla’s universe hadn’t settled in the shape it’s taken now. That meant that the second book felt easier in a way, because now the characters and the scheme of things were there. On the other hand, this was a more expansive book, split into further points of view, and an epic to boot, so that part was harder to pin down.
6. One of the things that the reviewer, @KristyKhem, discusses is the realism of the battle scenes and war strategies. What goes into making these scenes so life-like?
Thought, research and sweat, primarily – which is what makes any part of any book, but here is the thing. A war story is never just a war story. It’s a story about people caught up in a war. That’s the tenet of every war and battle worth its salt from The Iliad to War and Peace to Saving Private Ryan. So if these scenes are lifelike – and thank you for saying so – it’s half because I checked my facts and read my books and tried my damnedest to put the readers inside a battle, right? But the other half is making sure this didn’t happen like in a history book, but that it happened to people we care about.
7. Are any of your characters based off of real people - living or historical?
Not in these stories, no. There are echoes and hints of real people, like Nimrod, who, like his biblical counterpart, is partly based on Sargon of Akkad. But it’s no more than hints. All I try to do is make these people feel real. If it works, job well done.
8. Can you give us a few hints about what the next book in the novel might entail?
The next book builds up on the threads already there at the end of World Without Arkhalla. We will see what happens after the fall of Ur, we will catch up with Narama and Bel as fugitives in an exciting, dangerous new realm – Egypt – and we will follow Shamath on a quest that will bring him face to face with the demon Asag at last, with the ultimate prize at stake. And yes, Arkhalla will be there. This is the big one.
9. Are these books going to all be connected or are any of them able to work as a stand alone novel?
Each book tells multiple stories, as many as its characters, as well as one larger story that unites them all, complete. However, the three books connect into a tapestry, an epic story, and you’d need to start at the beginning and work your way through each chapter to discover the complete vision. This is a saga, a cycle. We plan to extend this beyond just a trilogy, and hope to have you all along for the ride.
10. Out of the three novels that are currently written or in production, do you have a favorite scene to write? Or even a favorite scene that you enjoy reading?
Too many to count, and they get blurred after a while. But I admit I have a soft spot for the chapter when the princess Aisyah wanders the field of battle after a very costly victory. That stood out. It was when I saw how I could write a war story and make something worthwhile out of it.
11. If anyone wanted more information, do you have a website that promotes the books or an author page?
Any and all info on the books can be found either on https://arhcomix.com/ or on https://www.facebook.com/ARHStudios/. Thank you and your readers for your interest!
-Louisa May Alcott
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When we get to the second book, we are eager to see the aftermath of Arkhalla and Shamath’s ill-fated love story, but we are denied that just like Shamath was denied being with her for the twenty years time span of the second book.
Like Abraham mentioned above, this was necessary, so Shamath could grow into what he became and for what he will face in the third book. He went from an innocent young man, slave to a tyrannical Queen, into humanity’s hero, a man capable of storming the gates of Hell and facing the god of the Underworld. The second book is all about the character’s arc and his journey.
The pay off in the third book makes it all worth, the agony, the frustrations, and the sadness we all felt going through the second book as we experience these characters development and travel along with them into their magical universe.