Maciek Sasinowski is a new young adult fantasy author of the well-recieved Heir of Ra and the recent release, Daughter of Ra. An advanced civilisation set in ancient Egypt and a modern-day mystery takes the reader on a unique and surprising adventure traversing the globe. Read my interview with this new and talented author!
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing short stories when I was a teen, but being a full-time writer seemed an unreachable dream at that time, so it was difficult to even consider that option. It wasn’t until a couple decades later that I started thinking about it seriously and began planning for this career.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Ha – that depends on what book we’re talking about. For Heir of Ra, the process took over ten years. The story has been in my head for even longer, but I was too busy with my scientific and clinical career to make serious progress on the manuscript. I wrote on-and-off for a few years, but realized that I really had to commit to it to finish it, and once I did, it took about a year. For the sequel, Daughter of Ra, it took about six months.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I draw inspiration from books, movies, history, current events. The Indiana Jones and Bourne Identity movies are examples of amazing pacing as well as a strong protagonist who is also vulnerable. The Star Trek shows and movies helped develop my appreciation for science fiction that is based on real science. Shows like the Avatar the Last Airbender cartoon taught me that it was possible to develop a storyline that can appeal to young readers as well as an older audience. I also love documentaries and shows about archaeology and ancient civilizations; real history is sometimes even more fascinating and inspiring than fiction.
Is writing a full-time career for you?
It is now! I tried to write while I had other careers—that’s why the first book took over ten years to write… ?
What do you think makes a good story?
If you randomly think about the same story days or weeks (or years) after you’ve finished reading it.
What genres of writing/reading have you always been drawn to?
I’ve always been a huge scifi and fantasy geek and have been drawn to mythology and ancient civilizations. I also love books that play in multiple timelines, or tell a story within a story, like Inkheart or Neverending Story.
Your book was influenced by mythology and history, did you do plenty of research for this?
Learning about the worlds that I’d like to incorporate into my stories is my favourite part of being an author, other than writing itself. I grew up watching TV shows about Egypt, so that gave me a bit of a background, but it also made me realize how much I didn’t know, so I scoured the web and learned as much as I could about the figures and mythology. Putting all the pieces together and creating a world that included elements of real history, mythology, and fiction is one of the most challenging, but also most enjoyable, aspects of writing this trilogy.
How many books are you planning for you Blood of Ra series? Will they all follow Alyssa and Paul?
The current plan is six books. The current trilogy that is set in our time and follows Alyssa and Paul, and a prequel trilogy that will chronicle Horus’s life in the ancient times. Depending on how things go, I may jump back to our time after the prequel trilogy, but we’ll see.
How much world building do you do before writing?
Most of the world building for the current trilogy happened as I was developing the story and the characters. I anticipate that it’ll be quite different for the prequel trilogy, and look forward to diving deep into my imagination for it.
Was your first book more challenging to write than the sequel?
In certain aspects it was. The reception Heir of Ra received was so positive that I wanted to make sure that the sequel was worthy of the first book. I didn’t want to disappoint my readers who were telling me how much they were looking forward to the sequel. Fortunately, things seemed to have worked out even better than I expected, so I’m delighted.
How do you handle literary criticism?
I always strive to improve my craft, so if the criticism is well-intended and constructive, I truly appreciate it. Having said that, one of the hardest things authors must learn is that, no matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to write a book that everybody enjoys. Still, I’ve been absolutely delighted at the reception both books have received and the positive comments vastly outweigh the few negative ones, so it makes it very easy to stay in high spirits and keep writing!
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting?
To borrow from a well-known slogan: Just write it. Sit down and start writing. Set a goal to write two hundred words a day. That’s a small paragraph, anybody can do it. If you do that every day, in one year, you’ll have finished the first draft of your novel.