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09 June 2014

Welcome special guest: author K.S. Augustin ~ @SandalPress @GoddessFish #urbanfantasy #horror

Today we have author KS “Kaz” Augustin visiting. Kaz says: I'm a Malaysian-born writer of SF&F, romance and combinations thereof, back here temporarily after living and working on a couple of other continents. I spend my time homeschooling our children, cooking and writing.

So, K.S. Augustin, What/who inspired you to become a writer?
* Stanley Weinbaum. I still vividly remember reading his short story, “A Martian Odysssey”. There was such logic, humour, wonder and humanity in it and I thought to myself, “Wow! I want to write like that!”

When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
* My English teachers must have been very indulgent, because I remember writing a few science-fiction stories at the tail-end of primary school and the first half of secondary school. They always got high marks and my first—a tale of alien invasion and how humans thwarted Their Nefarious Plans—was printed in our school annual. I'm sure all copies of that small and old publication have already mouldered into dust by now.

How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
* Besides my school efforts? One.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
* The best piece of writing advice I've ever received was: read. I can't really pinpoint the worst because any particular piece has relevance within a certain context and you never know when that context might spring up.

The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series?
* It's both! It's an omnibus, containing all five books of the Check Your Luck series. The books range in size from novella to short novels and the combined edition clocks in at 227,000 words.

What sparked the idea for the story/series?
* Coming back to Malaysia to live. My husband and I have lived and worked on four continents and we wanted our children to experience several world cultures before we settled down somewhere for the “formal” (read late secondary plus tertiary) part of their education. Once back here, I began to listen to people's stories and read about magic, witch doctors, curses, love potions and spells in the newspapers. That's how it all began—a slice of real life with a whole heap of paranormal thrown in!

*** Now for some fun info… ***
Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
* Oh yes. I like snakes. Their skin feels amazing. But hubby would freak out!

Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
* I live in the tropics at the moment and yearn for those crisp, sunny Australian winter days!

If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be and why?
* Assuming that the universe is infinite and that all possibilities eventually play out, combined with the fact that—in some aspects—quantum mechanics is indistinguishable from metaphysical phenomena, I would have to say my Number One choice would be Iain M Banks' Culture universe.

If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
* Air-conditioning unit, fully-stocked bar, jam-packed ereader, blazing-fast dual-screen Linux desktop system, and a stylish cabin to store it all in!

*** About K.S. Augustin’s book/series… ***
~ Blurb ~
* Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.
* After the tragic death of her parents, and with nothing left tying her to the United Kingdom, Ursula Formosa returns to her homeland and a job with the eccentrically-named Singapore firm, “The Check Your Luck Agency”.
* What begins as an attempt to stave off boredom turns into a new way of life as the scales drop from Ursula’s eyes and she tentatively enters a realm that contains vengeful ghosts, toyol, demons, pontianak and curses, not to mention old-fashioned fraud and larceny. As she befriends bomohs, mediums and a young woman already centuries old, Ursula’s ideas of friendship expand into a fresh view of the world that surrounds her.
* But she isn’t going to be left to ease into things. A criminal mastermind, who is also a powerful sorcerer, is gathering mythical creatures to help him possess every living soul in Singapore, and he isn’t about to let the members of The Check Your Luck Agency stand in his way!
~ Excerpt ~
* “Did you have any difficulty finding the house?” Evelyn Long asked as she led me up a short flight of concrete steps.
* “Well, the taxi driver wasn’t too keen to drive down the lane.”
* Evelyn nodded her head. “The ignorant fear what they don’t understand,” she said.
* I made a noise that might have indicated I agreed with her sentiment, and left it at that.
* “I’m afraid Alfred is still meditating,” she began.
* “I’m sorry,” I cut in, a shade too quickly, “I knew I shouldn’t have come. Perhaps I could pay him another visit some other time?”
* I turned as if to leave and Evelyn Long grabbed me by the arm. No, “grabbed” was too gentle a term for it. Although her movement was smooth and she appeared to hold me lightly, I knew I would not be able to wrench free of her grasp without breaking flesh or limbs, or both, all of them mine. I looked up at her, startled, but saw nothing beyond polite interest. There wasn’t an ounce of strain on her face, nothing to show that she had me manacled with her slim, delicate-looking fingers.
* Who – or what – was Evelyn Long?
* “He won’t be much longer,” she said, as if commenting on the weather. “He’s been waiting to see you for more than a month now. We’re both glad you visited.”
* And I suddenly realised that nobody knew where I was. Long and his supernaturally strong wife could do whatever they wanted with me, dispose of my dead body no doubt in the acres of primeval jungle behind their house and nobody would be the wiser. A wave of energy suddenly thrummed beneath my feet, a surge so strong I was sure that Long’s wife was able to feel it pulse through my body and travel to hers at our menacing point of contact.
* “Why don’t I get you something to drink? You can relax while I fetch Alfred.”

***Buy K.S. Augustin's book here***
Amazon - US | Amazon - UK | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | OmniLit | Sandal Press

***Find K.S. Augustin here***
Website | Blog | Twitter | Chief Editor of the free online quarterly magazine, Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

Thank you for joining us here today, K.S. Augustin! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

ATTENTION! K.S. Augustin will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour! So be sure to leave your name and email with your comment, visit the other tour stops (find them here: goddessfishpromotions-virtual-book-tour) for a greater chance of winning!


Kaz Augustin said...

Thanks for having me here, Casey. Loved the interview questions. :)

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Valerie said...

Nice interview!

MomJane said...

I enjoyed your interview. I was fascinated by the excerpt.

Elena said...

thank you for the giveaway!

Book Passion for Life said...

Ha! I love that you'd take air con on your desert island! Good pick with the cabin and ereaders! Imagine the comfort! Lol. Great post today and it was great getting to know you more. Donna @ BookPforLife -

Mary Preston said...

A great interview thank you.