Today we are excited to have a new author joining us for Pre-Pub Adventure and another authors who has her book out in the world!
Every third Friday of the month we follow authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wondered how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? What is publishing like? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.
Let’s welcome S. A. Chakraborty!
1. Welcome to the publishing adventure! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for having me! I have my official bio over here but in short, I’m the author of The City of Brass, a historical fantasy coming out this November from Harper Voyager. It’s my debut novel – and the first book I ever wrote! I got into writing fiction through my interest in history – it seemed a good way to put to use all the hours I spent pouring over manuscripts in Cairo and DC. I’m from the Jersey shore originally…
(yes, I know: I’ve heard all the jokes), and while I’m still proud to call it home, I’ve been living in New York for about ten years where I’ve found an excellent writing family in the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers. I have a toddler who keeps me on my toes, a husband whose brain I unabashedly pick for all the medical elements in my work, and three deeply lazy cats. In the little spare time I can cobble together, I like to run and read. Besides science fiction and fantasy, I have a soft spot for historical fiction; my favorite authors are Naguib Mahfouz and Amitav Ghosh.
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with The City Of Brass? The cover is gorgeous by the way!
Thank you! I was literally speechless when I first saw the cover!
The City of Brass is a historical fantasy that takes place in the 18th century about an Egyptian con artist who gets a bit more than she bargained for when one of her schemes ends up dragging her into a brewing magical war. It actually started not as a novel, but as sort of a passion project/exercise in world-building that I never intended to show a soul! I’m a big history buff and with The City of Brass I wanted to recreate some of the stunning worlds I’d read about while also exploring traditional beliefs about djinn. A bit contrary to Western lore, djinn are said to be intelligent beings similar to humans, created from smokeless fire and living unseen in our midst—a fascinating, albeit slightly frightening concept, this idea of creatures living silently among us, dispassionately watching the rise and fall of our various civilizations.
It’s also a concept that offers a great opportunity to imagine how djinn might have built their world, mimicking the ways of their human neighbors. So in The City of Brass, there’s a djinn version of Baghdad’s great library, filled with the ancient books humans have lost alongside powerful texts of magic; they battle with weapons from Achaemenid Persia (enhanced by fire of course); the medical traditions of famed scholars like Ibn Sina have been adapted to treat magical maladies; dancers conjure flowers while singing Mughal love songs; a court system based on the Zanzibar Sultanate deals justice to merchants who bewitch their competitors… not to mention a cityscape featuring everything from ziggurats and pyramids to minarets and stupas. I also pushed a little further with the idea of the unseen, imagining a world of enchanted creatures created from other elements passing through ours: marid raising rivers into great serpents, peris whipping the air into tornados, djinn conjuring maps of smoke and racing birds of fire. And then, of course, there’s scheming con artists, irritatingly handsome ancient warriors, and rebellious princes to round things out!
3. What is your writing quirk?
I’ve heard enough other authors confess to this to know I’m not alone, but I love writing to soundtracks. And not just any soundtracks, but the ridiculously over-the-top music for things like Pirates of Caribbean and Game of Thrones. And then, like, the orchestral re-mix version to make it even more epic. It just sets the mood!
Congrats to Kayla for the release of The Sandcastle Empire!
1. How does it feel to have your book out in the world?
It’s been so exciting to have The Sandcastle Empire out in the world—people have been so wonderfully supportive, friends and strangers alike, and it’s been fun seeing everyone’s reactions. I was on deadline for my second book at the same time my debut hit shelves, and while it was emotionally/physically taxing to flip between YAY DEBUT and ACK, MUST REVISE, it was incredibly encouraging to receive so many messages from friends and family who’d already finished the book and were ready for another one.
2. How has your book tour been going?
3. What’s next for you?
Oh man. It was like my own personal version of heaven. Books and people everywhere! I met SOME of my heroes/heroines (like as in more than three of them), did lots of fun author-y things like sign books and read aloud and sit on/moderate panels, went to fancy dinners and a fun party, spent some quality time with friends over food… it was incredible! Can’t wait to do it again one day (hopefully, lol!).
2. What’s it like going as an author and signing your book?
Surreal, I think would be the best word. I’m still blown away by the fact that I HAVE a book, so the fact that people are willing to stand in a line and wait for me to sign it was unreal. By the end of the second signing (I had THREE. What is even happening??) I’d perfected what I put in the book, so now I’m ready for the next round. **cracks knuckles**
3 .What was your favorite part?
Definitely the meeting-new-friends-and-connecting-with-people-I-only-knew-online part. Like I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers (Like CJ @sarcasmlemons, and Joey @afterthoughtAn, and Shelly @shellysrambles, and Mishma @chasingfaes, and Vee @findmereading–those are their Twitter handles and you should follow them all), some fellow debuts (Stephanie Garber, Chelsea Sedoti, Jeff Giles, Karina Yan Glasser, Jake Burt, as well as some 2018 debuts like Samira Ahmed), and some cool agents and editors (like Matt Ringler from Scholastic. Follow him [@doesntmattr] on Twitter, too. He’s hilarious!).
1. What have you been up to since last we checked in?