Friday, June 27, 2014

Five on Friday - A.X. Ahmad

Happy Friday and I'm so sorry for my lack of posts this week. I've been quite busy but not forgetting about you, the blog or reading. I have several reviews to catch up on for you and a couple posts, including a "half-way" post. Can you believe next week starts July? Holy Moly!

But a couple things before I welcome a new visitor to the blog. First is my Shelf Awareness interview with Ridley Pearson. I do a number of interviews for Shelf and they are often fun and interesting, but I specifically want to share this one with you because it's one of the interviews I'm most proud of. And it really isn't due to me at all. It's the fact that Ridley Pearson is such an amazing person to talk to. I was fortunate enough to chat with him on the phone for about an hour one day, and this was the result. I hope you enjoy it.

Speaking of Shelf Awareness, they have a contest going for their 9th birthday. You can win a hefty shopping spree to the indie bookstore of your choice. So you may want to check that out.

This month, in honor of June is Audiobook Month, Audiofile has been giving away 2 free YA book downloads each week. There's still time to get the last pair of audios here.

I'm very excited for this news about Alafair Burke (oh yeah, and Mary Higgins Clark)!

Some other book contests you can check out:

Criminal Element has a Past and Future Sweepstakes. And you may want to keep your eyes peeled on the CE Twitter account. We've been cleaning closets over there and slinging out books to followers. There's more to come but I never know when!

Friday Reads has 3 books in their giveaway this week: The Skeleton Crew, The Cold Nowhere and The Best of Archie: Betty and Veronica.

And don't forget to stop over to Lesa's blog and see what she has on tap this week. Be sure to tell her Jen said, "hello."

I'll yammer on more next week, but now I'd like to introduce our Five on Friday guest. A.X. Ahmad grew up in India and now splits his time between Washington, DC and Brooklyn. He's a former international architect and now the author of two books featuring ex-Indian Army Captain Ranjit Singh. The first came out last year and is called The Caretaker. His newest released earlier this week and is called The Last Taxi Ride. Look for more on that here soon (I hope--yeesh).  A.X. has a collection of toy wind-up robots. It made me wonder if he winds them all up when he gets writer's block and watches them go as a way to pass the time. ;-)

O.k. before I get any sillier, please help me welcome A.X. Ahmad:

1. A place I’ve never visited but would like to is Thailand, especially Chiang Mai in the North. This has been on my bucket list for years, and I used to live in Singapore, so I got close, but never made it there. It’s a fascinating society, pragmatic and spiritual- amazing food too, and gentle people. Sometimes I’ll be writing and take a break and go on Google Maps and look at the street views. I’ve also been reading John Burdett’s ‘Bangkok 8’ trilogy, which has increased my curiosity.

2. When I’m reading a book, I absolutely hate it when a writer  changes the narrative: for example, I’ll think I’m reading a spy story, and halfway through the book, it’ll morph into a romance. Or suddenly sci-fi elements appear in a literary novel. I feel tricked.

The writer makes a contract with the reader in the first few pages: here’s the book I’m going to deliver. That contract is sacred!

Surprises in the story are good- but, please, writer, don’t switch up the narrative on me!

3. The TV show I absolutely can’t miss is: Well, I don’t have a TV, and stream shows on my laptop whenever I feel like, so I don’t wait to tune in to a particular show. But I just started watching ‘True Detective”, and I’m hooked. Woody Harrelson is an incredible actor, as is Matthew McConaughey: his character is so complex, a jumble of pain and intelligence.

And I’m intrigued by the structure, which tells the current story from the future, when the two detectives talk about a serial killer case they investigated in the past. So there is not only the pleasure of the mystery, but also a question about why these detectives are talking about this case now.

We’re truly living in a golden age of television, and the storytelling and plotting is incredible, as these shows keep viewers interested for an entire season. Sometimes I think I should quit writing novels and start in with screenplays…!

4. Happiness is my email inbox is empty. No one is bothering me. I’m at my favorite coffee shop in downtown Washington DC, with a strong cup of green tea at my elbow. I’m deep into a long writing project, and the characters are speaking to me that day. I’m writing away, lost to the world, physically there, but mentally transported to the world of the novel.

Time warps, and hours feel like minutes. All my worlds come together in my writing- my memories of India, my life in the USA—and all the emotions I have accumulated in my 46 years on this planet.

Nothing beats those moments when the writing is going well. It’s pure bliss.

5. The #1 item on my bucket list right now is to spend an entire week this summer just reading. I’ve been so busy with teaching, editing, writing, and book publicity for my new novel that the days have gone by in a blur. I’m always lurching from one thing to the next. Now I desperately want to collapse on my couch, turn on the air conditioning and read that entire stack of novels that have been piling up on my desk.

Now THAT is my kind of bucket list. Although if it's not too humid, I'd like to spend some of my time on my front porch reading as well.

Thanks so much to A.X. Ahmad for joining us today. I hope we see more of him here in the future. But you don't have to wait for him to come back because you can chat with him on Twitter or check out his website. And I'll leave you with a final little tidbit for your viewing pleasure today--the humorous trailer for A.X.'s new novel, The Last Taxi Ride. Happy Reading, my friends!


Beth F June 27, 2014 at 6:28 AM  

True Detective? Best.Show.Ever.

As A.X. already knows, I love that trailer!

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