A.J. Navab, author of Daybreak

What inspires you to write?

What inspired me to write my current novel, Daybreak, was actually music. I was listening to a song called “Gravity of Love” by Enigma a few years back and the scenes of my novel just started playing in my head.  Music often does that to me and I just start writing. Sometimes if I get stuck on a scene, I just put on my headphones, and jam to music that matches the scene in my head and it gets my creativity going

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I’ve always loved fantasy and action as a genre be it in books or movies. I think it’s amazing to create worlds, characters, magic, and rules from something that doesn’t exist. And to see them fight and brawl in it is really fun. Even as an audience, I love seeing what others come up with in terms of fantasy and action. It’s simply fascinating. I chose Japan for Daybreak because it just seemed like an ideal setting for an urban fantasy story with demons running loose. Also, I think it’s fair to say I was motivated by anime. Some of the settings I saw were so beautiful that I just had to use them in my story.

Do you work with an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?

It’s a bit of both. For Daybreak, I already had the beginning, end, and middle decided in my head along with where the most important chapters or occurrences in the story had to go. The only thing I needed to do then was connect each scene to another as flawlessly as possible. For that, I had to do a little bit of an outline so the characters’ ages and timelines matched since the story explores different parts of the main characters’ life in some scenes and that had to go together with the overall plotline. But usually, I always have an idea of where I’m going with the story without outlines.

Tell us more about your main character. What inspired you to develop this character?

I wanted to create characters that fell into my favorite tropes but aren’t too clichéd and that’s how I came up with the idea of my two main characters – Mirai and Mafuyu. Mirai is a Demon Hunter who had quit his job. Mafuyu is suddenly assigned as his bodyguard and is still working as a Hunter. They are both, along with a group of others, extraordinary folks in an ordinary world. I didn’t want them to have the ‘I hate you, I’m going to argue with you until one of us nearly dies’ trait. I wanted them to understand each other and work together in ways they knew best. To create a brotherly bond without any love triangles or romance gripping them. Which is something I haven’t seen for main characters in most fantasy books. When it comes to developing the story, Mafuyu lays the foundation for the events and Mirai is the key to moving it forward.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Mine would be Nagisa. I wanted to create a strong supporting character that is female. She is the captain of her unit and knows how to keep things under control. She is quick-witted, kind and one of the strongest fighters the organization has. I wanted to make her a total badass that isn’t snarky or sarcastic. Instead, she is well-mannered when she is talking and scarily silent when she is angry. And she is someone that Mirai and Mafuyu can undoubtedly rely on.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think I would go with Japanese and Korean actors if my book was made into a movie since the setting is in East Asia.

What role does research play in your writing?

A whole lot. Daybreak has fictional languages that I created from a mix of Asian tongues. There are also names that were based on Hebrew. Most of the characters have names that have a definite meaning to the story so I had to research that quite a bit so it wasn’t just random naming. And since I never lived in Japan, I had to read through places and towns that I thought would fit well for the scenarios. You know, places that aren’t heavily populated…old towns….stuff like that.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Wow, I have a top ten list for these guys but I’ll stick to 7 of them for this question. For books, I would say Kaladin and Legolas. From anime, I would say Gaara, Gintoki , Kageyama Shigeo and Tokuchi Toua. From movies, Captain Jack Sparrow – it’s hard not to love this guy. These guys are intelligent badasses that know how to kick butt. And I love those kinds of characters!

What do you like to read in your free time?

Crime and thriller novels, and mangas. I’m not a fan of horror movies but I like reading horror books.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Who knows? Maybe Lara Croft? But jokes aside, maybe a movie director.

Want to learn more about AJ and get the book?

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