Tag Archives: YA fantasy; Armen Pogharian; Penny Preston and the Ravens Talisman; Warder series; Misaligned series; author interview

My Interview With Author Armen Pogharian

Armen Pogharian is the author of the Warder and Misaligned young-adult fantasy series, originally published by SynergEbooks. The first book in the Misaligned series, Penny Preston and the Raven’s Talisman, was recently reissued by CamCat Publishing.  It’s a delightful book (see my Amazon review). Here is my recent interview with Armen.

KATHY: Did you always want to be a writer, Armen? What got you interested in writing?

ARMEN: I never considered becoming a writer. In college I did my best to avoid classes with heavy writing loads. I even took Medieval Times as pass fail because it was a ‘paper-based’ class. FWIW, I got an A in the class, even though it shows up as a P. Having kids who were bigtime readers changed things for me.

KATHY: Penny Preston and the Raven’s Talisman is a fantasy that includes multiverse theory and Welsh mythology. Where did you get the idea for this combination?

ARMEN: I wanted to do something Arthurian, but I wanted it to be original. I knew that Tintagel was often cited as a possible location for Camelot. After some research, I found that the King Arthur story has its roots in Welsh mythology. As for the multiverse, well, I’m a bit of a nerd and I thought it would be a neat way to ground the ‘magic’ of the myth in science.

KATHY. I thought your uses of the multiverse was very original. Is the notion of misalignment based on science at all, or did you completely make it up?

ARMEN: Very loosely, in the sense that string theory posits 11 dimensions that interact with each other through complex math. As for evidence that interacting with those dimensions offers solutions to paranormal activity, well let’s just say there’s not a lot peer-reviewed work on the subject.

KATHY: Both of your series, Misaligned and the Warder series are fantasy. What attracted you to this genre?

ARMEN: The Hobbit was the first book that really grabbed my attention. It kindled my imagination and I quickly devoured similar books in the genre. My children also enjoyed fantasy. Since they were the inspiration for my writing, it was a natural place to start.

KATHY: Do you have a favorite character in the story? Can you tell us what it is about that character that speaks to you?

ARMEN: I don’t mean to be a weenie here, but I really don’t have a favorite. There are aspects to each character that I really enjoy. As a writer, I enjoy the relationships between the characters. The Penny/Duncan relationship was a lot of fun to write, especially since it’s primarily from Penny’s perspective. I also really enjoy the Mr. Myrdin/Master Poe dynamic because it allows me to appeal to adult readers.

KATHY: I liked the relationship between Penny and Duncan, too. It seemed very authentic for a couple of 13-years-olds. Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about writing a fantasy/sci fi novel?

ARMEN: Nothing that hasn’t been said better by others. Although if pressed, I’d say the biggest pitfall is writing yourself into a corner and then inventing a magical trapdoor. Avoid that by outlining your story and leaving hints and clues to sharp turns.

KATHY: Which authors do you like to read? How did they impact you as a writer?

ARMEN: Obviously, I enjoyed Tolkien, but I also liked Raymond Feist, David Eddings, and Piers Anthony. Of the more ‘modern’ authors in the genre, I like everything I’ve read by Jonathan Stroud.

KATHY: I was a Tolkien fan, too, when I was young. Could you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Do you always know how the book is going to end?

ARMEN: I always begin with a 1-2 page outline. The points can refer to characters, plot, or even world-building, so they typically don’t conform to chapters. Then I start to write. I tend to write linearly from start to finish, but in almost every book I will do a little bouncing around. As for the ending, I have an idea, but the details are not set in stone.

KATHY: What have you done to market your books? Have you found any marketing strategies to be particularly effective?

ARMEN: Effective marketing is the hardest part of the writing business. For me interacting with readers works well, unfortunately, most YA and middle grade readers are not the buyers. It’s also hard, as a middle-aged man, to interact with that age group over the internet. I’ve had the best success with book signing or meet the author types of events. Of course, those aren’t really happening right now. If by chance you’re a librarian or teacher and interested in booking an in person or virtual visit, please let me know. My rates can’t be beat.

KATHY: Yes, this has been a hard year for writers who depend a lot on personal appearances for book sales. I hear you on that. Did you learn anything about yourself from writing Penny Preston and the Raven’s Talisman?

ARMEN: More than I care to share. I will say that sleep is an incredibly powerful creative tool. Apparently, my conscious mind throttles my creativity. My go to tool for a creative issue or writer’s block is a 10-15 minute nap. The key is to begin writing as soon as I wake up.

KATHY: More than you can share? Now I’m intrigued! Tell me something that your readers would be surprised to hear about you.

ARMEN: I’ve never watched the movies Titanic or Ghost.

KATHY: Wow, even I saw those movies, and I was knee-deep in raising children in the nineties and hardly ever saw a non-Disney movie! I know that the next two books in the Misaligned series will be published by CamCat in the near future.  Are you working on another series now? Can you tell us a little about it?

ARMEN: I’ve got a sixth Warders book, The Pyramid’s Puzzle, that got caught up in CamCat’s acquisition of my old publisher. After lengthy discussion with the publisher, we both agreed that the Warders wasn’t a good fit for them. So, I’ll be self-publishing the entire series, including the never released Pyramid’s Puzzle. Beyond that, I have several loose ideas for a seventh Warders book and a few completely new concepts, too. Basically, once I get through these launches and relaunches, I’ll hunker down and sort through things.

KATHY: Where can we find out about you and your writing?

ARMEN: The best place would be my website http://www.armenpogharian.com/ which also includes my blog, interviews with other authors, and book reviews. I also maintain a Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorArmenPogharian. I have a Goodreads page, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56160609-penny-preston-and-the-raven-s-talisman, which I sadly do not spend enough time on right now.

KATHY: Thanks, Armen. I enjoyed talking to you. Good luck with your projects!

ARMEN: Thank you, Kathy.