Karim, welcome to Lavender Lass Books. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!
Army of the Cursed is the first book in the War of the Last Day series. Here’s the blurb:
Everybody knew the Cursed were coming.
Nobody knew how to defeat them.
The Goranians thought they were ready to face demons in battle. But when the foretold War of the Last Day begins, one fact becomes clear: the doom of Gorania is just a matter of time. Now its fate rests in the hands of a hapless trio.
By joining the mages’ guild, Leila cedes her title as the Crown Princess of Murase. But as she struggles with her lack of talent, the Army of the Cursed approaches her country. Leila will have to decide if she is ready to protect her loved ones, or she should abandon them and run for her life.
Nardine, the Crown Princess of Bermania, hears a rumor that her long-gone father was so close to finding a weapon against the immortal demons. While she investigates what has happened to his unfinished work, a rebellion threatens to tear apart her kingdom.
Far in the harsh northern lands of Skandivia, Halgrim starts a perilous journey to claim a birthright he has been denied because of a lie. If his journey goes according to plan, nothing will stand between him and his ultimate prize. Nothing, except the Army of the Cursed.
Can the three unite and put aside their differences before it is too late? The entire human race is already on the brink of extinction.
ARMY OF THE CURSED is a thrilling read for epic fantasy fans. Brace for a tale of magic, betrayals, and fear of the unknown, and lose yourself in the world of Gorania.
And now to the interview:
1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes, it is my first time, and I’m really excited to join this year’s 300. To me, SPFBO is not just a competition, it’s an amazing community of fellow fantasy writers and reviewers/bloggers/judges, so surely, this is a great opportunity for networking.
As for choosing Army of the Cursed to step into the ring; well, it wasn’t a hard decision at all. Come on, who would ignore such a chance to boost the visibility of his newest release?
2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
It started with an obsession with medieval history and fantasy. Reading about them made me live in my own world with characters of my own creation. Thanks to writing, my world is real now. Nobody can say that I’m hallucinating anymore.
3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I published my debut The Warrior’s Path with a small press, but it didn’t work. Later, I realized it was better this way, when my self-published book earned a few orange Bestseller tags on Amazon.
4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Self-publishing means higher share of royalties and total control, but it also means less time for writing. When you are an indie, building your fan base and fighting for the visibility of your work could be really exhausting.
5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
The characters are getting grayer, and the storylines are becoming darker. New subgenres are continuously emerging and growing. Also, I believe that readers now prefer characters who would rather rely on their wits than their muscles.
How has it stayed the same? Fantasy fans still can’t get enough of dragons 🙂
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
My second favorite genre is sci-fi, but I guess I’m sticking to fantasy for a while.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
Flawed, believable characters. Complex plotlines. A medieval setting is a must. Oh, and names I can pronounce.
8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m halfway through the first draft of Tattered Banners, the sequel to Army of the Cursed. Expect more magic, more demons, and more dead bodies.
9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
– READ. And make sure you pick current books. The pace of change in trends and tastes has become faster than ever.
– You want to improve your writing? Write more.
– Guess what? Readers do judge a book by its cover.
– Start building your fan base from Day Zero. Use a reader magnet to gain subscribers to your mailing list.
– And enjoy the learning process. (As much as you can)
You can find Karim Soliman’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Army-Cursed-War-Last-Book-ebook/dp/B08V8VM4BY