Author Interview – Readers Magnet
What is your book all about?
The Jade Talisman follows the adventures of a small group of rebels who have decided to wage a war against their oppressive rulers, the AI Masters. The action unfolds after the rebels have commandeered a vessel transporting dissident captives out of the the Empire of Khalendar. They arrive on a distant, isolated island named Vei’arash. While it has a terrible reputation on the mainland, known as the home to corrupt demons and shamans, the rebels discover that it is a beautiful, lush paradise filled with a vast array of botanical treasures and enchanted animal spirits. The rebels’ goal is to ally themselves with these spirits so that they can bring them back to the mainland to aid in the war against the AI Masters.
The protagonist of the novel is Walter, a sensitive young man with gifts for computer coding and languages. In Vei’arash he and his friends encounter a village where they acquire ancient knowledge and wisdom and have serendipitous meetings with the animal spirits. Walter forms a deep connection with a stag, while others find other creatures which magnify and compliment their personality traits.
It is also in Vei’arash that Walter receives a powerful gift, the Jade Talisman, from a divine entity. This gift allows him to see multiple possible versions of the future in visions that unfold before him. The Talisman proves to be both a blessing, and a curse, as the visions reveal many frightening events involving Walter and his loved ones. Although Walter longs for an ordinary life without the burdens of the Talisman, there is no going back to the way things used to be, and his world will never be the same again.
What inspired you to write the book?
The book is the second installment in a trilogy called The Jade Chronicles. I was inspired to write this trilogy by several different influences. I think that music was a big one since I first conceived of ideas for the books while riding on the bus and listening to music – songs about romance, escape, and exile from the place you once called home. I’m a History major, and I’ve always been fascinated by the concepts of space, place, and migration. What does it mean to have a home? Is it a physical place, or a spiritual one? Is it a place we feel safe and supported in, and have the freedom to express ourselves?
These themes come up very often in my novels. Walter commits a crime amounting to treason in the first book, and then leaves the city he grew up in to join a band of dissidents camping in the forest. He feels at home with these outcasts, and he comes to understand his true power and purpose by spending time with them, training and preparing for battle. But even though he feels like he’s found his purpose in fighting against the AI Masters, there’s a part of him, deep down inside that feels powerfully connected to the AI Masters at the same time.
In my own experience living in a modern city in North America, I sometimes get the feeling that there’s something missing in my life, like my true home is outside of the city. I think it has a lot to do with our disconnect from nature. We feel so comfortable with technology, almost like it is an extension of our true selves, but it also acts as a barrier separating us from reality. But I also think “home” is a state of mind, as well. If we can do our best to nurture those inner yearnings, not just for technology but also for nature and for community, and foster them in our daily lives, then we can perhaps create a place that truly feels like home.
What is your target audience for the book?
I had to choose a specific demographic it would probably be young adult readers who enjoy science-fiction, fantasy, and dystopian literature.
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
In my mind, books are a lot like paintings – depending on our own perspectives and subjective experiences, we each interpret them in a unique way. However, I hope that my book inspires readers to consider a non-anthropocentric perspective, and how we could benefit from learning from the natural world the way many indigenous cultures do. A recurring theme in my novel is transformation, and I feel like that is something everyone can do by observing and spending more time in nature. We can learn so much and become better humans by simply watching animals go about their lives, and that should inspire us to preserve them and the ecosystems they call home.
I also hope the novel inspires readers to consider the ethical implications of the technologies we all use. Are we using technology to oppress, subdue, and control, or to lift up ourselves and each other?
What are your future goals/ plans for the book?
I am currently working on drafting the third installment of the trilogy, The Jade Labyrinth. I am hoping that once the trilogy is over, I can focus more on marketing the trilogy as a whole through sites like the Author’s Lounge and expanding its readership. I’m planning to feature soon in a short film interview about my publishing business and my novels. I even have a potential movie deal in the works! But for now, I’m just mostly focusing on writing, which is for me the most enjoyable part of the process.
And something more about yourself.
I am obsessed with Egypt. I wrote a poem about Egypt when I was 11 that was published by the Poetry Institute of Canada, and as a child I spent countless hours studying ancient Egypt and its traditions. I’m currently maintaining my obsession with the country by practicing belly-dance. I’ve never been there, but a trip to the Great Pyramids is definitely on my to-do list.