cindy_pon (cindy_pon) wrote in enchantedinkpot,

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interview with Dark Goddess author, sarwat chadda

CONGRATULATIONS to kelsey book blog for winning
a copy of DARK GODDESS. thanks everyone for reading
and commenting. =)

i had the pleasure of being on my first ALAN panel this past
november with sarawat and cinda williams chima. when i found
out, i went ahead and read sarwat's debut, The Devil's Kiss.
dark, dangerous, furiously paced, and incorporating various
religions and mythology, what is there not to love?

i was very happy to receive an arc of Dark Goddess:

Billi's back, and it seems like the Unholy just can't take a hint.

Still reeling from the death of her best friend, Kay, Billi's thrust
back into action when the Templars are called to investigate
werewolf activity. And these werewolves are like nothing Bilil's
seen before.

They call themselves the Polenitsy - Man Killers. The ancient
warrior women of Eastern Europe, supposedly wiped out
centuries ago. But now they're out of hiding and on the hunt for
a Spring Child -- an Oracle powerful enough to blow the volcano
at Yellowstone -- precipitating a Fimbulwinter that will wipe out
humankind for good.

The Templars follow the stolen Spring Child to Russia, and the
only people there who can help are the Bogatyrs, a group of knights
who may have gone to the dark side. To reclaim the Spring Child
and save the world, Billi needs to earn the trust of Ivan Romanov, an
arrogant young Bogatyr whose suspicious of people in general, and
of Billi in particular.

Dark Goddess is a page-turning, action-packed sequel that spans
continents, from England to the Russian underworld and back. This
is an adventure of folklore and myth become darkly real. Of the world
running out of time. And of Billi SanGreal, the only one who can save it.


awesome right? read on for a chance to win a copy!!

Sarwat, thanks so much for joining us at the enchanted inkpot!
I'm interested in the genesis of Dark Goddess. At what point did
you know you were going to Russia and its folklore for your sequel?

How did you research for this novel?

I knew I’d write Dark Goddess before I’d written Devil’s Kiss. The
idea for a Russian adventure based around the Russian witch, Baba
Yaga, was first drafted in 1994. I’ve been interested in her mythology
since reading Women who run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola
Estes. It was the early 1990’s when I read the Prince Ivan books by
Peter Morwood. These are based on old Russian fairy tales and Dark
Goddess is my modern take on those stories, but with added Templars.
I love the mythic Russian settings: dark wolf-filled forests, snow-bound
steppes and ancient, monolithic cities. I think they’re the perfect
ingredients for creating a gothic fairy tale.

As well as reading the myths and history of Russia I did go out and
visit Moscow. I needed to make sure Dark Goddess had the same
‘street-level’ feel as Devil’s Kiss, which is after all based in my home, London.

Research can be so inspiring. And I'm jealous you got to visit Russia!
Sequels have special meaning to me now as an author. Because
they can often disappoint, and I know from personal experience how
difficult and challenging they are to write. What I loved about Dark Goddess
was that it was every bit as good as your debut, and better! How was the
process of writing Dark Goddess for you?

So glad you liked Dark Goddess more! I wanted it to be (more or less) stand
alone. The most difficult bit was to give the background to those new to the
series without boring those that had read Devil’s Kiss. Dark Goddess was
fun because there was that aspect of revisiting existing characters and
wondering how they’ve changed since events in Devil’s Kiss. I wanted it
to be clear that Billi’s changed by what happened in the first book, and
that’s so exciting, watching a character grow under painful circumstances.
Without giving the game away, Billi gets involved in a tragic romance
(the emphasis being on the tragic) and I wanted to see how she’d move on.
And, given it’s Billi, you know blood, sweat and tears will be involved.

I liked Billi in book one but I enjoyed seeing her grow and change in
Dark Goddess, too.
I love that Billi is half-Pakistani. We discussed
diversity in young adult novels before our ALAN panel. What are your
views on this as an author in the UK?

Let’s face it, there’s a lack of ethnic characters in children’s fiction, certainly
in the mainstream. I recently wrote to a number of publishers regarding this
(the letter will probably be up on my blog about now). I didn’t want my book
to be one with an agenda but one that simply reflects the world I live in, which
is ethnically diverse. My daughters are mixed race, hence Billi’s own
half-English half-Pakistani heritage. I could go on, but I’m addressing this
in my next series.

Can you tell us a little about your future projects?

I’m working on a trilogy based on Indian mythology. The protagonist is a
British-Asian boy called Ash. He’s a close-ish reflection of me when I was 14,
an Anglo-phile and somewhat unaware of my Eastern heritage. Ash finds
himself totally immersed in an alien, terrifying world of demon kings, ancient
vendettas and the goddess of death, Kali. For fans of Billi I have a new
kick-ass heroine, a half-human half-demon who’s arguably the greatest
assassin in the world. I’ve had a lot of fun with her.

It’s set in the same world as Billi, and there are subtle clues in both
Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess regarding this series. It’s been a long time
in coming and I’m pretty damn excited about it.

I’ve still got my fingers crossed that if Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess
do well then there’ll be a third Billi book. The plot, title and first 10,000
words are already down. Running both Billi and Ash would be my idea of
writer heaven.

Congratulations on the new series! I really really hope they
bring it over to the US, but either which way, I'll be reading them! =)

And last but not least, what is your favorite pastry?

Big fan of apple strudel.

YUM! i approve! and to help spread some billi love, I'll be
giving away a copy of Dark Goddess here! Simply comment
in this post. Tweeting, fb status, linking via blog, etc will earn you
+3 entries. Please link the actual tweet or blog or fb page, thanks!

This contest is open INTERNATIONAL and I'll choose a random
winner next Wednesday, 2/23. I'll post the winner at the top of this
same post. good luck, inkies!!
Tags: cindy pon, diversity, mythical beasts, mythology, sarwat chadda, ya

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