On May 2, 2015 we hosted Annie Douglass Lima when she revealed the cover of her new novel, The Collar and the Cavvarach. Today she has agreed to an interview and we are delighted to have her here. So let’s get started!
Annie, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are from, your family, and your Christian background.
I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya, where my parents were missionaries. I’ve been a Christian since I was a young child and always knew I wanted to serve the Lord overseas somewhere. After college, I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia with Mission Aviation Fellowship, which was an incredible experience. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived in the States for several years while I taught in a Christian school in Southern California. Eventually God put all the pieces into place for us to move overseas, and now we’re serving at Morrison Academy, a missionary school in Taiwan. I’ve been teaching fifth grade here for eight years now, and I love it! Floyd and I feel totally at home in Taiwan.
Which of the places where you lived growing up was your favorite and why? Do you have a special memory of it?
I consider Nakuru, Kenya, to be my hometown, and a big piece of my heart will always be there. It’s a quiet town on the shores of Lake Nakuru, which is rimmed with a ribbon of pink visible from miles away, from the thousands of flamingoes that live there year-round. Nakuru is within walking distance of Menengai Crater, the largest crater of an extinct volcano in the world. I have lots of fun memories of hiking in the crater with my family, as well as camping and watching wildlife at Lake Nakuru National Park. At night from our home we could hear the flap and twitter of flamingoes flying overhead. I love Nakuru!
Nakuru sounds magical. I would love to visit there. How did you end up living in Taiwan?
Well, I’ve traveled to a total of nineteen different countries, and I always wanted to live overseas. My husband and I prayed for God’s timing, and when both our careers showed signs of being close to a good transition point, we started looking into jobs in other countries. I applied to teach at a number of different international schools, and Morrison Academy here in Taiwan was just the one where God opened all the doors. So here we are!
I have enjoyed reading your posts on Facebook, especially the ones where you are sharing a recipe or trading for jam or other interesing items. I made the recipe you shared for Banana Monkey Jam and it is delicious. With so much that is good in your life, what are you most grateful?
I have so many blessings in my life that I hardly know where to start! The best is God’s love and His gift of salvation, but He’s given me so much else: a wonderful husband, a job that I love in a country I love, the gift of writing, opportunities to travel, a supportive family, online friends who have helped me so much in my writing – the list could go on and on!
What led you to work on the Annals of Alasia series and does your newest novel The Collar and the Cavvarach tie in with it?
The inspiration for my first fantasy novel, Prince of Alasia, came from a dream I once had about a prince who was forced to flee from invaders and live in disguise in a poor neighborhood in his kingdom. I wrote the sequels, In the Enemy’s Service and Prince of Malorn, to tell different sides of the same story. The Collar and the Cavvarach is completely unrelated to that series. It takes place in a different world, but one very similar to our own, with a nearly identical culture, level of technology, etc. The biggest difference is that slavery is legal there, and the main character is a slave whose life goal is to protect – and free – his younger sister. Things get more difficult when he is sold away from her, but his martial arts skills and the chance of winning the Krillonian Empire’s biggest tournament give him hope of a different way to save her.
How would you characterize your intended audience of readers and why did you choose that particular audience?
The genre of The Collar and the Cavvarach is young adult action and adventure, and it could also be considered speculative fiction. While this isn’t technically a dystopian story, fans of the dystopian genre would probably enjoy it too. One of my beta readers said it reminded her of The Hunger Games (but she liked my book better!). I didn’t actually choose that audience, at least not deliberately. I just wrote the story that came to me, and that ended up being the audience it fits best.
What kind of major theme or message have you intended to communicate through your writings in The Collar and the Cavvarach, and what motivated the message?
There is a strong theme of social justice, as well as family loyalty and courage. I hope this story will make readers think about the value of human life and perhaps take a second look at some of the practices we accept or choose to turn a blind eye to in our own culture. Legalized slavery sounds so impossibly evil that it’s easy to think we could never let it happen in this day and age, but how many other wrongs do we overlook just because it isn’t convenient to do anything about them?
What are your current activities and future plans in your writing career?
I’m working on two more novels at the moment. King of Malorn will be the next one in the Annals of Alasia, and I’m hoping to have that published sometime this summer. The other one is The Gladiator and the Guard, which takes place four years after the events of The Collar and the Cavvarach. I drafted it last November (it was a NaNoWriMo project just like The Collar and the Cavvarach), but it still needs a LOT of work. I hope to have it ready for publication by about this time next year, but we’ll see.
Where can readers purchase your new release?
And if readers would like to connect with you online, where will they find you?
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
Thank you for the interview, Annie, it was a pleasure having you here. I wish you much success with your new novel.