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Interview with Raphael Sohnn

He is the author of The Captains of Legend. A labor of love, he decided to complete that which he began as a young man, once the trajectory of his professional life took a different turn. Realizing the time was then in which to finish that which he had started, but with the added benefits of having run a business for two decades, marrying an angel, and fathering two wonderful sons, he was ready to put pen to paper.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I used to be a qualified bartender.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I certainly hope so.

Q.3 What inspired you to write The Captains of Legend?
I’d actually started the beginnings of the story twenty years ago, but then left it on the shelf to start a family and business career. Then one day a few years after, I found myself enraptured by a popular song from the soundtrack of an incredibly successful film. Listening to the song again and again, the nucleus of what the story eventually became began to take shape. I decided then, almost two decades later to write the book.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Nothing. Not for me at any rate, having been inspired by strong, independent women all of my life, my wife and mother being just two examples.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Not necessarily, the aim is to write a coherent, relatable story. Once the pen is put to paper it then usually takes care of itself.

Q.6 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Four (at the time of writing), and it’s very difficult to choose between them, akin to choosing a favorite child, one would imagine.

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing books?
Starting them.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Imagine a way of re-introducing writing into my life.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
An actor who genuinely understood the protagonist and his journey - that much would be essential. Everything else, mostly, can be managed.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
The book is truly being marketed now, with the help of people such as you, Aakanksha, other like-minded writers/bloggers, and various writers groups on Facebook. Particular attention will also be paid to the Indian market very shortly - after all, it is where the story is set.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I’d choose Gandalf, who is from an angelic race known as The Maiar. Extremely wise as well as incredibly brave, he is sent back to middle earth after his gargantuan battle with a Balrog under the Mines of Moria, to complete his mission. Glorfindel, an elf also from Lord of the Rings is a close second; the passage in which he initially appears in the book is staggeringly well written.

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
This is a difficult question to answer. Literally speaking, I’m in my infancy.

Q.13 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
My knowledge of India, historically speaking, has helped create the world in which the story and the characters within it exist.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your book, who is dear to you and why?
Dilawar Khan, though not strictly speaking a supporting character, is the epitome of valor. Strong and brave, yet intellectually gifted as well as being incredibly empathetic, he is a paragon of virtue.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
Good question, the initial cover was designed by an illustrator/designer from England (Tom Sanderson) with much input from me. The updated cover is designed once again by me along with an incredible artist, recommended to me, from N. Delhi, India no less (Priyendra Shukla).

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
They are names that resonate or have done, with me in one way or another. Though the name of the main protagonist, Holasiyan, is quite unique, his actual name is revealed only once in the story. His name had to be reflective of the warrior that he was destined to become.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes. So far they’ve been favorable, though I’m prepared to take the bad with the good. I’ve lived long enough, and experienced life’s ups and downs sufficiently to treat the two imposters that are triumph and disaster just the same.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Living: Jordan B Peterson, an incredible intellectual.
And dead: Bruce Lee, having inspired my real-life martial arts journey.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
There are far too many to single out just one. Yet to move away from fiction, Hitch-22, the memoirs of the late Christopher Hitchens is a fabulous read.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
It is the most self-revealing, and soul-enriching experience I can recall. Creating something from scratch that has the ability to move others emotionally is something I’ll keep with me for all of my days.

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