Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Annie Douglass Lima. Annie is an author and she’s written the book many books but today we’re celebrating the recent release of the book The Gladiator and the Guard!
Arvenig: “Hi Annie! Tell us a little about yourself and your background!”
Annie: “I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya. After college (in Southern California), I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia, which was an incredible experience. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived in California for several years. Eventually all the pieces fell into place for us to move overseas together, and now we’re serving at Morrison Academy, an international school in Taiwan. We very much enjoy life here!Though I love my job, I must admit I wish it left me with more time for writing. I usually get up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. to get some writing in before work, since my brain works better then than in the evenings. I do a lot of my writing on weekends and school breaks, too.”
A: “So the book is the second novel of the , series, tell us about them!”
Annie: “I first drafted The Gladiator and the Guard during National Novel Writing Month in 2014, and I’ve spent the last year and a half rewriting and polishing it. It’s the sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach, alternate reality novels set in a world very similar to our own except that slavery is legal there. The main character, Bensin, is a slave and a martial artist, earning money for his owner as he competes in cavvara shil (a martial art I created).”
A: “Are you working on a sequel?”
Annie: “There will be at least one more book in the series, possibly more. I have jotted down some ideas for the plot, but I have not yet started drafting it. I’ll probably do that next November, for National Novel Writing Month.”
A: “Do you think your main character, Bensin, is unusual?”
Annie: Yes! Bensin is a slave who is also a very talented martial artist. In the first book, his goal is to keep his little sister safe and somehow arrange for her freedom, which is an almost impossible task in his world, but he is determined not to give up. In the second book, Bensin’s own safety is at stake as he struggles not only for freedom but for the right to choose his own identity.
A: “Where do your characters come from? Do you draw on real life? Do you create character profiles?”
Annie: “I don’t draw on real life, but I do create character profiles. Before I start a new book, I always sit down and plan out the plot and characters in great detail. Sometimes they still surprise me along the way, though.For example, City Watch officer (the equivalent of a police officer) Kalgan Shigo ended up playing a much bigger part than I had anticipated. While still a minor character, he is a more important one (in both books) than he was originally supposed to be, and he plays a different – and much needed – role in Bensin’s life. I loved watching him take charge and step into the position he wanted!
A: “In the book there’s another world and you said it’s similar. What’s different? Is the book in the future, past or present? OR Is it in a completely other world?”
Annie: “The stories take place in a world almost exactly like our own. Although most aspects of the culture are very close to what they are currently on Earth, a few sports are different, such as the martial art known as cavvara shil. The main difference, however, is that slavery is legal there.
The Krillonian Empire rules much of the world. An emperor, who is never named, governs from the capital city, Krillonia, on the continent known as Imperia. Eight separate provinces (originally independent nations before they were conquered) can be found on nearby continents. Each province, plus Imperia, is allowed to elect its own legislature and decide on many of its own laws, but the emperor reserves the right to veto any of them and make changes as he sees fit. This seldom happens, however, and to most people the emperor is merely a vague and distant ceremonial figure.
The prevalence of slavery is probably what would stand out the most to visitors from Earth. There are nearly as many slaves in the city of Jarreon, where both books take place, as free people, and they are easily identified by the steel collars they are required to wear locked around their necks.From each collar hangs a tag inscribed with the slave’s name, their owner’s name, and a copy of their owner’s signature. On the back of the tag is their owner’s phone number and a bar code that can be scanned to access additional information.
Many families own one or more slaves who do their housework and yardwork. Businesses often own a large number of slaves, usually for manual labor, though some are trained for more complex tasks. Those who don’t own their own slaves may “hire in” one belonging to someone else. The accepted rate for an hourly wage is two-thirds the amount that a free person would earn for equivalent labor (the money goes to the slave’s owner, of course).”
A: “Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?”
Annie: “I hope The Collar and the Cavvarach will make readers think about the value of human life and perhaps take a second look at some of the practices we accept or choose to turn a blind eye to in our own culture. Legalized slavery sounds so impossibly wrong that it’s easy to think we could never let it happen in this day and age, but how many other wrongs do we overlook just because it isn’t convenient to do anything about them?
In The Gladiator and the Guard, I hope readers will realize, as Bensin eventually does, that we can all choose the type of person we want to be, no matter what our circumstances are. We might not have a say in what happens to us, but we can decide how we will respond and what kind of character we will exhibit.”
A: “That was the last but not least question! Annie thank you so much for letting me interview you!”
WHERE YOU CAN FIND HER AND HER BOOKS
Her blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/
The Collar and the Cavvarach on Amazon
The Gladiator and the Guard on Amazon
MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS
To read more about the culture of the Krillonian Empire, take a look at this post on her blog.
The back-cover blurb for The Collar and the Cavvarach:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
The blurb from The Gladiator and the Guard:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
Do you want to be interviewed? Tell me in the comments and you could have the chance to be chosen!!!
Thanks for reading and let me know if you are going to add it to your TBR,