Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Arshad Ahsanuddin – I met Arshad at Rainbow Con – he does the amazing Pact Arcanum, which he’s in the process of translating into graphic novel format.
Thanks so much, Arshad, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Arshad Ahsanuddin: Sci-Fi and Fantasy with Gay Romance,
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
AA: It started out ten years ago as a thought experiment based on Buffyt he Vampire Slayer: what if a slayer was turned into a vampire, but retained his soul and didn’t become evil? How would his former allies respond to his transformation? Then I added new parameters to the exercise: What if there was a cure for vampirism? How would this affect the dynamic of the slayer/vampire war? What if there were many slayers, male and female? What would vampires and slayers be able to achieve if they stopped fighting each other and started working together? I played with it in my head for years, adding and subtracting various SFF tropes. Then vampires became popular again, and I decided, on a lark, to try and write it down. As practice, you understand, in preparation for the fantasy novel I always meant to write. 186,000 words later, I came up for air and had this monster of a manuscript on my hands. After a year of editing and rewrites, that original text morphed into my first two published books, Sunset and Sunrise.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
AA: I outline everything in advance, as a graphical flowchart, all the way down to the scene level, and then start writing. If my writing goes off in a tangent, then I redo the outline. Repeat.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
AA: I have an entirely inappropriate fanboy crush on Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys.
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
AA: It was probably Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein.
It helped crystallize in my mind the difference between internal and external dialogue, as the main character converses with his space suit alter ego.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
AA: A high-performance gaming computer, a solar powered generator to power it, and a complete suite of Bioware and Bethesda games.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
AA: Kill: Gifford (Interscission Project). Because he’s an obnoxious and egotistical shit with daddy issues.
Fuck: Ruarc (Pact Arcanum). Because he’s smart, funny, and romantic, and he has some serious bedroom chops by all accounts.
Marry: Marty (Interscission). Because he’s not as oblivious and self-involved as Nick, and still a strong, loyal, and honorable man with a dash of the romantic rogue.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
AA: I graph my word count over time to see the fits and starts in my writing.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
AA: More of a plotter than a pantser, though I revise my plots if my actual writing veers off in an unexpected direction.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
AA: I’m working on Insurrection (Interscission Project #3) – due maybe sometime early next year, and the webcomic adaptation of the Pact Arcanum Saga – which is ongoing at http://pactarcanum.net, though the compiled book containing issues Zero, One and Two should be out by the end of August.
And now for Arshad’s latest book: Pact Arcanum: Volume 1 (graphic novel):
For millennia, the Sentinels have hunted the vampires with steel and magic…
Alexandria, Egypt, 2008. Antonio is the Wind of Fire, the strongest Sentinel of that element, the most powerful spellcaster of his generation. Edgar is a capable Fire Sentinel in his own right, and serves as Antonio’s lieutenant. Together, the two of them were chosen for a very special mission: to scout out the vampires’ greatest citadel in preparation for the Sentinels’ final assault. Their actions that night will set in motion a destructive chain of events that will echo across supernatural society for generations…
About the Books:
The Pact Arcanum Saga is best described as near-future space opera/paranormal romance. Basically, it’s about vampires and vampire hunters, with the odd spaceship thrown in. This comic book adaptation seeks to bring those novels to a new visual medium. Volume One contains the first three issues of the comic book.
Amazon: Click Here
Goodreads: Click Here
By profession, I am a hematopathologist, a laboratory physician who specializes in diagnosis of diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Yes, I realize the irony that I write about vampires. 😉
The Pact Arcanum Saga consists of five books: Sunset, Cathedral of the Sky, Sunrise, Moonlight, and Starlight. It is best described as non-explicit, futuristic, gay vampire space opera. The Interscission Project is gay space opera/time travel. Note: While each series conforms to standard conventions regarding the romance genre overall, I do not guarantee a happy ending to any individual book within the series.