Sunday, July 16, 2017


1. When/why did you decide to become a writer? *

Almost randomly, about two years ago. I've always had my nose in a book, but actually writing one seemed like something to do at retirement. Then one hot January night (it's Australia) my wife complained that she finished all her books, and had nothing left that she wanted to read. So I sat down, started to write, and didn't stop till I finished the manuscript for Murder In Absentia. I've been writing ever since. 

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today? *

I don't think I have enough space to answer that... I grew up on classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I always loved reading detective stories. History - Rome in particular - has been a passion since I first got my hands on Asterix. I read anything and everything. These days I read mainly historical detectives (notable authors: Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor, Ruth Downie, Boris Akunin), and Urban Fantasy (like Jim Butcher's Dresden File). I'll read anything well written, though, as long as it catches my interest. Life's too short for books I don't enjoy.

3. What was the inspiration behind your latest release? *

I've had the idea for the mystery behind Murder In Absentia kicking around in the back of my head for probably a decade before I sat down to write it. By the time I did, though, I was reading a lot of Roman-era historical detectives. So I blended the two - an urban fantasy detective, set in a magical variation of Ancient Rome.

4. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life? *

Aren't they all? The story is told in first-person through the eyes of Felix, the detective. A bit of classic noir / hard-boiled story telling. He's probably an extension of me (a bigger and better version, he'd say), but all characters are drawn from personal experiences.

5. Why do you write in your chosen genre? What other genres would you like to try your hand at? *

I like the blend of historical fantasy. I like the richness of well-researched historical settings, and I like the fantastical elements. While I may try my hand at other eras and settings later (I.m constantly drawn to retell the Russian Crimean war), I think I will stick with mixing history and fantasy (because who wouldn't appreciate a dashing young Count Tolstoy with a mechanical arm?)

6. What would you do if you were your main character? *

Try not to die. He does that a lot too (I know - I put him there). Felix is a paranormal detective, in a rather harsh setting. I think I might take his knowledge of magic and retire to the country. Or better yet, try and find my way back to my own time. Say what you will about ancient Rome, I do love my running water and modern medicine.

7. Will we ever see these characters again? *

Yep! I am quite close to finishing the next full-length Felix mystery. Him and his cronies (and his other "interests") will keep appearing. After the current novel I have ideas for at least two more - and by the time I finish them I am sure my list will only grow.

8. Would you like to see this book as a film or TV show? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters? *

Oh, yes, definitely. I'd absolutely love to have Joss Whedon direct it. I'll even let him have final say about the cast :) I think the consensus amongst fans is that Tom Hiddleston would make a great Felix. I agree he'd be great, even if he's a little too tall and thin. In my eyes, Javier Bardem - if only he was 15 years younger - would have been a perfect choice. I have some ideas for the rest of the cast: Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Lawrence - you know, all the A-list actors.

9. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Writing more! I am going to keep writing as long as I enjoy doing it, and so far it gets more fun with each story, each novel. I wish I could make this a full time thing.

10. Is there anything you haven't touched on that you'd like readers to know about your book? *

You're in for a ride. The full genre label, for those who like to file things in boxes, is "Historically themed Urban High Fantasy Noir Murder Mystery (with just a dash of Horror)". It's basically blending what I enjoy reading. If you're curious, I also put up free short stories on my blog with Felix, to give readers a taste of my writing style and the world. You can them here:

11. What would you be doing if you weren't writing? *

Reading. I still do, of course, it's just that both activities compete for the same time slot. 

12. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next? *

My WIP (almost done) is titled "In Numina" - a tale of haunted houses and household gods. It delves into a lot of aspects of Roman culture - from the small gods to the courtrooms. I had a lot of fun subverting Cicero's speeches...

13. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with? *

I think I would have to get over being star-struck first... I adore Neil Gaiman, but I'd say Jim Butcher is probably a more realistic collaboration. Oh, and I mentioned Ruth Downie above. She's the author of the Medicus Roman mysteries series (which is spectacular!). She was kind enough to let me borrow her protagonist for a scene, when mine needed a doctor...

14. What are three things that may surprise your readers to know about you? *

You mean besides the obvious thing in my bio? Hm... I am partially anosmic; Bad smell jokes are my Kryptonite - I can't stop giggling; I am slowly losing my hearing - though some days it's not fast enough!
15. Please list your links where readers can find you online and purchase your works. *

Website with blog and short stories:
Twitter: @assaphmehr
Murder In Absentia on Amazon:

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