Author of Murder In Absentia, Assaph Mehr is Felix’s scribe. I’ve heard that Felix isn’t a very thankful customer on another blog (apparently Assaph hasn’t paid Felix his cut), but we won’t speak of that here. So, I’ve heard what Felix does (find his interview here), but what do you do Assaph?
Try to write as often as I can.
Don’t we all. Now, tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I started to write only recently. I had my nose in a book since I was a child, and whilst seeing my name in print was on my bucket-list, I never thought to actually go and do something about it.
I had the idea for a fantasy detective story and for the particular twist ending for a while. Then one hot night in January 2015 my wife complained that she had nothing good left to read, so I just sat down and started writing. And I didn’t stop until I finished the novel.
Have a blurb for that novel?
A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.
Enter Felix the Fox, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.
Murder in absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – for lovers of murder mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.
How did you go about getting published?
Once I finished the manuscript, I looked at the publishing industry. It was very clear that there is almost no chance for a virtual unknown to break into the major publishers – who mostly seem in troubles themselves, and unsure of what they do in this rapidly changing market.
I therefore created my own publishing house – Purple Toga Publications – and went about treating it like a business. Besides being guaranteed a “contract”, the rest of my book was produced professionally, by working with experienced freelancers. That includes editing and proofreading, cover design, web presence etc.
I have not regretted this decision for a moment, even though it does mean quite a bit of work.
Work, that it definitely is. So, what is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
My first novel was written late at nights, when everyone was asleep. Then we were joined by a baby boy… Now I sleep when I can 🙂 These days I write on the train ride to work. A solid 45 minutes on uninterrupted work once (or twice, if I’m not too knackered in the evening) a day, and the sequel is progressing at a good clip.
These days I write on the train ride to work. A solid 45 minutes on uninterrupted work once (or twice, if I’m not too knackered in the evening) a day, and the sequel is progressing at a good clip.
Train ride to work, I wish I had that option. So, what is this job and what do you like to do when you’re not writing or working?
I have a family (wife, 3 girls and a baby boy – and the obligatory two cats). I work in IT during the day, at least until such times as my books take off enough to afford me a chateau in Europe. (It used to be a private island, but I prefer fast internet 😉
What’s your all time favorite animal?
I love animals in general. A bit obsessed with squids, as anyone who read my books know.
I see a correlation between you and Felix…. So, do you have a favorite myth? You must since you write in the Roman era.
I love mythology in general! One of my pet peeves is that whole “Roman myths are Greek with Latin names”. NO! Roman mythology and religion was quite different.
Oh how do I know! But I do wish they hadn’t used names for various buildings that sound so close to their Greek counterparts as I’m having a heck of a time keep them straight for art history class. Now, I have to ask as I’m always looking for new ideas, any marketing tips you’d like to share?
Nobody cracked the secret to writing a best seller or a literary masterpiece. No matter how much they liked to pretend otherwise, publishers, critics, and self-proclaimed gurus have clue. So instead you better focus on writing a story you love, before you ask others to buy and enjoy it.
In terms of social media, the key is engagement. Be present, and engage with others. Don’t whack people with “buy my book” links (a practice I sadly see far too often), but rather have a conversation. Sell yourself, before you sell your books. The result will be a dedicated fan base, who appreciate your writing.
Well, you’re just no help. 😉 Well, how about you tell us about your next book project.
I am currently drafting the next full-length Felix mystery. It’s titled “In Numina”, and is a tale of haunted houses and household gods.
What are you reading now?
Alternating between Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (so many fans told me Felix reminds them of Harry Dresden in a Toga, I figured I should check it out), and Ruth Downie’s excellent Medicus series. Herein you can see my love of historical detectives and fantasy 🙂
Last but certainly not least, do you have a sale or event coming up you would like mentioned? And what about some links?
My novel is on sale for $0.99 throughout October and November, in honour of several online events (Virtual Fantasy Con and Virtual Book Fair being the biggest). Just search for these events on Facebook, and join up to meet exciting new authors and books!
If you want to find me online…
Website, where I publish short stories and blog about stuff: http://egretia.com
You can find Murder In Absentia on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1
Google Plus: http://plus.google.com/+AssaphMehr
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Assaph-Mehr/e/B015U1F3NC