Author interview with Raven Kamali

In this author interview, I speak to Raven Kamali, a self-published author of three novels, historical essays and poetry.

The Amazon links used here are affiliate links — I will receive a small commission from Amazon for any purchases you make. Thank you for supporting my website!

Raven Kamali reached out to me on Twitter about an interview, and I was really excited to speak to this multi-talented writer!

Raven has written across genres, publishing works in historical fiction, horror and sci-fi. Not only that, but she has written plenty of historical essays (having an ancient history background) as well as poetry. Her works are all independently published, with two available through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

Her third and latest book, I am Chaos, was released on 30th August 2021 and is available on Amazon (this is an affiliate link), which I will be reviewing on my blog soon!

I spoke to Raven about her writing journey and where her inspiration comes from — read our interview below!

Raven KamaliTell me about yourself.

I live in Australia. I am a full-time writer. I write in different genres as well as poetry and non-fiction historical essays on ancient Rome. I am currently working on a book that investigates the lives of the women of the Julian-Claudian dynasty of imperial Rome.

Can you tell me about your latest book, I am Chaos?

I began writing I am Chaos years ago when I was writing short stories on Reddit. It was a four-part short story which I later expanded into a novella. The story was inspired by Doctor Faustus but with a different twist as I wanted to inject some of our current political and social issues into the story.

Where did your ideas and inspiration come from?

Though I dream most of my stories, they are always inspired by real-life experiences or something that I have read.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

The Dark Side of Glory cover

I never aimed at being a writer. I wanted to be an ancient historian. I went to university to study ancient history and the classical Latin and Greek languages. It was not until the start of my PhD that I changed my mind and instead chose writing as a career. And the reason was that I wanted to bring to life major historical events that took place in Judea and Rome between 7BC-AD9 – from the last years of the reign of Herod the great to the battle of the Teutoburg Forest in Germany which cleaved Europe in half and created two cultures: the Latin and the Germanic. The importance of the latter can never be understated as many modern historians believe that the two great wars had their origin in the battle of Teutoburg. Thus, the PhD had to be sacrificed for The Dark Side of Glory to be born as I could not do both. I am also a busy single mum.

However, the journey of writing such a novel was not to be easy. It would take me ten years to complete it. The problem was that I knew not everyone shared my passion for ancient history and I didn’t want to write this book just for history buffs. So, my task was to show these historical events through the eyes of compelling characters with compelling lives.

Now, as a writer I found myself to be a pantser, not a plotter. This had its advantages and disadvantages because I didn’t know who my characters will be and what they would do in the book. The main protagonist and the antagonist were there in my mind but I didn’t know their full stories yet.

Their stories gradually evolved as I allowed my characters freedom to live their lives in the pages I was writing, and they all became part of my daily life. I laughed, I cried and I gasped with the people of my book. They were now people and not just characters.

When I finished my manuscript I sent it to a wonderful test-reader whom I had chosen because she had no interest in history. She was only interested in detective novels. I told her to be brutally honest with me. My thinking was that if I could make her interested in my book, then I had a winner on my hands. She was a busy lady with a full-time job and four children. She read the manuscript, which was 140,000 words, in four days and said that she couldn’t put it down. She gave me a detailed analysis of the characters and told me that the book was a masterpiece.

On the night the book was released, I cried, for I was saying goodbye to the people with whom I had shared my life for ten unforgettable years. My test reader received a signed copy of the book and since then the book has been circulating around her family and friends.

Did you write many books/stories before your first book was published?

Yes. I wrote a lot of short stories when I was on Reddit, while at the same time I was working on my historical fiction The Dark Side of Glory which took ten years to complete due to extensive research.

You have published 3 novels so far — how has your writing style changed from the first to your latest? Are there any recurring themes throughout your books?

My style of writing changes according to the genre in which I am writing, so it is a process of adaptation rather than evolution.  And yes, there is a recurring theme throughout my books. My spiritual journey through life. Like many people I am in search of answers. Is there a purpose to life? Is there a God? These questions are discussed in subtle ways in my three books.

What is your writing desk like?

I used to have a writing desk when I had a desktop computer but since I switched to a laptop, I don’t have one.

Do you have a writing routine? Tell me about that.

I work usually from 9am to 9pm, though it may vary at times. As a writer, I am a pantser, so I do not plan my stories in advance. What happens is that the title comes to me first and then an idea or concept for a story. How it ends depends how the story writes itself.

Have COVID and lockdowns changed your writing goals?

The lockdowns have not affected me at all. I am a loner and I hardly leave my place. But the anxiety of COVID has affected me and has interrupted my writing.

The cover of I am Chaos by Raven KamaliWhy did you decide to go self-published? What was the process like?

It was not a difficult decision for me to go self-published. I didn’t want to waste my time on the tedious work of writing query letters, enduring rejections, then even after finding an agent and them finding a publisher, wait two years for my book to get published. Moreover, I wanted complete freedom over my work.

I found the whole process of self-publishing quite enjoyable. However, it is important to be aware that promoting your work takes a great deal of time and effort as well as patience.

What have people’s reactions been when you tell them that you are an author?

Extremely positive. They want to talk to me and learn about my work. Not long ago, I had a lovely experience with my dentist. I had given her a signed copy of my book The Dark Side of Glory as I have been talking to her for so long that she was eager to read it. So, when she received the book, she started reading it in her office due to a cancellation. She told me later that she was so engrossed in reading it that she forgot about the next patient and the secretary had to come and get her. She read the book in two days because she couldn’t put it down and since then she has lent it to her family and friends. I have had similar experiences with other people who read the book.

What is your favourite thing about being an author? What have been your favourite or more proud moments?

To share my stories. My favourite moment is when I begin to write a book. The proudest moment is when I see the print copy in my hand.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? (Either about writing or just life in general!)

Fortune favours the brave.

A quote from Virgil and the best advice in life.

Who are some of your favourite indie authors, and favourite bloggers?

I do not have a favourite author yet as I have to read a lot more books and writing has been so time consuming that doesn’t leave for much reading. But I do have two favorite bloggers.

One is Brandon Lee of Roman History. This blog regularly posts interesting information about the Roman Empire, including pictures of archaeological sites and historical facts. It also promotes books about Roman history and fiction set in the Roman world. They also have a Facebook page where people can chat about Roman history.

The other is Neil of The Medjay of Fayium (Book Blogger/Reviewer).

Can you share one of your favourite quotes from one of your books?

It is never wise to allow ourselves to be consumed by the regrets of the past at the expense of ignoring the demands of the present. For to do so will create more regrets for the future.

— from The Dark Side of Glory.

About Raven Kamali

I am a multi-genre author. I have written in a variety of genres, including science fiction, historical fiction and horror. I have also written poetry and non-fiction essays on the Roman Republic. My first novel, Adam, is a political science fiction that deals with artificial intelligence. My second novel, The Dark Side of Glory, is a historical fiction set in ancient Judea and Rome. My third, and latest, novel, I am Chaos, is a horror story inspired by Doctor Faustus.

You can find out about all of Raven’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

The Amazon links used here are affiliate links — I will receive a small commission from Amazon for any purchases you make. Thank you for supporting my website!