Interview: Azrael James

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Azrael James' debut novel, Mark of Destiny. To celebrate, I managed to catch up with Azrael for a quick chat ahead of the book's release.

Firstly, tell me a little about your childhood.

Well, here goes. I was raised in a very gypsy-like family. Before I was seventeen, we had lived in twenty-seven different places across the western half of the United States. My dad travelled a lot for his work.

I developed an interest in the guitar and fantasy fiction when I was twelve years old, and haven’t set either of them aside for long. Currently, I am teaching guitar and working on developing my writing career.

How did you first become interested in writing?

I would have to say that my love for reading has really been the catalyst for the desire to write fiction. This desire really came to a head when I owned a used bookstore, but between running the store and working two other day jobs to keep it afloat, there was very little time to even consider writing. Sadly the store closed, but when one door smacks you in the ass, you tend to look for a better situation.

What draws you to writing fantasy?

I love fantasy. This genre has always been my doorway into other worlds, an escape from the known. Honestly, when I read, I read to leave this world behind. After reading Tolkien, I was hooked.

Tell me about Mark of Destiny.

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Image: Bewitching Book Tours
Mark of Destiny is my debut novel, and it is truly the birth of a new world. While retaining many fantasy norms, the novel is also quite unique. Tizrah, the main character, represents the maxim, ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’. Sometimes this road called life takes unexpected twists and turns, and we find ourselves a long way off from where we originally intended to go. I think this is kind of the theme of the novel. Yes, there are wizards, gods, magic, and even a dragon, but over all the theme of the novel is really about chance, or destiny.

How do you get inspiration?

Inspiration comes to me through reading awesome books by authors like Sanderson, Rothfuss, and others. When I am brainstorming a plot, I tend to get very enthusiastic. The muse comes in so many forms. It could be the way the sunlight reflects off of a water droplet. We just have to open ourselves to the amazing flow of life surrounding us at every instant.

What’s your writing process?

Plotting, loosely constructing the outline, procrastination, and then crunch time. I write with an outline, but many of the twists and turns happen all on their own. Sometimes my characters decide to do things differently. I try to be open to where the story will take me.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Work hard at perfecting your craft. Always approach every situation with a mind open and ready to learn. Learn as much as you can about marketing and promotion, what works, and what is a waste of time and resources.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I am working hard to realise my dream of being a full-time writer. My plan is to accomplish this in under two years.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Music, meditation, family, and living with peace in my heart.

What are you currently working on?

Fate of Belstrom, the sequel to Mark of Destiny is my current project, but I am also working on a YA steampunk novel.

What are you reading at the moment?

Age of Myth by Michael Sullivan, and so far I am really impressed with it.

To find out more about Azrael, you can follow him on Goodreads or find him on Facebook.

Mark of Destiny is available to buy now.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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