A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature.
First of all, congratulations on your book, The Last King, being a top 100 bestseller on Amazon!
Thank you. It’s actually been in the Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Women's Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. I am very excited about it, especially since the book hasn't even been fully released, yet.
You're releasing The Last King in episodes, right?
Right. Amazon has requested that I call the episodes volumes. So I am about to release episode 4 next. Here are the links for the first three episodes of The Last King. I hope your readers will enjoy them and download the others.
The Last King: Book I, Episode #1
The Last King: Book I, Episode #2
The Last King: Book I, Episode #3
Tell me about that process. Why release the book in pieces?
Well, actually I'm taking something old and try to make it new again. In the 19th century, authors like Charles Dickens and Alexander Dumas would release segments from their upcoming books in periodicals on a monthly or weekly basis. It sort of helped to build readership and helped them connect to their audiences. And that’s exactly what I want to do. In fact, in some cases, those 19th century writers would slowly release a book over a period of more than two years! My time frame is about a year and a half. And of course, I am doing it digitally. This is the first book in The Last King trilogy and it will be chopped up into about 14 volumes (episodes). Each episode is made up of five chapters.
So what is The Last King about?
It tells the story of a young woman named Emmy Hughes who, in modern times, innocently finds herself caught in the midst of a game of wits between two rivals - God, and these immortal beings called Edenites whose ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life.
God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill the Edenite off.
It turns out that Emmy discovers that she is a the Glitch of a rather imposing Edenite named Gilead Knightly. Now he has to get rid of her before she “wakes up” and gets rid of him. Problem is, Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat, but also their greatest love. And so the game begins.
Wow. Okay. That covers a lot of territory. Now your book is not typical of what one thinks of when they hear the words Fantasy Romance, is it?
No. It's a fantasy book that takes place in present day New York, well upstate New York that is. It’s a fantasy world full of cars, cell-phones and modern contraptions. But it’s still a fantasy world.
And the book covers several genres at once?
Yes. The book is classified under Science-Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Women's fiction, Religion and African-American literature. By the time the second book in the trilogy comes out, I am really going to have to throw in History as a category, too. Ha ha. I wish I could tailor it down to less genres, but it's an epic book and that’s just how it’s going to be.
Do you think all those genres will deter readers?
I hope not. In fact, I am hoping that audiences are looking for something new and different. So why not go for a book that has it's feet in a myriad of categories? Of course, it will be up to the readers to decide if I've done a good job of balance with all the genres. We shall see.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Oh, yes. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother's living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. And I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That's what I want to be able to do as a writer - to move people with my words.
What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Well, I must admit that, as a writer, I have always dreamed of of writing The Great American Novel. Is that a bad thing to confess? I don’t know. It's a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires me to want to be excellent. I guess you could say my ultimate goals, however, are to educate and inspire.
Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Absolutely. For example, I intentionally do not have my character's curse or take God's name in vain. I chose not to cross that line even though my main character hates God and is angry with him. I believe, as a Christian, I am not called to do those things, even in literature. So I have had to be real creative in how my characters vent their frustrations.
I also could not help but bring God into the story. He is literally the One behind this intriguing game that Gilead and Emmy must play with one another. I know for some people these are not always topics they want to read about it, but I’ve tried to put it in a unique format. Since the book takes place in New York, do we get to see a magical world in this modern-day tale?
Of course! How could I not add in some sword fighting, mind telepathy, wings, and animals who can fly? Just the sort of thing you expect to happen to a young woman who works in Brooklyn.
Check out her blog at Yaminatoday.com. or follow her on Twitter