[Anna Kashina] A self-questioning over-committed dreamer.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?
[Anna Kashina] “The Guild of Assassins” is an adventure fantasy featuring the elite Majat warriors, best described in present day terms as ninjas in a medieval European setting. This is book 2 in the Majat Code series, but I hope it can be read as a stand alone. In addition to fast-paced action, this book also has strong elements of romance.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Anna Kashina] In a way, when I wrote this book, it all came to me on its own. The overall concept that always fascinated me was the idea of extreme power confined by very strict outside circumstances. In the case of the Majat warriors, their deadly fighting skill comes at a price of absolute obedience to the code of their guild. And then, you throw real people into this situation, with passions, desires, and a strong sense of honor, and watch it all go awry.
In my story, the two central characters are Kara and Mai, both of them top-ranked Majat warriors. Kara has acted on her honor and disobeyed her guild, earning a death warrant. Mai had been sent after her, but at the critical moment he chose to spare her life. Now Mai has to pay for what he has done, and Kara is determined to interfere and draw the heat away from him. Of course, all this is bound to trigger some feelings on both sides. I just loved playing it out.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Anna Kashina] I have to shamefully confess that in this book I enjoyed writing the romance, and the ensuing tension between the characters. There is a love triangle between the three main characters, which infuses all their interactions with so much feeling that the air tended to crackle in the room as I wrote. I could not wait to get to writing every day, and finished the first draft in less than a month. To me, the whole book was driven by these feelings. I only hope I managed to convey some of them to the readers.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?
[Anna Kashina] The fact that some of the relationships were bound to end up badly, as is inevitable for a love triangle. Kara must choose between two men who are very different from each other. I felt very bad for the one who ended up alone.
I went with the characters when I wrote the book, so until very late in the story I kept wondering if things will resolve differently, but in the end I felt everything happened the only way it could possibly have gone. This, in itself, was gratifying.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Anna Kashina] I am not good at theme songs. I have to say, however, that even though I don’t normally write to music, a lot of this novel was written to the soundtrack of “Totem” by Cirque du Soleil. A lot of that music combines middle eastern build with ethnic rhythms, and is made for very fast action. It was perfect for the mood of the story.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Anna Kashina] My purse? OK, that envelops a whole bunch of things. In these days, probably my cell phone would be one, closely followed by my Kindle.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Anna Kashina] A pen, a note pad, and a flash drive. These were first the first three out of many, my desk tends to get messy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Anna Kashina] My all-time favorite fantasy author is Terry Pratchett, so I would love to be in his head for one day and get a glimpse of where all this beautiful writing comes from.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Anna Kashina] One of my favorite recent books is N. K. Jemisin’s “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms”. More recently I enjoyed the “Hearts and Thrones” trilogy by Amy Raby and “The Assassin’s Curse” duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Anna Kashina] Reading, when I am not too tired. When I am tired I like watching adventure movies or playing computer games. Sadly, not much time for those.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Anna Kashina] I have a blog at http://www.annakashina.com
I am also on Facebook and Twitter:
Please stop by. I love to hear from readers at all times on any topics!
The Guild of Assassins
Majat Code #2
By: Anna Kashina
Releasing Aug 5th, 2014
Kara, an elite warrior from the Majat Guild, has escaped execution and 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.
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 ploy sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?
Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_7.html
The prequel, The Majat Testing, is FREE!
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 is a recent medalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year and Independent Publishers Book Award contests.
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print copy of BLADES OF THE OLD EMPIRE and THE GUILD OF ASSASSINS (US Only))