Sunday, January 2, 2011

Author Interview: Daniel A. Cohen

Daniel Cohen, author of The Ancillary's Mark, took some time out to answer some questions for the blog. Read on for more info on his book, writing, and The Grateful Dead.

Is there any real information behind the Ancillary flower or something similar to it? I spent some serious time Googling it to no avail.
No, I made up the myth a while back and crafted the book around it. It was a lot of fun creating all the different stories about the flower, especially because the novel required that I make up different myths about it from around the world. My favorite is the African one about Darkness and his oppression of little Sun. And if anyone out there wants to use the flower for their own stories, that would be wicked awesome.

Jacob was by far one of the quirkiest and most loveable characters I’ve ever read. Was he, or any other characters, inspired by real individuals?
Haha, we should absolutely be friends then, because I put A LOT of myself into Jacob. I'm not as quirky (and I'd like to think not as awkward) as he is, but I really poured my personality and feelings into him. Clark was my favorite character besides Jacob, and he was influenced by the excitable and often overzealous comic-book geek inside of me.

Much of the story takes place in Tibet. Have you ever traveled there?

No, never been, but I would like to go, if it becomes possible one day.

If you were to ingest some of the Ancillary flower, how do you think your untapped potential would manifest?

Oh man, that's an easy one. I would grow taller and bald slower (I'm only 22 and already my hairline is running away from my eyebrows). But on a more serious note, I'm at the point in my life where I'm transitioning into the real world, and it is unbelievably confusing and frightening. I would hope that the Ancillary would smooth the transition, and help me become the great writer that I want to be.

Is there anything you absolutely need while writing? (Drinks, snacks, music, etc.)
I LOVE coffee while I write. It's funny because I never used to drink it, but now I know why it's a stereotype.

If you could live in any book for a day, what book would you choose?
I know it's Cliche, but I've always wanted to live in Harry Potter. Me and Harry were always the same age when the books came out and I felt like I grew up with him. And what a fun world (besides the whole Voldemort fiasco, man that dude was a jerk).

What are some of your favorite books and favorite authors?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho got me through some really tough times. I actually mention it in my book because I have such a fondness for its message. City of Thieves by David Benioff, and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card are some of my favorites as well.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?

I play rock saxophone, and a few years back, my band got to play at Mountain Jam with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Robert Randolph, Gov't Mule, and Ozomatli, some of my favorite artists. We got to hang backstage and met some crazy characters, like this guy named Peace Poet Paul, who put a brass bowl over our heads and rang it like a gong. I'm not sure what it was supposed to do, but it was wild.

Are you currently working on any other books?
I am, and I am so thrilled about the next one. It's almost finished and I'm working on the final edits. The working title is Sam Lock and the Torn Veil. I wanted to create a unique take on magic and build a society of my own around it. It's taken a few years, but I couldn't be happier with the way it's turned out. I wondered if, instead of an outcast, what would happen if I took a popular and arrogant high school football player and, for reasons I won't give away, he ends up in this magical world? It has turned out to be incredibly fun to write and I am way too excited (kind of like Clark) for it to be completed.


Kirthi said...

Cool, I've never heard of a rock saxophone!
And Daniel? Harry Potter is the best type of cliche, I've wanted to live in his world too!!! ~I'm crying~
I look forward to reading your book!

~The Book Pixie said...

This reminds me, I stll need to read Harry Potter. lol. Daniel sounds really fun and I like when author's put a bit of themselves into their characters. I used to want to play the saxophone when I was getting ready to join band but we already owned a flute that had been my sister's so flute it was. Great interview! :D


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