It's not often I get an acutal fan letter nowadys with emails and twitter and Facebook and whatnot so I was well chuffed when one arrived yesterday. So, Chris had a few qeustions about the Ash books that I thought I'd answer here. Okay with you? Excellent.
1. Why Rama and Sita? Well, I knew I wanted to write about Indian Mythology and so I was going to pick the biggest myth there was, the Ramayana. It's also the most easily accessible to the new reader. So, even if you don;'t know anything about Indian Myth, the Ramayana is the most straightforward. Prince Rama goes to defeat the demon king Ravana to rescue his wife, the Princess Sita. There. All you need to understand. Then, there is the idea of Rama being an avatar of Vishnu, and I love the idea of eternal heroes returning at times of great peril. This led to the idea of Ash being the Eternal Warrior, and freed me to go into other eras and heroes. In the first Ash book you discuss Ash was Rama. In book 2 you find out he was the emperor Ashoka. Then in book three a soldier from WW1 and also (my fav) Spartacus. I reference many, many other past lives but those are the main ones.
2. Rama and the two aastras. In Ash #1 Rama has to pick between the Vishnu aastra and the Kali-aastra. I must admit, I made that up. In Indian mythology Rama is an avatar of Vishnu. I was just providing internal logic to MY version. I will be the first to admit I have made modifications to the original story!
3. Have I written any other books apart from the Ash trilogy? Yes. Check out DEVIL'S KISS and DARK GODDESS. Equally badass they're about the Knights Templar and a teen girl, Billi SanGreal, whose been trained up to take on the Unholy. Just think of Billi as Ash's older, more violent sister by another mister.
4. The Ash Mistry trilogy (in order) is ASH MISTRY AND THE SAVAGE FORTRESS. ASH MISTRY AND THE CITY OF DEATH. ASH MISTRY AND THE WORLD OF DARKNESS. All three are out now in the UK.
5. Research for the Ash books took about two years. I've visited India, Pakistan, Tibet and China to make sure the details of the locations in each were correct.
Anyway, I hope that helps!