I’m interviewing Anna Kashina today over at the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, about her award winning epic fantasy romance Guild of Assassins. The novel just received a double PRISM Award for “Best of the Best” and “Best Fantasy”. Her assassins have amazing martial arts skills, so here’s a question & answer about that aspect of the novels which we sadly didn’t have room to include at USAT/HEA.
Veronica: How do you go about ‘choreographing’ your amazing fight scenes?
Anna: As a child, I studied martial arts, and then, as an adult, I was a competitive dancer. Both skills are very synergistic and feed into my fight scenes. When I write, I put myself into this state of mind where I actually feel every movement in my body and they all make sense. When I achieve this balance, things just start happening. The ‘choreographing’ comes down to deciding on the physique of the fighters and the weapons they use, then just watching them go at it.
Since many of the Majat have exotic weapons, I do a lot of research to make sure that everything I write could conceivably work the way I envisioned. I watch martial arts movies and videos when I work on particular techniques. I often have to use homemade versions of some of the more unusual weapons to reenact the most difficult moves in slow motion and make sure they actually work. I actually own a version of Kara’s weapon, which is somewhat tricky to use, so I often need it in my hand to make a scene work. Some weapons work spectacularly against each other. Others don’t quite work, so I have to change them to the ones that do.
In the end, it feels almost like watching a movie and writing down the action. Better yet, if something in the movie does not quite work, I have the full power to change it. It feels very rewarding when it all comes together.
Hope on over to USA Today/HEA for the rest of the interview!
And here’s the story for Guild of Assassins (Book Two of the Majat Code):
Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!
But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life.
Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.
But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?
Veronica: I loved Mai, the hero in this novel and even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series at the time, I was able to read this novel as a standalone work.