Saturday, 06 May 2023 | PNS | DEHRADUN
Ambika Vora-Nagino (writing as AA Vora) found a literary agent who believed in her after she endured more than 150 rejections in five years. Shortly after, an editor at Penguin Random House USA devoured her manuscript in one sitting, landing her a significant book deal for her upcoming YA high fantasy trilogy.
With her debut novel, A Spin of Fate, readers will be transported into a mesmerising world filled with magic, adventure and unforgettable characters. Regarding the magic system in her book she says, “My book features a hard magic system, which means I had to lay out its detailed mechanics in a logical way. In contrast to soft magic systems (like The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire) where the rules surrounding the magic are nebulous, hard magic systems (Fullmetal Alchemist, Mistborn) are governed by clear rules and limitations, which also tend to be a central force in driving the plot.
Much of my brainstorming involved defining these rules and ascertaining how they affected the world and plot. In essence, I was a pretend scientist who spent inordinate amounts of time studying pretend phenomena and their interactions.”
Vora has been influenced by Tolkien with the worldbuilding and lore loosely inspired by The Silmarillion, as well as Indian mythology. The magic system drew from Indian philosophy and western fantasy. She says, “Before signing with Penguin Random House, I showed my editor a detailed chapter-wise synopsis of books 2 and 3, with all reveals and plot twists laid out. Having aligned on that made developmental edits flow a lot smoother. It was fun injecting clues into book 1, in the hope that eagle-eyed readers might pick up on them someday.”
Asked about what message she hopes readers will take away from her series, the author said, “I want readers to determine the message for themselves, instead of me telling them how to interpret my story. Without revealing too much, I can say there is plenty of moral ambiguity to be found – in both characters, and the magic system itself.”