Interview with Author A.J. Raven

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a 25 year old writer named Farid-ul-Haq and I write under the penname is A.J. Raven. I did my B.Sc honors in Biotechnology, with Psychology as my second major. I also recently completed my M.Phil degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Along with being a published author I’m a content writer for the website called TheGeekiary where I review various TV shows, comic books, games, manga, anime, and more. I’ve also started a YouTube channel called Aj Raven where I put up vlogs and various videos that include laboratory protocols for different experimental techniques, parodies of music videos, etc. Other than that I like to draw and sketch, keep myself healthy, and always try to do things that make me happy.

How did you come up with the title of “Arousing the Legacy”?

It was my publisher who came up with it. ‘Arousing the Legacy’ is actually four books-in-one that are part of my YA/Paranormal/Mystery series called the Colville Mysteries. I finished writing book one ‘Colville-The Secret’ when I was fourteen years old and over the years I wrote the other three books in the series. Readers have noticed my writing style change for the better as I continued growing older and writing the series. When the time came to publish my work, my publisher suggested the title and releasing four books as a collection. The title fits with the story as the premise of the story revolves around the main teenage characters experiencing paranormal occurrences in their small town. What they don’t know yet is that some of them are part of a legacy that will change their lives and the world!

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What is your favorite character of “Arousing the Legacy”?

That’s a tough one. I like all my characters as they have something to add to the story I want to share with my readers. They all have flaws, even the good guys, and that’s what makes them relateable o readers. However, if I were to choose I would have to say Anya, the teenage female lead in Arousing the Legacy. She starts off as high school girl who would get a crush on any handsome boy, and is very emotional. But she grows throughout the four books in the series and understands what’s really important in life. I hope to grow her more as a character in future installments.

Friendship is very important to her. She doesn’t hesitate to face danger on her own if it means her friends will stay safe. Even though she’s the main lead of the story, she’s also a teenager and thus, she makes mistakes. She has flaws and acts selfishly at times but when push comes to shove she will do whatever she can help protect the people around her.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?

I just enjoy writing mysteries. I like taking my readers for a ride full of twists and turns, and then offering an enjoyable and surprising end. I just like to keep my readers guessing and anticipating what will come next as they read the pages of my work.

How would you describe your writing style?

I would describe my writing style as very easy to read. I don’t like using big or complicated words. Why make readers confused and force them to open a dictionary when telling a story? If it can be conveyed in easy to understand words then why not use them? I also like ending every chapter at a cliffhanger or a big reveal whenever I can. However, I always finish my story with a proper conclusion. I don’t like leaving major plot points unresolved as I feel that readers deserve a proper ending to a story rather than be left hanging for mere shock value when they reach the last line of a book.

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What authors inspire your writing?

I grew up reading books by R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Enid Blyton, Emily Rodda, Jane Austen, and J.K. Rowling. I also greatly enjoyed The Lord of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, and one day being capable of writing a novel of such caliber is a dream of mine!

What would you like to be if you weren’t a writer?

I think I’m already some of the things I wanted to be along with being a writer. Even if I take being an author out of the equation I’m still a scientist, psychologist, painter, and YouTuber. Other than that I would like to be someone with the power to control the weather like Storm from X-Men, or the ability to do magic like Raven from Teen Titans! Also being a loving father to a whole bunch of kids would be nice.

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What are you working on now?

My latest book “The Escaped Murderer of Somerville” got released on 16th December, 2015. It is book three in the YA/Mystery series called ‘Somerville Mysteries’, which follows a teenage boy named Jerry Matthews and his friends as they uncover mysteries around town. This series doesn’t have a paranormal element like the Colville Mysteries, yet, but there are connections between the two, and I envision doing a huge crossover in the future.

Currently, I’m working on book four in the Somerville Mysteries as well as book five in the Colville Mysteries series. I don’t know which one I’ll complete first but I hope to publish one if not both sometime this year.

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Do you have any advice for new authors?

Never give up. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t able to get your work published as soon as you write it.

Don’t let rejection letters bring you down. Getting your work published takes time. The good thing is that you can choose from a variety of options.  You can self-publish, get your work traditionally published by a famous publishing house, or get it released through a small publisher.

Another thing I would like to say that, if you are able to, get yourself a good editor, especially if you wish to self-publish. A lot of times a great story is bogged down by mistakes that could’ve been rectified through a bit of editing. If you can’t afford an editor, then ask your friends to beta read your story. Try your best to be open to constructive criticism because what you think is awesome doesn’t guarantee the readers thinking the same. There’s always room for improvement! Even the best of authors have the best of editors!

What’s important is that you keep believing in yourself and keep on writing. Surely, even if slowly at first, you will no doubt gain the audience you deserve.

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