Author Introduction: Anna Kashina and her novel The Princess of Dhagabad

My name is Anna Kashina, I am an author of fantasy and historical fiction.  I grew up in Moscow, Russia, and moved to the US in 1994.  Currently I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  My novels and short stories have been published in Russia, Germany, US, and Australia.  My fantasy novel “The Princess of Dhagabad”, originally published in 2000, has recently been re-released by Dragonwell Publishing and is now available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other on-line retailers.  Dragonwell Publishing is also releasing its sequel “The Goddess of Dance” later this year, along with my dark romantic Russian fairy tale fantasy “Mistress of the Solstice”. My novel “First Sword” is coming out very soon from Wildside Press.

I have been writing since I was five, and most of the time I have been getting the ideas from my dreams.   When I was little, I used to think that I am just seeing things that happened somewhere – possibly not in the world that we know.

Once I woke up from a very realistic dream set in a city that resembled the ancient Baghdad from the Arabian Nights.  It was about a princess who fell in love with her slave – a djinn, an immortal wizard whose absolute power has been contained by magical forces outside this world.  I had an incredibly sharp image of her standing opposite him in a huge palace library at the very moment when she realizes that she cannot live without him, and that they can never be together, unless a miracle would free him from slavery.  I started writing it right away.

A year later, having done lots of research about the ancient Middle East, I have completed the first draft of the novel.  The story burned inside me, and every time I sat down to write I ‘remembered’ another detail from my dream – as if I have really seen a lifetime and was now unraveling it piece by piece.  It was very intense, like being in love.  And, while I started thinking about trying to publish my novel, I kept postponing the actual attempts.

One day I was on an overnight flight to London, sitting next to a very nice man.  We chatted on and off during the trip, and as we were coming out of the plane, I asked him about his occupation.  His answer was:  “I am a book publisher in New York.  By the way, I am looking for new authors with an unusual take on foreign settings.  So, if you happen to know anyone, please spread the word.”  My heart pounded as I opened my mouth to tell him that I wrote a novel, but what came out instead was: “Actually, I have a friend who writes fantasy.”  He smiled and handed me his card.  “Have this friend contact me,” he said.  And then, he shook my hand and left.

It took me another month to work up the courage to call him and confess that it wasn’t a friend, but I myself who was the author.  He only laughed.  “Send me your manuscript, and we’ll see,” he said.

The phone call came after another two months.  “I loved your book,” he said.  “I am going to publish it.”  I felt surreal – as if I was suddenly a part of a fairy tale.  But he was true to his word, and my book came out as a beautiful hardcover.

This story has taught me to believe in myself, and never be too shy to try and reach for my dreams.  Now, a few years later, I have written a sequel to the princess and the dinn story, published two other novels in Germany, and am eagerly awaiting the upcoming release of “The Goddess of Dance”, along with my adventure fantasy “The First Sword” and my Russian fairy tale fantasy “Mistress of the Solstice”.


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