Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.
*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.
Fave Five Bookish Inspirations
by Joshua Khan
Hmm, bookish inspirations. I get asked about fav books and authors, so will try something different. No books will be mentioned at all.
This is how I learnt the craft of storytelling. It’s why I feel more a teller of tales than a writer, my writing skills are pretty basic, my ‘O’ level English was taken in 1983 and since then it’s been a lot of maths, physics and chemistry. My training was as an engineer and that’s what I did for almost 20 years (actually 19 years, eleven months and 20 days).
So, lets talk Dungeons and Dragons. I pretty much ran weekly adventures from the age of about 13 till my mid twenties, then on and off since then. The Christmas roleplay has become a bit of a tradition too. All genres, ranging from the classic fantasy to cowboys, aliens, horror, pirates, superheroes and everything in between.
Oh lord, I love comics. In fact, I wanted to be an artist rather than writer, but never quite made the grade, so here I am. My favs have to be the larger than life superheroes (I am DC through and through) but also the British 2000AD sci-fi comic which I collected from 1980 till 1994, never missing a single issue (and it was weekly!). The collection is up in the loft, all yellow and curled, I must do something about it one day. I was a reluctant reader when young, comics was my way in. I’d spend hours tracing then copying the artwork, going over the story again and again, savouring my fav artists and eagerly awaiting the next action-packed instalment! The comic medium remains on the periphery, it’s awesomeness still not fully acknowledged, especially considering how much it now inspires Hollywood.
TV BOXED SETS
We live in the age of indulgence, don’t we? No longer the weekly wait for the next episode, but we want it all and we want it right now. And spoilers! Everyone is in a race to spoilerize the latest GoT or whatever. I blame Twitter.
Still, check out the quality. With HD at home, tv is now rising to overtake film in production and quality. Sets are amazing, the writing is top-notch and actors are bringing their best game, not slumming it like they once felt the did in tv-land. I think tv adapts books best of all, it allows the story time, not squeezing it into 2 hours. So you get all the depth, all the subtlety, and the vastness of novels, now in the comfort of your home on the flat-screen. No more leaving the cinema complaining about how the cut out your favourite scene or character. Apart from the obvious (GoT, Breaking Bad) I loved the recent War and Peace, the Musketeers, adore Vikings and have a soft spot for the new Lucifer series. And if anyone high up in a tv production company is reading this, bring back Constantine! He was great!
It expands the mind. Now I’m not talking about sitting by the pool in the hotel. Get out. Travel by bus or rickshaw. Eat street food. Go to the local club or theatre, check out the concert in the park. Queue up for a train ticket. I spent my twenties abroad, living in Hong Kong and travelling the Far East, Mid-East, Asia and Africa. It was amazing. But then walking in a forest in England, marching across Hadrian’s Wall in the pouring rain. Camping in a bog, with the thunder overhead and lightning flashing on the horizon.
Sure, you can be a good, even popular writer with having done nothing but sat at home and spent all your time writing, never having stepped outside your door. But life’s to be lived, people are out there to be met, chatted to, meals to be shared. In Cambodia I walked the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge and climbed the towers of Ankor Wat (this is back when you still could!), seen a country at its highest and lowest. Taken four day bus journeys across the Tibetan plateau and dining on dog in Canton. Yeah, that was a dare. Get out your door. The writing will always be there.
I spent so long working in an office or building site. Out early, back late. But what writing has offered me is a chance to see my kids grow up. I quit the day job the year my youngest started primary school. I took her to her first class. I’ve been there with homeworks, missing P.E kits and school trips and hanging out in the playground to collect them and teaching them to ride bikes and swimming lessons. I cherish each and every moment and my life would have been far, far poorer without that time, as it is fleeting and you can never get in back. That also tempers my writing. It’s a means to an end. There is joy in doing it, a great pleasure and honour too, but the golden moments of my life are not book related. Though I remember getting my first ever book deal and it was damn sweet!
Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.
Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.