So, I got a chance to read these awesome two books The Collar and The Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass Lima and today I am sharing an interview I had with the author, Annie Douglass Lima, herself! Check it out!
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrap-booking, and international travel.
- Hi Annie, please tell us something about yourself.
I have an international background. I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya. As a young adult, I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia, which was an incredible experience. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived there for several years before moving to Taiwan, where we live now. I’ve been teaching 5th grade in an international school here for nearly nine years now.
I’ve been privileged to visit or live in a total of twenty different countries so far, and those experiences have definitely played a role in my writing. I love getting to know different cultures and the differences between them. I’ve based a few details of Jarreon’s culture (the city where my Krillonian Chronicles take place) on the culture here in Taiwan. The convenient boxed meals and the importance of New Year, for example. In addition, competition winners receive award money in red envelopes. As in Taiwan, some in Jarreon’s lower class chew betel nut, a legal drug sold in shops decorated with flashing colored lights.
- How did you decide to become an author? What or who was your inspiration?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world’s youngest published author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on at least one book. Prince of Alasia, which I began in college, was the first one I finished that I thought was worth trying to get published. I looked into traditional publishing and spent a long time trying to get an agent, but to no avail. Finally I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing and did it myself the indie way, eleven years after I first started writing the book. A few months later I added the paperback edition. It was quite a thrill for me to finally fulfill my childhood dream! Now I’ve published a total of twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of my students’ poetry).
- Krillonian Chronicles focuses on slavery and martial arts, which is quite different from the fantasy story lines we see these days. How did you come up with this type of story?
I’ve had the idea growing in my mind for the last few years. It started as just a picture of the setting and its culture: a world almost exactly like ours, but with legalized slavery and a new martial art. The main characters, Bensin (a teenage slave and martial artist) and Steene (his owner and coach) emerged gradually, along with the plot (Bensin’s struggle to protect and free his younger sister, and then later his struggle to survive as a gladiator).
- Tell us something about the newly published The Gladiator and the Guard?
The Gladiator and the Guard is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, the first one being The Collar and the Cavvarach. The stories take place in a world almost exactly like our own. Although most aspects of the culture are very close to what they are currently on Earth, a few sports are different, such as the martial art known as cavvara shil. The main difference, however, is that slavery is legal there.
The main character, Bensin, is a teenage slave who is skilled in cavvara shil. In the first book, he competes in tournaments to earn money for his owner. He fights using a cavvarach, a sword-like weapon with a hook halfway down the top blade. Combatants try to snag their opponent’s hook to tug the weapon out of the other person’s hand, which is one way to win a duel. (They can also knock it away with their own cavvarach, or kick it away.) Besides disarming an opponent, you can win by knocking them over and pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds. In regular tournaments, cavvarach blades are not sharpened, and fighters wear padding to protect them from accidental injury. But in the second book, Bensin is forced to become a gladiator, fighting with a sharpened weapon and no padding, to entertain bloodthirsty crowds.
Here’s the back-cover blurb for The Collar and the Cavvarach :
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
And the blurb for The Gladiator and the Guard :
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
- What can a reader expect from the new book?
They can expect exciting descriptions of combat, as well as portrayals of courage, hope, despair, desperation, terror, joy, self-sacrifice, and the struggle to choose kindness and compassion in an environment where it’s much easier to express anger and hate.
- Will there be more books in this series?
Yes, there will be at least three altogether. I may eventually write a few more books, or perhaps short stories, set in the same world, but they would probably have a different cast of characters.
- What are your favorite hobbies or stress busters?
I love to read! Fantasy and science fiction are my favorite genres. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.
- Would you like to add something for the readers?
I hope they enjoy these books! And if they read The Gladiator and the Guard, I hope they will realize, as Bensin eventually does, that we can all choose the type of person we want to be, no matter what our circumstances are. We might not have a say in what happens to us, but we can decide how we will respond and what kind of character we will exhibit.