We’re super excited for Joshua Khan’s Shadow Magic, published by Scholastic, which sounds fabulous! We’re thrilled to have Joshua doing our 5-4-3-2-1 feature today.
Books you’d save from a burning bookcase
It was read to me when I was about seven and, I think, the reason I do what I do. I read it again every few years and am instantly transported back to that summer day when I sat on the lino floor in the classroom and the teacher uttered the immortal words, “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.”
I read it to my wife and newborn daughter during those 4am feeds, when you feel that it’s just the three of you alone in the world and everything is at peace. Daughter is now 15 and keen fantasy reader. I wonder if the Hobbit reached through those new ears and settled somewhere deep within?
Epic sci-fi and truly orginal. All sci-fi that followed has some Dune in its DNA. Game of Thrones owes it a huge one, given it’s all about noble houses at war. I even loved the David Lynch movie. Where to begin? The Bene Gesserit. The Fremen. The Gom Jabbar. While Tolkien wears his Anglo Saxon and Norse mythology on his Hobbit-sized sleeve, Frank Herbert came (seemingly) out of nowhere. The plot, interestingly, follows the course of the rise of Islam (desert prophet gathering the tribes to an all-conquering empire, and then the managing of his legacy) and that’s something still rare in even modern sci-fi, that (like much fantasy) cleaves close to its European sources. Frank Herbert showed the way, even then.
Ok, I skip the poetry, but like Dune, it is a book with grandeur, huge ambition, and one that reminds us of how the most unlikely heroes can change the destiny of the world.
Philip Reeves is a literary god. Nothing more to say, really.
The Book of Lost Things
By John Connolly. Macabre, surreal and packing the most powerful emotional punch. This is Grimm’s Fairy Tales at its grimmest. It makes your skin crawl but you will be weeping by the end of it.
TV shows you can watch all day long (when not busy writing)
Vikings. Low-key, at least at the beginning, then with each season building upon the last. Ragnar starts as a farmer, becomes earl then king then legend. It’s great as it’s arching over his life, he’s now getting old and conflicted, and the series covers both the action in England and across in France. It doesn’t have the grand operatic feel of GoT, and its stronger for it. It still remains a tight, family drama, but with axes and a lot of blood letting.
Game of Thrones. Oh Lord, where to begin? I’m still upset about poor Rob! The scope is mind-boggling, and I’m in awe of the writers for keeping so many balls in the air over this. What the story does right is keep it about the characters, not the setting, which is as elaborate and as detailed as anything Tolkien produced. You may not agree with the actions of the characters, but they come from an authentic place in their hearts.
Lucifer. Now this is cheeky, sexy and very tongue-in-cheek and a million miles away from the other somewhat po-faced fantasy series out there. Season Two’s just kicked off and Lucifer’s mum (yes, his mum) has just escaped hell.
Frasier. The father of Big Bang Theory. Sublime comedy that never talked down to its audience and had confidence it would get the jokes about Freud and Oedipus without having to head to Google (not that Google was around then). High-brow and hysterical but ranged across the whole comedy spectrum. One of the funniest is the Ski Lodge and that’s just one massive bedroom farce.
Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island.
Oscar Wilde. I love Picture of Dorian Grey and his short stories bring a tear to my eye. Plus he was such an extraordinary wit. It would be a lot of fun.
Monica Ali ‘cause she’s hot. Hey, it’s a desert island and we can’t spend all day just talking books. Plus Oscar wouldn’t be that interested in her…
J K Rowling. We’d work on the new Harry Potter together, the one where his apparation goes horribly wrong and he gets stuck on a desert island for years. Then, when we get rescued, those joint royalties would keep me very happy. The years of eating coconuts would have been worth it. Also, maybe a new series from Draco’s POV? I think he’s just terribly misunderstood. Too much parental pressure, methinks.
Pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author
Get out more. You’ll end up in a job that basically involves sitting in cafes all day so do more outdoorsy stuff while you can.
Learn plumbing. I worked on building sites for years, but not as a fixer, but as an engineer which was more design and coordination. I should have taken the opportunity to learn a proper craft and, frankly, plumbers always have work. Should have got my hands dirty.
Places you love to read.
On trains. Somehow I cannot read on planes, a source of deep frustration, but trains is another thing entirely. My reading has dropped off significantly now I no longer commute. That was the only fun thing about taking the Central Line for all those years.
Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
(Shadow Magic #1)
Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.
Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.
Information about the Book
Title: Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)
Author: Joshua Khan
Release Date: 6th October 2016
Genre: MG Fantasy
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23510089-shadow-magic
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Magic-Joshua-Khan/dp/1407172085
Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.
*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.