Today I am interviewing Anna Mocikat, author of the new fantasy novel, Shadow City.
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DJ: Hi Anna! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Anna Mocikat: Hi DJ! Thank you for your interest in me and my work. I’m excited about this interview.
I studied screenwriting at Film School Munich and worked in the German movie and videogames industry as a screenwriter and game writer for more than ten years before I made my childhood dream come true and published my first novel. I had four books published by a traditional publisher before I left Germany for the US to continue my writing career here. Although I have published before, my recent book Shadow City is in a way my debut since it’s my first book in English for the US market.
DJ: What is Shadow City about?
Anna: Shadow City is Sci-Fi/Dark Fantasy story set in post-apocalyptic LA.
It’s about a tiny human community that must take a stand against super-vicious creatures from another dimension who feed on suffering and violence. Larger-than-life heroes emerge, willing to sacrifice everything in a final clash with the way more powerful enemy. But heroes and villains are not what they seem in Shadow City, and in the end, there is no light and there is no dark, only shadows.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Shadow City?
Anna: I’m an avid video gamer, and fans of the “Fallout” series will surely recognize the influences these games had on Shadow City. Besides, I took inspiration from pen&paper PRGs such as for example Shadow Run. In my book, the city is divided between different factions and inhabited by humans and non-humans, which is very typical for RPGs.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Anna: Shadow City is a multi-plot, which means there’s not one or two main characters, there’s a full ensemble of characters of more or less equal importance.
There is, for example, Colton, a young man who has been found in the wasteland with no memories of who he is and where he came from but who has spectacular abilities. And there’s Bombshell, a female cyborg who’s a total badass with a soft heart hidden below her titanium skin.
On the side of the villains, we have Eurydice, who’s beautiful and a ruthless killer yet never arbitrary in her actions. She hates bullies and has a soft spot for people who show exceptional courage.
And finally, there’s Vincent, who is a visitor from another world and capable of occupying a deceased human body. Is he one of the good guys or the bad guys – it’s hard to tell. But he likes getting drunk and feels hopelessly drawn to Eurydice.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?
Anna: For me, that would be the Overlord of the Dark Ones, which are the main antagonists of the story. He is cunning, highly intelligent and pure evil. Pretty scary guy.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Shadow City like?
Anna: Shadow City is set in a post-apocalyptic LA. The city is almost like a character in the story because the setting is so important. The world as we know it has been destroyed by a horrible, nuclear catastrophe which the survivors call The Glitch. The sun is never shining in Shadow City, the sky is always overcast with thick clouds which let everything appear in faded purplish-grey light.
As the story proceeds, we see many locations that everybody knows from the movies, such as the Griffith Observatory, the Rodeo Drive, the Sunset Blvd, or the LA city hall. However, these famous sights look completely different now, are either destroyed or have been turned into something new by the survivors and their antagonists, the Dark Ones.
There’s only one place left, which can be considered a safe zone, and it has been set up in former Hollywood. An alliance of humans and non-humans is doing everything in their power to keep the people in the Zone safe. This isn’t easy, considering the constant threat of radiation, mutated creatures, and anarchistic raider gangs spread around the city. And then there are, of course, the Dark Ones who want nothing less but kill all living beings and feed on their agony.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Shadow City?
Anna: I enjoyed writing a multi-plot very much. It’s very challenging to write in this style, and I only did it because I’ve been a professional writer for 20 years. At the beginning of my writing career it would have been too complicated for me to write a story like this.
In a way, Shadow City reminds of a TV show, where we usually also see an ensemble of characters with their individual storylines and one main plot arch. However, such shows are usually developed by a team of writers in a “writer’s room”. With Shadow City, it was only me.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Anna: Who or what is Colton?!
That’s the main question readers have after finishing the book. He is the most mysterious character in the story, and everybody wants to know what he truly is. So far, nobody has come even close when guessing so readers can prepare for a big surprise in book 2!
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Shadow City? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Anna: First and foremost, I want to entertain. I want readers to dive into this dark and exciting world for a couple of hours and simply have a good time. With an exciting story and believable characters of which some they would like to have as their friends and others, they are glad they will never meet in real life.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Shadow City that you can share with us?
Anna: I actually would like to share a quote from the second book, which I’m about to finish this month.
There Eurydice says: “Only cowards prey on the weak. I prey on the strong. And so will you.”
I like this quote because it’s basically the whole character in a nutshell. Eurydice plays a significant role in the trilogy, and I like her so much that I put her on the cover of Shadow City. So, no, it’s not a hero on the cover of my book – it’s the villain.
DJ: Now that Shadow City is released, what is next for you?
Anna: As I mentioned before, I’m about to finish book two of the trilogy and would like to publish it next year. Then I’ll start with the third book. Besides, I’m working on a whole new series, which is very different from Shadow City. It’s Dystopian Sci-Fi. So, if people want to read what I write, I have an endless capacity for ideas to entertain them with.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Mocikat/e/B00IW3OO9A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Anna: I would like to encourage readers to get in touch with me when they read Shadow City. I’d love to hear their feedback! My reader’s feedback is the most important for me.
The easiest way to do that is over one of my social media accounts. But I also would very much appreciate it if somebody took the time and wrote a review on Goodreads or Amazon. It helps us indie authors more than anything. Thanks!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Anna: Thank YOU. The questions were very interesting, and I had great fun answering them 😊
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***Shadow City is published by Black Rose Writing and is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
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About the Book:
Los Angeles is an apocalyptic wasteland. The few survivors of a horrific catastrophe live under the constant threat of radiation, mutated creatures, and worse… lurking in the shadows.
In the ruins of the deserted city, the scavengers Jean and Louis come across a nameless stranger and bring him to the only safe zone, once known as Hollywood. What’s left of society is divided among different factions; mistrust, brute force, and anarchy rule every day’s life. If the struggle for survival wasn’t bad enough, the nuclear disaster has shifted realities as we knew them and brought something into our world which threatens to exterminate the human race. Something so dark, that every living being is horrified of it. Something that feeds on suffering and violence.
But humans aren’t alone in this existential fight. Unexpected allies emerge from the shadows and in the final stand, the nameless stranger will decide humanities fate.
About the Author:
I was born in Warsaw, Poland, but have spent most of my life in Munich, Germany, where I attended film school to become a screenwriter.
After my professional education, I worked in the German film industry for several years, mostly as a scriptwriter, but I also produced and directed a few short films which were nominated for and won a couple of awards.
Being a huge fan of videogames since I can remember, I expanded my field of expertise and worked as a game writer in the German video game business for a while before I made my childhood dream come true by getting my first novel published.
I’ve been working as a novelist full-time ever since and there’s nothing I enjoy more than this job.
In 2016 I moved to the US and now live in South Carolina. Always more a fan of tea than coffee, Sothern Sweet Tea is my Ambrosia … but that’s of course only one of the countless things I love about this great country.
When not spending time in the worlds inside my head and writing about them, I enjoy walking my dogs, playing video games on my Xbox, reading, movies, listening to Gothic and Industrial music.
Yes, I’m a geek and proud of it 😉
If you want to hear me talking about the art of writing, my career and my life, check out my interview with Céline Terranova on her podcast The Part-Time Artist: