Today I’m hosting an interview with author Asher Tensei, debut author of Mana, a YA fantasy novel. I’m very glad to host this author on my blog!
1) What inspired you to start writing?
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that my number one source of Inspiration at the time was the Twilight Saga. I knew that I had a gift, but as Twilight grew, so did my ambition and determination to write a novel just as good if not better. After the story was written, the characters took me in a totally different direction than I expected. I believe I’m better for it!
2) How did you come up with the idea behind your fantasy novel, Mana?
Mana was…different. Most people know that mana means magic, but a different kind. This is the essence that exists in all things living and non-living, believed by most Pacific Islanders. Mana is a natural as grass and I immediately saw the beauty in it. If I could write about certain characters controlling that mana, then I knew I had a unique idea on my hands. Not to mention the dragoon part, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
3) Why did you decide to write in the fantasy genre?
I love breaking rules! I love the mold being shifted and I enjoy crazy character plot and development. Sure, these things could be written in non-fiction or anything else, but fantasy has this built in device that lets the world craft itself. Because rules can be broken; histories can be rewritten and mistakes can be fixed.
4) How long did it take you to write Mana from start to finish?
From its conception, to date, Mana has taken over two years to write and edit completely. While I was in Germany, I used to write every day with the 15 minutes allotted to me during each of my breaks. The first version of the story was finished in a month, but the word count was in the low 30,000’s. After prematurely sending it out (boy did the rejections fly in), I knew that the story had lots of room for improvement. Long story short, after the two years, Mana is now at a whopping 86,000!
5) Who was your favorite character to write about in Mana? Which character did you find the hardest to write?
My favorite…hmm. This can be tough. Each of them are so uniquely pieced out of my personality that’s its really that hard to decide. If I had to pick, I would say…Raine. Her character is strong and determined. She puts up with her friends, simply because she wants harmony, and wants to keep everyone together. She definitely has a spark that most people find appealing. She’s gorgeous and spunky and I love it! The hardest to write was Jason. Actually still to this day, he confounds me. He was written in when I was in a bad place, so to speak. He represented all of my conflicts, all my anger, all my confusion, and hope. His character stemmed directly from me and that’s why he was so hard to write. I look forward to him surprising me and many others as The Mana Saga progresses.
6) How was the process of finding a publisher for you? Do you have any advice for authors looking for a publisher?
This road was long long long! It took me over two years. I didn’t know anything about publishing when I first started submitting. All I knew was I had an awesome idea and I couldn’t wait to be next to some of my favorite books, in stores. I’m so glad the string of “no’s” are over, but hey, it happens to everyone. If you have a brilliant story that you think will just take over, I just had one word of advice, POLISH! Make sure the plot is fine with no to very little holes. Check grammar and make sure that the story is believable above all else. Self-editing may be the most important step to the whole process. Don’t rush out like I did at first. Take the time to make sure it is in tip top shape before sending and embarking on your new life as an author. You owe your book that much.
7) What did you find the most challenging about writing a novel?
Nothing is harder about writing a book than sticking to your genre. For me, I had a lot of things to consider because I was primarily YA. This meant a lot to me, because I was a teen not too long ago and I had to make sure that everything about that book captured what it’s like to be a teen: the fights, the unruly emotions, the responsibility, and the obstacles. Since my other genre is fantasy, it was a lot easier to craft situations and events.
8) Are you currently working on something new? If so, can you tell us more about it?
I can tell a little. I’m working on its sequel and book cover simultaneously! I did that for the first book, too and I plan to do it for all of them. The reason I do that is because I like to let the cover grow as my book grows. I wanted to redefine the phrase “judging a book by its cover” for my novel. The cover of my novels absolutely has to capture the essence of what that book is about. The sequel has a test name, Golden Darkness. So far it’s in beta, but the name does represent part two and it looks awesome on the cover so far! But if I can find a better name, I’ll go with my gut. The second book is a little darker, but it keeps you on edge. I can wait to share the first story with you all, I feel so blessed!
Eurich is thrown into a seemingly ill-fated destiny. After learning of his legendary magic, he is convinced that he alone must stop an impending doom, but nothing is ever as it seems. His best friends Jason and Raine try their best to help him save the world, but help isn’t what he needs —he needs a way across the barrier.
Despite this fate thrust upon him, Eurich knows what is coming. The world is headed toward Chaos due to a weakening barrier between Earth and a world that has been hidden for millennia.
Our world is about to take a sharp turn for the worse. Extra moons are rising in the sky, and panic is at an all-time high. Worst of all, there are no explanations.
Saving the world begins with a choice —but is humanity worth him risking his own life?
Although Asher Tensei is relatively young, he has already traveled the world as he has been a military brat since the age of four. He has always wanted to share his creative writing, and it was in Germany that he realized people also really enjoyed reading his stories. Mana was composed shortly after and it instantly got the support of a small but enthused local readership. Few could believe that Asher had written a full length novel during his fifteen minute breaks while working at Burger King. He is very passionate about the fantasy genre and graciously gives thanks to the one series that made him realize that writing high concept YA fantasy was something he wanted to do–The Twilight Saga. He maintains, and frequently updates, his website.