Thursday, 3 March 2011

Interview with Sasha Soren, Author of Random Magic

I am very thrilled that I can share my interview with Sasha Soren with you! Sasha, author of Random Magic (MY REVIEW) is a super kind and approachable person, and she was good enough to want to answer some of my questions. I am very happy with the way this interview turned out; it is very insightful and presents Sasha's novel and Sasha herself very well. Enjoy!

IRENA: Who is Sasha Soren? How would you describe yourself briefly?

SASHA: Probably as a seeker, explorer, creator - curious about many things,
like to learn, think new experiences are interesting, like to create
beauty for the world. Also appreciate these traits in others.

IRENA: Have you always wanted to become a published author? How did you decide that Random Magic should be a published story?

SASHA: Well, was always a writer. Sometimes people are just born with some particular interest or a particular gift, and it manifests itself
early on.

So, wasn’t a goal to become a published author, necessarily, just always happened to write. A lot. All the time.

Decided that Random Magic should be a published story because why not share a good experience? There’s so much that’s good in it. It’s like a passport to a more vivid,
magical world and readers are welcome to come along, if they like.

It’s a great escape, but, interestingly, it’s also become a sort of unexpected spark for creative, intelligent people.

Not sure if it’s because the Nine Muses are part of the story, or just because happen to have a particular fiery, bright and supportive energy when it comes to any creative art and that just comes through in the story, but the book seems to have a curious but consistent effect on readers.

When someone finishes the book, they’re suddenly reawakened to their own creativity and possibility, everyday magic. They reawaken, come to life again - and that’s just wonderful.

Had no idea it would have that effect, was basically just creating a fun, unusual story that someone could happily enjoy and get lost in for a few days.

The story also poses some questions about life, love and magic, but leaves the reader free to find their own answers. But that seems to be an interesting side effect. People spark to life after reading the book, and they start all kinds of creative projects. How cool!

Random Magic contains many fairy-tale and fantasy elements. Have you always been interested in the fantasy genre and in fairy-tales? And, do you have a favourite fairy-tale?

SASHA: Fantasy, not so much, but fairy tales, very possibly. Have always been interested in reading legends, myths, fairy tales – that’s probably obvious when someone reads the story. There are so many fun and quirky references to fairy tales and popular culture, just to make people smile.

Favorite fairy tale, hmmm. There are so many wonderful ancient tales, especially Slavic fairy tales, Nordic or Celtic fairy tales, they’re some of the most magical and mysterious.

There are also more contemporary – all right, if we can consider the 19th century to be ‘contemporary’ – stories that have a fairy tale quality, which are also interesting and enjoyable.

There are too many excellent fairy tales to be able to choose only one favorite; you can see from Random Magic that there are all
sorts of fairy tale characters blended in, maybe with a bit of a twist to make people laugh – Baba Yaga, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, and so on.

But one of the most memorable is Diamonds and Toads. This is a nice one because of its understanding about the power of words and the beauty and value of kindness:

The old woman wasn’t an old woman at all but a fairy. “You are not only very pretty, but also very kind…My gift to you is that every time you speak, either a flower or jewel will drop out of your mouth.”

IRENA: From where did you draw your inspiration for Random Magic? And, to elaborate on this question, I, personally, was very impressed by the Glass City. How did the Glass City come to be?

SASHA: Oh, from everywhere and nowhere. A lot of it just sort of streamed into my head, as if watching it unfold while standing in that world.

The Glass City was one of the places that just seemed to happen. I looked out from the ship (in the book, in that particular scene) and saw it, and knew the story about it.

IRENA: Random Magic is full of interesting, exotic and magical places. Would you visit any of the places you created or even live there?

SASHA: Yes, all of them! Even the spooky castle of the De Morgues, or Baba Yaga’s dangerous garden, or the Garden of the Nine Muses, or Callie’s home in the clouds.

IRENA: Are there traces of you in any of the characters?

SASHA: Yes, probably. It would be unusual for any kind of artist to create something which didn’t, in some way, reflect their personality.

Can be strong and silent, like Winnie. A lot of reviewers say she’s brave and courageous, and would agree with this, but mostly she just gets on with what needs to be done. She’s reserved and stoic. She’s also more than a bit sarcastic, when the occasion calls for it. That’s familiar territory.

Can be alight with bonhomie and a bit giddy, like Callie, very cheery and welcoming, a merry and generous host, a bit hedonistic. Her love of writing, writers, creativity, books – and her flights of fancy, all obvious shared characteristics.

Can be pensive and a little melancholy, like the De Morgues, or whimsical and affectionate, like Lady Witherspoon, or enigmatic and mysterious, like Professor Literati.

Can be demanding of myself, like Terpsichore, mellow and pleasant like Efterpe, or even a bit of a cheeky rascal, like Eros or dryly sardonic, like Baba Yaga.

Surreal and inspired humor makes me laugh like crazy, but, then, so does gallows humor. Yes, am all for light and color and magic, but also for quiet reflection and thoughtfulness and quiet bravery, and these are all reflected in the book in some way.

And, yes, can even be brilliant and ingenious yet completely vague, distracted and absent-minded, like Professor Random.

So, they’re all in there, somewhere.

IRENA: When you write, do you have any special rituals? How does your typical writing day look like?

SASHA: No particular rituals, although, unlike some writers, can’t work with music playing or any kind of noise. Prefer peace and quiet, or the words and images don’t take shape, as if they’ve been scared away until silence returns.

Are there any authors that you look up to?

Authors in general usually have my respect because it’s very difficult
to create and complete a book. You sacrifice a lot - it takes blood, sweat and tears and extraordinary dedication and focus.

Favorite authors tend not to be contemporary writers, though, for some reason have an attraction for literature a few centuries removed from our own.

IRENA: What, do you think, is the best thing about being a writer? What is your favourite part of this profession?

SASHA: The best thing about being a writer is that you’re never bored. For some reason, a lot of people say this all the time, they complain, ‘I’m bored.’ And then try to distract themselves with TV or social
events or whatever they happen to like.

Me, I’m never, ever bored. There’s always something interesting happening inside my head. It’s like an infinite cinema or library or laboratory, or all three wrapped up in one. Never a dull moment.

One of those odd birds who, you know, they might be stranded on a desert island and get a smoke signal message, we’re coming to rescue you. Rescue me from what? I’m at the carnival inside my head, having a splendid time. Wish you were here!

Actually, some people have commented that’s kind of what the book is like, in Technicolor.

And would like to say, in response that that cool compliment - thank you and glad it was such a wonderful experience, because that’s how it was meant to be. We all need a little magic. Even people who don’t think they require this unusual item in daily life. Maybe they need it more than anyone.

IRENA: What do you read in your free time? Do you have any favorite books and authors?

SASHA: Usually reading non-fiction, out of curiosity, to learn something interesting, or to check on some detail, some information used in a book, mostly traditional symbolism, or to fact-check some particular bit of information.

Favorite books and authors – don’t have any in particular, tend to read voraciously and widely. Nearly everything interests me.

The only genre that really isn’t terribly appealing, purely for leisure reading, anyway, would be Westerns, romances, or anything too tied to the real world.

Political thrillers, for example. Family dramas, romances which aren’t fresh or quirky or offbeat in some way or where nothing really happens.

Take me somewhere else, you know? Someplace a little strange, with some odd characters, where everything’s vivid and unexpected things might happen at any moment. Grab a compass and away we go.

Not all that keen on anything based on a true story, either, because would rather read the source materials for the true story and translate the details in my own way.

Fiction based on the real world doesn’t have the same attraction as something offbeat, wild or imaginative. Too much of the same thing, or the expected thing, doesn’t really hold my attention very well.

Definitely prefer imaginative journeys, inventiveness, exceptional stories, something unusual and slightly off-kilter, or something that doesn’t tell us what happened so much as it reflects on who we are.

There are all kinds of art forms out there, and many of these are so beautiful you can only admire them and wish you’d been the one to create it. A film, a book, a work of art, a song.

There’s a lot of ugliness in the world, but also a lot of beauty. There are destroyers, but there are creators.

And it’s always been that way, since humanity began. Cave paintings, for example. Shards of pottery. Lost cities. Unearthed, rediscovered master works of painting, sculpture, literature. Even someone making something with scissors and a bit of felt.

It’s not the material that’s important, it’s the vision that drives it. Usually appreciate it when someone sees beauty that no one else can see, yet, and if they can manifest it, will also enjoy it and be lost in admiration and grateful for the gift.

So, tend to seek out things that are different or unusual or inspired or beautiful or unique in some way, and this is true in reading tastes, also.

But everyone to their own tastes, whatever makes you happy - that’s important and everyone finds it in their own way.

If solid familiarity makes someone feel good, and it’s an enjoyable and comforting reading experience, then I’m happy for them.

IRENA: Do you have any new writing project(s) in mind for the future? If so, could you tell us a bit about them?

SASHA: Yes, always, although so busy with tours and other events for Random Magic, there really is no writing time available for the moment.

Always thinking about something, though, so you’ll never know what to expect, really.

If you’d like to be the first to know, please feel free to come and spend some time at @RandomMagicTour, since anything new will most likely be shared there, first – of course, it’s also a cool, magical and mellow place, too.

Interesting, nice people will always feel welcome there, and hopefully enjoy themselves.

If you’ve read the book and would like to continue on the journey on a tour or event or would just like to spend some time relaxing there and seeing what’s new, please feel free to visit, and see you around!

Also, should like to say that on this blog (This Miss Loves to Read), there are some interesting and thoughtful features and memes and you’ll have fun exploring the blog. Glad to be asked to be interviewed on such a delightful blog and to pass a pleasant hour chatting away with its charming proprietor. Thank you, and have a great day, everyone!

If you haven’t read the book and are just curious, feel free to browse the trailer, if you like:

Book trailer: Random Magic

You can also find a copy of the book here: Amazon|Kindle version

IRENA: Sasha, thank you ever so much for this wonderful interview and for complimenting my blog!

I hope you have been persuaded to buy and read Random Magic by Sasha Soren!


Jo K said...

Fantastic interview! Now, Random Magic seems even more interesting, can't wait to read it.

Oh, and I can very much relate to never being bored, I've always have some other world beside the real one in my mind, so there's always something "happening" in my mind, too.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Great interview-it's always cool to see the influences of other stories (especially fairy tales!) on a book.

Blodeuedd said...

Great interview :D
I would love to be able to write funny stuff like this, but alas no, I lost my funny bone

Jan von Harz said...

Lovely interview, I have seen the cover for Rough Magic and now am very excited about reading it. I love all the elements combined in the story and think it will be a very fun read.

Misha said...

Loved the interview! It was fun to read about the author's influences. I love books inspired by fairy tales.