Anna is also giving away a free copy of The Fox's Mask to one lucky reader! Giveaway details are at the end of the article.
BOOK GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!
“Why” is the question most often posed to writers. Readers seem eager to find out why authors write or why they write this instead of that. In my case, I might get any of these: Why feudal Japan? Why fox shapeshifters? Why LGBT characters? Okay then, let’s talk about why.
Writers are like vacuum cleaners: they suck in everything they come across. This accumulated mass of experience, knowledge and odd facts eventually births story ideas. If you go digging, you can usually tell where the author found inspiration and why they write what they write.
In my case, the digging doesn’t need to be very deep. I spent a sizeable chunk of my teenage years devouring Japanese media, primarily anime (animated shows) and manga (graphic novels) with fantasy or sci-fi themes. Some of you might recall when shows like Sailor Moon and Gundam Wing were running on TV for the first time. Guess what I was watching!
One of the things that always fascinated me in Japanese media is the occasional casual inclusion of non-conforming characters. Sometimes they’re crossdressers. Sometimes they’re girly boys or boyish girls. Sometimes they’re people who fall in between labels. There isn’t always background given: some of those characters simply are. To name an example from a popular show, there’s Haku from Naruto. When the main character meets Haku, he addresses him as a girl and Haku doesn’t bother to correct him. This, to me, is hugely interesting.
I also adore the concept of “kitsune,” or fox shapeshifters. They’re a little similar and yet completely unlike the European werewolf. Whereas the werewolf is a human who turns into a wolf and is usually portrayed as a bloodthirsty monster, the fox shapeshifter is a fox who turns into a human at will and is usually portrayed as an intelligent trickster.
Add to these interesting topics the fact I took three years of Japanese classes and spent a month gallivanting around Japan. In the end, it’s no surprise that I ended up crafting a story set in a fantasy version of feudal Japan. All these accumulated experiences and interests had to come out somehow. It’s equally unsurprising that my main characters are less than straight, considering my strong support for LGBT rights and the queer people in my life.
All these facts together are the WHY behind The Fox’s Mask. Now, what about what’s IN it? I might say it’s fantasy filled with shreds of truth.
Here are some historical and/or mythological facts I used to weave my story:
- Ninja did exist in the past, although the favored historical term is “shinobi.” They were simply spies and saboteurs, people who employed warfare methods completely different from those of the knight-like samurai.
- There was once such a thing as Buddhist warrior monks. Buddhism is generally perceived as a peaceful religion, but in feudal Japan there arose armies of warrior monks who fought for their specific monastic order. Their signature weapon was the spear but they could also use daggers, swords and bows.
- In Japanese folklore, foxes have the power of assuming a human form. They do this to trick people in various ways. They might for example take a pretty female form to beg food. Sometimes they shapeshift to seduce humans. Interestingly, even male foxes might turn into women to seduce men.
If you’d like to know how I weaved ninja, warrior monks and shapeshifting foxes into my fiction, why not leave a comment for a chance to win a free e-copy? Be sure to leave an email address so I can get into touch with you if you win. I'll make the draw three days from now because I don't believe in waiting for books you want to read. ;)
Giveaway is international.
To enter, leave a comment to this post that includes your email address. If initial winner cannot be contacted, a new winner will be chosen at the author's discretion.
Winner will be chosen by random.org.
Winnings = 1 ebook version of The Fox's Mask by Anna Frost.
Ebook format will be determined between the winner and the author. Different formats are available.
By entering this giveaway you acknowledge that you are at least 13 years of age.
Giveaway closes 3 days from the date at the top of this post.
About the author:
Anna Frost is a Canadian girl who spends her winters writing and dreaming of summer. An overdose of Japanese culture and media inspired her to write fantasy novels based on Japanese myths and legends. She hides out at frostanity.blogspot.ca.
About The Fox's Mask:
Demon hunter Akakiba keeps many secrets from his human companion. The fact he's a werefox isn't the worst one...
In feudal Japan, magic is dying. As a demon hunter, Akakiba finds this problematic. The evil he’s been trained to destroy is disappearing and, along with it, the shape-shifting abilities of the clan he left behind. With his only companion, a determined young human named Yuki, Akakiba traverses the country slaying demons and performing odd jobs.
But when an army of demon-possessed humans masses to exterminate his clan, Akakiba must put aside old feuds and protect his family–all while hiding an important secret from Yuki. Will they find a way to defeat the demon-possessed before it’s too late? With magic dwindling, will it matter either way?
Musa Publishing (includes excerpt!)
Thank you so much for joining us today, Anna!
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