In April, Writing to be Read celebrates fantasy. That area of literature and visual media where fantastical elements become possible, and maybe even expected. Fantasy is as old as the fables and fairytales which birthed it centuries ago. In fantasy, anything is possible, and readers journey to worlds beyond their own imaginations, allowing effective escapes from reality, which is why it is such a popular genre.
Although in fantasy, anything may be possible, each story world must have its own set of rules which should never be broken. And it’s the author’s job to be sure those rules are clear for readers and ensure that they are never breached. To ensure this, authors go to great lengths, drawing up elaborate story bibles and creating maps of their worlds in order to keep everything straight.
There are many subgenres of fantasy, including dark fantasy, which carries readers into evil realms; high or epic fantasy, which ventures into magical worlds on the hero’s journey; low fantasy, which magical elements mingle in the real world; magical realism, which takes place in worlds similar to ours, but where magical elements are common place; urban fantasy, where legends come to life; sword and sorcery, with sword weilding heroes who thrive on gallentry; space fantasy, which takes place in the imaginative worlds in the far reaches of the universe; western fantasy, where magical or supernatural elements invade the landscapes of the old west; fantand superhero fiction, where protagonists use supernatural powers to manipulate the elements of the real world.
The hero’s journey originated with fantasy, and that is where writing instructors turn to provide examples of the way that journey progresses for their students. Bilbo Baggins’ hero’s journey in The Hobbit is exemplary, but it is only a prelude to the ultimate hero’s journey Frodo embarks upon in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. J.R.R. Tolkien paved the way for fantasy writers right up to those of present day.
Stick with me this month for a great line-up of fantasy reviews and interviews with authors of the fantasy genre. My “Chatting with the Pros” author guest is L. Deni Colter, and my supporting interview is with J.B. Garner. I’ll also be reviewing the X Marks the Spot anthology, edited by Lisa Mangum; Severed Wings, by Steven Elliot Altman; and Indomitable, by J.B.Garner. I do interviews on Mondays and reviews on Fridays, so drop in and find out what is happening on the fantasy scene.
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It pleases me to present a special Saturday interview with a man who has made huge contributions to literary communities world wide. He is the author of the recently released magical realism story collection, Katashi Tales, as well as the founder of Motivatinal Strips social media forum, which promotes the unification of authors and people across the globe. I am honored to have him as my author guest today. Please help me welcome Shiju Pallithazheth.
Kaye: You are not only an author, but a scholar, striving to improve yourself and others through the promotion of world literature. Can you share a little about your journey to becoming an author? When did you discover your love of literature? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Shiju: To this context, I would like to narrate my favourite penned quote..
‘My friends used to play with toys in their childhood, while I was playing with tiny English alphabets made of plastic. We all grew up together. They became engineers, doctors, accountants etc. and I ended up being a writer.
Guess that quote narrates the answer.
Kaye: Is there anything unusual or unique about your writing process?
Shiju: Yes! I write fast lest I forget where I started… lol
Kaye: What do you feel is the single most important element in a story?
Shiju: Characters that fit aptly in a plot.
Kaye: What is the most unusual or unique thing you have done so far?
Shiju: I have unified writers from 105 countries for what they love doing. Guess that’s unique and interesting.
Kaye: You are the founder of Motivational Strips, a social media forum designed to celebrate humanity and world literature. What do you hope to achieve with this very selective group of authors?
Shiju: The readers are going berserk to identify quality reads as well as writers. The whole agenda of Motivational Strips is literary unification. It started as a crawling baby ten months back. It withstood will power and today it has daily visitors crossing 130 thousand. So that sums up to 4 million visitors a month.
Kaye: Why do they visit the forum ?
Shiju: They love the literary works of the writers, and feel it’s a safe and secure place to network. The forum has achieved commendable milestones within a short time. All credit goes to its members as well as administration. Today it has World Nations Writers Union as well as Union Hispanomundial De Escritores (UHE) as its associates. World Nation Writers Union had Late Dr Koffi Annan ( Former UN General Secretary) as its co president in the past. UHE has former Costa Rica President and Nobel Prize laureate Dr Oscar Arias Sanchez as its present Hon. President. The above mentioned merger speaks volumes on the mission of Motivational Strips. It has affiliated six other qualitative groups in Facebook for writers so that worldwide writers have variation and choice. So we are liberal on writers’ interest. In a nutshell, Motivational Strips keeps writers interest over its own. The forum has novice beginners to many literary icons and award winning authors. Many Nobel Prize Nominees interact and coach the writers for literary progress. It has more than 60K poems and articles penned by writers from more than 105 nations. Now, does that sound small?
Kaye: Motivational Strips honors and encourages those who have made a significant contribution to world literature. I received a Certificate of Honor, myself. What do you feel has been your own greatest contribution which you have made?
Shiju: I have been one among them, that’s the greatest contribution!
When you want to steer a mighty unification process in literature or any other creative fields, you have to know how to strengthen its roots. The leaders can’t stand away and ask the members to keep the roots firm. The ideal leader is one, who has a desire to learn and to teach relevance. Just like how an editor takes responsibility to edit a book to relevant material, a leader has to jointly interact to keep the basics right.
Kaye: Your collection of magical realism stories with life lessons, Katashi Tales, is coming out in April. What are some of the life lessons you hope to convey with these tales?
Shiju: Katashi Tales is all about morals. It has a storyline that will take the reader through a journey of magical realism. It ends with realities and values to cherish in life. It has varied forms of narration to keep away monotony, as well as expectations. The expectation level of the reader goes up as the chapters progress. The reason why the expectation level goes up is because of the way the stories have been placed. It gives exposure to the reader in meeting different characters and feeling the ambiance in unknown places. Many new places one has never heard of or read about in life will be revealed in the plot. The book speaks for itself. Each of the fifteen stories teaches a different lesson.
Kaye: The stories in Katashi Tales carry with them lessons or morals, similar to western folklore. Do the lessons just unfold as you write the stories, or do you craft the story to fit the lesson?
Shiju: No, it unfolds in unexpected twists and turns in the plot. The story line was never meant or designed with planned thoughts. The characters revealed themselves in my imagination. I felt as if my presence was in the plot, and witnessed them weaving great stories with tiny outlines. It was fun to write those fables. I experienced the feelings and ambiance of the cute characters in the jungle. They were dying to tell their stories. They are adorable innocent characters, that teach us humans, that they have great stories, principles, ethics and morals, as well.
As Katashi Tales is released worldwide, I’m glad to say that, today being second day of its release, the book is already in the No 2 position among best sellers in KOBO.
Kaye: What is the most challenging part for you of writing magical realism?
Shiju: Magical realism is an art in literature that needs great understanding of the readers’ expectation. I feel bringing reality to a fantasy script is the greatest challenge in writing.
Katashi Tales is a typical attempt of magical realism.
Kaye: You write in many genres. What is your favorite type of writing?
Shiju: I do not limit myself to any favourites. Moods and ambiance decide my choice for the season. But humility and interactions has taught me to be a greater learner. I enjoy writing for writers, as well readers. If you go through my posts in Motivational Strips, you will understand the fact, that my favourite is what the writers/readers desire syncs with.
Kaye: What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Shiju: I love researching people’s behaviour, as well mine. Doing a comparison helps a lot in correction of oneself and adaptation to the public mass behavioural patterns.
Kaye: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
Shiju: I’m still learning, I feel that’s a great accomplishment in my life.
Kaye: What is the best piece of advice that was ever given to you?
Shiju: ‘Learn to see the good side of people rather than digging their faulty holes to bring out the trash.’ That was my late grandpa’s advice. I cherish it close to my heart.
Kaye: What is something most of your readers would never guess about you?
Shiju: I’m a busy corporate executive and do rob myself of sleep to promote writers in Motivational Strips, as well affiliates, because of my love for literature.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Shiju: Observe, interact and write. Mistakes are bound to happen as well as success. Take them both in positive spirit. Don’t sell your soul, you can sell your writings though.
I want to thank Shiju for sharing with us today. He’s a man who has done some impressive things for the literary world and the human world, as well, perhaps. Katashi Tales sounds like a wonderful book filled with delightful and meaningful stories. You can learn more about Shiju Pallithazheth or get your copy of Katashi Tales at the following links.
MOTIVATIONAL STRIPS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/252154565336217
KATASHI TALES KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QPVCNGC
KATASHI TALES PAPERBACK: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1094684120
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131274084
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