What inspired you to become an author?
I developed a strong love of reading when very young, maybe 6 or 7 years old. It wasn’t unusual to see the first rays of morning sunlight peeking through my window before I would put a good book down. Later on in life, I owned and ran a small used bookstore, and it was then that the desire to write began to grow inside of me. It wasn’t until I became friends with a successful author in another genre, that my budding dream became a reality. This author saw some of my writing and encouraged me to continue.
Do you write in different genres?
You know, I don’t. Although, this is something I have given thought to, and it will probably happen sometime in the future.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is what happens, while we’re busy making other plans. We are all human, and sometimes this path called ‘Life’ takes us to unexpected places. We make mistakes, and it is better to learn how to flow with them as best we can, always keeping a smile on our face and a song in our heart.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
Illadari is based loosely off of someone I know who is a great inspiration to me. I believe every author draws in great part from his own experiences, at least on a human level. I have traveled the entire western half of the country and spent some time in Italy, so I believe when describing places and landscape, I do draw at least something from the different places I’ve visited.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Within the realms of fantasy fiction, I would have to say my three greatest influences are Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfus. The author most influential in my life has to be Tolkien. His books are where it all began for me, and so I thank him.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would most likely choose either Brandon Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss, although Brent Weeks is definitely an influence
What book are you reading now?
Night Angel Trilogy – For the second time
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
I also have eight indie books I am hoping to read and review soon.
What books are in your to read pile?
Oathbringer, by Sanderson - Doors of Stone, by Rothfuss – Red Sister, by Lawrence.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
Currently, I am busying myself with Fate of Belstrom, the sequel to Mark of Destiny. I also am working on a YA steampunk novel in its infancy stage.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is a sneak peak. If you notice any errors, forgive me, this is my first draft.
Thick sheets of frost covered the flattened rooftops along the merchant’s quarter in Ashengale the capital city of Belstrom. The weather had been acting strangely as of late, and the city had even witnessed snow for the first time since the Magi Wars. The gods must be crazy, Rydon thought, dashing to the edge of the building and leaping the alleyway to land in a slide on the adjacent building’s roof. Slippery surfaces and the cold weather definitely made it more difficult to ply his trade.
Recovering from the jump, he reached into the inner pocket of his worn checkered coat and pulled out a woolen cap he had stolen early in the day. Pressing it down on top of his curly black hair, he took in his surroundings. There it was. His target stood just beyond the next alleyway. It teased him, making him want to rush in quickly, but he knew better. Years of surviving on the streets of the great city had taught him many things, and he always followed his self-imposed rules. Caution was his first rule.
Calming his adolescent mind, Rydon moved forward taking quiet, measured steps, till he reached the two-story drop to the alleyway below. Gazing across he could see that all was quiet in the medium-sized brick building. There were no lights in either the storefront downstairs or the living quarters above. It was the home and business of Garric the money changer. Rydon couldn’t believe his luck when he had inadvertently realized that the successful money changer was almost deaf. A secret like that was worth a month’s wages.
Backing up, he gauged the distance. The alleyway ahead was wider than the last, and he would have to get a good run at it to make the leap. Pausing to prepare himself, he brought his hands up to his face trying to breathe some warmth back into them. He could see his breath. This was getting ridiculous.
Rydon began to run. His feet were having trouble keeping traction with the roof, as he neared the ledge. Passing the point where there could be no turning aside, he steeled his will, and with a mighty push of his legs, he sent himself flying through the air. His stomach connected with the ledge of the building first, instantly knocking the wind free of his lungs. Hanging there, dangling next to the bricks, he wanted to curl up and die. This was definitely going to leave a bruise. Despite his weakened grip, Rydon held as tightly as he could to the inner lip of the ledge. Fortunately, it was enough to hold him in place until he regained his breath and waited for movement to return to his limbs.
Pulling himself up, he rolled his body over and lay there panting. This was a bad beginning, but he didn’t really believe in omens, so what the hell. He was already here, might as well give it a try. Crawling to the edge of the building he peered down the side facing the alleyway, checking to see if his jarring impact had woke the money changer. No lights, good.
He had scouted out the building earlier just after the shop had closed. Garric had been visible through the alley window as he retired to his room. That left the rear window; it was where he would enter. The job would be next to impossible to pull off if the man could hear, but aware of the money changer’s weakness, Rydon had brought along some tools to help pull off the heist.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
Just for fun - If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
It would have to be a dragon. No one messes with a dragon. Besides air travel is expensive and I love to travel!
Mark of Destiny
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Branch Publishing
Date of Publication: 03/02/2017
Number of pages: 403
Word Count: 82,331
Cover Artist: T.K. Chapin
Her destiny will change the world forever.
Belstrom—an ancient and mystical land where the Curo Wizards rule and life is cheap.
Tizrah—a lowly armory brat who dreams of one day becoming a warrior but fate has other plans.
Korlin—a recent graduate of the High Wizard’s School of Curogath is tasked with an assignment to eradicate a lost magic system that threatens the very stability of Belstrom. Mark of Destiny weaves together the threads of a captivating fantasy adventure, while remaining epic in scope, and modern in its originality.
About the Author:
AZRAEL JAMES fell in love with Tolkien at the age of twelve leading to a life-long love of fantasy fiction. Writing stories that capture the imagination, James invites readers into a world where magic rules and ordinary life is forgotten. When not spinning tales, James teaches guitar to underprivileged fairy folk. He believes music and love are what binds all life together.
Three lucky winners will win a signed copy of Mark of Destiny in paperback.
Drawing will be held on April 18th.
Exclusive Giveaway, enter to win http://giveaway.azraeljames.com/