It’s my pleasure to host Sadir S. Samir, who joins me to talk about his debut Fantasy novel The Crew, the first book in The God Dust Saga series, which was published on November 29, 2022. You can read my review of The Crew here.
I was lucky enough to meet Sadir a couple of times at conventions, and he was among the very first people who welcomed me into the community when I became a blogger. So I’m really happy to witness his first steps as an author, and give back a little bit of his generosity he showed towards me over the years. Without further ado, let’s meet our guest!
SADIR S. SAMIR spent his first years in the Middle East before moving to Sweden. A passion for storytelling manifested early in childhood, and he always knew that would be his guiding light in life growing up. That passion eventually led him to the video game industry where he’s been working as a game writer and a producer for over a decade. Now he lives in the medieval city of Uppsala, where he writes tales of the fantastical and bizarre.
Connect with Sadir S. Samir
Kings of the Wyld meets Deadpool in this action-packed fantasy adventure set in an Arab-inspired landscape.
Varcade fled to the deserts of Harrah to escape his past as an Educator, a member of an order of zealot warrior-monks that aims to shape the world according to their sacred Teachings by force. Varcade makes his living as a reckless sword-for-hire, caring only about himself, until his self-centered lifestyle is turned on its head when he is contracted to recruit a misfit team of unruly assassins and take out the mighty Bone Lord of Akrab.
But the Bone Lord is aware of the plot and sends her band of Dusters to stop them; individuals who have gained bizarre and lethal magical powers by snorting the pulverised bones of dead gods. Hunted by Educators and Dusters in a city-state where an escalating conflict between the human and demon population threatens to boil over in a civil war, will Varcade and his ragtag crew save Akrab from the cruel Bone Lord, or will they make things even worse?
Welcome to the Asylum, Sadir! Take a seat by the fire and have a glass of beverage of your choice. For those who don’t know you yet, tell me something about yourself that’s not in your bio!
Hi Timy! You have a fire AND you get a beverage of your choice here? This isn’t too shabby for an asylum I have to say! Hmm… I was once attacked by an octopus and had to kill it with my own two hands.
Of course. I’m not a Queen for nothing, duh. I have *manners*. I… need to hear the octopus story. Sounds like a wild experience O.o
Definitely a wild experience! I was just swimming in the ocean when I suddenly felt my leg starting to burn. I look down and see an octopus has wrapped itself around it. At that point it’s man versus beast. I started punching it (obviously) and things got pretty gory as you can imagine. As I got back on the shore, ink was leaking out from the small holes in my leg where the tentacles had attached themselves. Anyhow, that’s Australia for you!
Yikes! Why am I not surprised it was in Australia? Typical. Their wildlife is just crazy. *makes notes to never visit Australia, or at least not to go in the water while there*
Yeah, I also had an incident with jellyfish over there. They burned me pretty bad. I think it was a species called Blue Bottles or something.
What’s with water wildlife and you? Geez. *underlines her previous note about Australia and the water*
What was the most exotic place you’ve visited so far? Did it inspire any of your work? How that experience affected you personally?
I’d say Australia is probably the most exotic place I’ve visited so far. That’s where the “octopus incident” took place. No, I can’t say it did. At least not consciously. Personally, yes, since that’s the only time I got to meet my grandparents (on my mother’s side) before they passed away. So I’m very glad we made the long trip.
I’m glad you got to have that memory of them. I only ever knew one of my grandmothers. Anyway…
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil? Maybe all of the above?
So, I’m like 90% a discovery writer. For The Crew, I only had a one sentence blurb and the seeds for the main characters. All the rest happens on the fly, and then I clean it up in the second draft. For what inspires me, I’d probably say EVERYTHING on some level, then I draw on it subconsciously as I’m writing. I did make a deal with the Devil once though, but that’s unrelated to my writing.
You realize I’ll have to hear that story too at some point, right? Look, Sadir, you aren’t supposed to drop things like that casually and not expect me to get hooked. This is not a novel, it’s a goddamn interview, FFS!
*my lips are sealed*
Rude. Fine, let’s move on.
You are a game writer by profession. I would expect it to be a very different process than writing a novel. What was the most challenging of this transition? What are the main differences between the two types of writing?
Absolutely, they are completely different beasts. You’d think there’s a lot of overlap but there really isn’t due to the mediums being so radically different from each other. Sure, I can use the basics of storytelling in both prose and game writing, but that’s really it.
From the top of my head, I would say the biggest difference is that reading is a “passive” experience where the author is in control of how their story is presented to the reader, but games are interactive, meaning it’s all about the player and how they choose to play the game and the decisions they make.
Your debut novel, The Crew is released on November 29, 2022. Congrats! If you could launch a release party with your MC(s) present, how would that go down?
Thank you! Haha. You’ve read the book, Timy. What do you think? It would be total chaos.
Fair enough… Just keep Zuba away from me. You know what, I’ll just hang out with Dog Man here in the corner making sarcastic comments about everyone.
I think it’s better for everyone if Zuba’s invitation gets lost in the mail.
Mhm. You are probably right.
Talking about The Crew, what was the main inspiration for the story? Which aspect of the book was the most challenging to write and why?
The main inspiration for The Crew really stems from me trying to write something completely different from the first novel I ever wrote. That one was outlined from beginning to end, and I spent months preparing everything (the world, characters, plot etc) before I typed the first word. As I mentioned earlier, I basically went in blind when writing The Crew. No outline or anything. I also wanted it to take place in one city, because my previous novel was an epic fantasy with multiple POVs that played out on a much bigger global scale.
The biggest challenge was writing a humorous story when at certain times life was hard due to personal reasons. It’s not easy to feel funny and adventurous when real life is kicking your ass.
I hear you… I’m sorry you had a rough time. I guess we all had it hard in the past few years.
It’s part of life, you know? Ups and downs. We live and we learn, and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I really believe in that.
Which character of your book do you identify with the most? What have you learned from them (if anything)?
Zuba the Mad Puppeteer. Just kidding!
LOL. And I took you seriously for a moment… you bastard! 😂
Okay, let me be serious. So, being a refugee myself and growing up in Sweden definitely mirrors some of the struggles the demons experience in the book. Maybe I’ll openly talk about this more in-depth at some point in the future.
I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like. While I get how it feels like to be different, to be an outsider, I also realize that’s completely different from suddenly dropping into a whole another culture, trying to adapt and not lose your identity completely. It sure is a whole other conversation though, and I hope one day you’ll be able to talk about it 🙂 I, for one, will be here to listen.
But let’s go back to the topic at hand. If you were a character in your book, how would you be described? And what your profession/role would be? How long do you think you would survive?
I would be a criminal Duster with some weird-ass power and wreak havoc until I snorted too much God Dust and turned into a Taken.
Huh. I didn’t expect you to pick that route.
Me neither, it came to me on the fly 😆
Based on the early reviews, The Crew seems to be a hit with readers, which must be a relief as a debut author. Is there something you will do differently for the sequel? Writing or otherwise. What were the most valuable lessons you’ve learned on the road to publishing?
It’s a MASSIVE relief and I’m so incredibly grateful. It’s honestly mind blowing.
Again touching on the discovery writer theme: since the next book is the second one in a trilogy, I did a *little* bit more planning before I started writing it. I can’t wing it fully as I did with The Crew.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to stay true to who I am and be the author I want to be.
Without any spoilers, what we can expect from the sequel to The Crew?
I mean, it goes without saying, but expect more of the craziness of the first book. We will also learn a lot more about the world while raising the stakes.
Obviously. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more!
I’m afraid our time is coming to a close. While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you to invite one visitor (fictional and otherwise) – who would you invite? And no, they can’t help you to escape.
I don’t want to escape! I’m feeling at home here.
Aww 🥰 I’m happy to hear that!
Hmm… Probably Stan Lee if you have the power to bring him back to life. He is to me what Tolkien is to many other fantasy authors. I did not grow up with Tolkien since I’m not that old, but comics, especially Marvel, have been with me for as long as I’ve been able to read.
I can’t make promises, but I’ll do what I can…
Well then, it was a pleasure to have a chat with you! Please allow these nice attendants to escort you out. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *escorts Zuba in and locks the door*
Aw… I was having such a good time and now you’re kicking me out? Oh well. *whispers* I’ll come save you, Zuba, don’t worry.
Well… that’s awkward. You see, here in the asylum we have a “once you are in, you are in” policy. You are obliged to stay now. Our stupid pet demon ate the page with the small print again, I see. You’ll get a nice room and we kindly provided you with company. Enjoy your time with Zuba!
That’s too much time with Zuba! Get me outta here!
Grab a copy of The Crew by Sadir S. Samir, or read my review!