Kashif Ross : The pleasure is mine.
Niina : Let’s get started! Can you tell my readers here 4 fun unknown facts about you so we can break the ice?
Kashif : 1) When I was in undergrad, I used to carry a red bear on my backpack from Victoria Secret. Written across its belly were the words, "Sexy little bear." I thought it was fitting because I was short and I think I'm pretty damn attractive.
2) Just last year, I was training to be an animator with professionals from Dreamworks. I couldn't afford to continue doing it, but it was fun and taught me a lot about bringing characters to life.
3) I'm a damn fast writer. I've written a 75k novel in a week. I've also written three 100k+ books. Each took me three weeks to complete.
4) I often refer to myself as a ninja in my day-to-day conversations. For example, "How'd you get here so fast." My response, "I'm a ninja." It adds some spice to my life.
Niina : A VS teddy, huh? ;) Tell us a little about your book “Barcode: Legend of Apollo”, in five sentence or less?
Kashif : The story was written to appeal to people sick and tired of the standard hero's journey where good triumphs over evil and a vampire/wizard boy saves the day. Do not read this if you're looking for a happy ending because it's for readers that want something different. Barcode is based on humans that can harness the powers of gods. It's about a boy that wants nothing to do with his destiny, but he can't run from it, no matter how much he tries.
Niina : What chapter did you most enjoyed writing and why?
Kashif : There's a chapter where one of the villains gets his butt handed to him by a guardian of the arena. However, I'm not happy he gets smacked around, I enjoyed writing the tension and the shock on the audience's faces when they watch him stand up to their hero.
Niina : Which way are you going with series?
Kashif : Down a dark and twisted path. The more you read the story, the more deaths will appear. Though it's a fantasy, I'm trying to keep things "realistic" in a sense. I don't want all the heroes to make it out safely just because they can. I want to create a level a tension where readers can't predict what will happen next. Some characters may even come back to life.
Niina : Dark and twisted is good! What character did you most enjoyed writing and why?
Kashif : It's a close call between Kode and Michelle. Though I loved creating a strong female character, I really had a thrill making Kode full of mystery and murderous intent. I purposely made it difficult for readers to get a grip on him. I even made things more twisted in the end, but that's where I had the most fun.
Niina : I absolutely loved Michelle myself. :) What sparks your inspiration?
Kashif : Music! I play certain songs in order to draw out specific emotions in the readers. For this story, I played a lot of Paramore: "Ignorance" and "Monster." For the intimate and emotional scenes, I used Trey Songz, "Me 4 U." For the second book, I used "Monster," but it was by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I also used Paramore's "Misery Business."
Niina : Kanye West has some awesome music, very author friendly. ;) How did you find your cover and if you didn't take part in the search, what is your opinion of it?
Kashif : I asked a college friend to design the cover for me, Stephanie Yang aka Sheep. She partnered up with Glynnis Koike. I sent them ideas of what I wanted from other anime shows or album covers and they did the rest. It requires a lot of teamwork to get the cover done. They ask a lot of questions and turn my words into ideas. It's fun and challenging, but in the end they created some delicious nom-nom!
Niina : The cover really got me, I was wondering who's the alien, until I started reading and went, 'wait not an alien!' Err... so, what’s the best and worst advice for writers you have received?
Kashif : I can't really narrow anything down. Everyone has advice, but I take it with a grain of salt. Really it's all about what you do with the information you receive that's important.
Niina : Can you tell us five fun/quirky things about the hero that we didn't learn from the book?
Kashif : These contain minor spoilers - 1) Spencer is intentionally a jerk. I made him that way because I wanted his character growth to be awesome. That leads me to,
2) Spencer's character was built around Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. I wondered how much more interesting HP would've been if the story began with the prick that no one liked.
3) Spencer is actually slowly becoming evil like Anikin Skywalker did in Star Wars. He's not meant to be a good guy. Some readers wonder why they still don't like him in the end, though he did so many great things. It's because there's evil in his heart.
4) Spencer was one of the last characters added to the story. It was originally written without him in mind.
5) He's a breast man.
Niina : I liked Spencer being such a jerk, it added depth to the story and it was bit odd. ;) Now to more personal questions! Would you rather meet real vampires or werewolves? (not the Disney versions)
Kashif : Grr...neither. After Twilight, I'd like to stab one in the heart with a stake and shoot the other with a silver bullet. That's a friendly warning to any sparkly eyed fantasy pretty boys that try stepping in my neighborhood.
Niina : LOL! What is your signature dish?
Kashif : I make a mean plate of Italian sausage spaghetti, but that's not for everyone, so I have to give it to my fajita grilled chicken burrito.
Niina : What is your favorite guilty treat/pleasure?
Kashif : Women with nice butts...that's probably not what you meant, huh?
Niina : LOL! I'll accept it. Not even the raciest answer I've gotten! (the raciest rhymes it bildos) What’s on your night stand?
Niina : Before we finish, here are some Quick Fire Questions:
Night or day? Day
Pick-up or Mini-van? Pick-up...rawr
Boots or Heels? Heels if she has sexy feet.
Beer or Wine? Meh...non drinker here.
Cocktails or Shots? You alcoholics always want to know about drinks.
M&Ms: With or Without Peanuts? With! Are you crazy? Who buys the one without? You have no soul.
Treats: Sweet or Salty? Sweet. Salty makes me feel...dirty.
Date: Going to Park or Going to Movies? *Gasp* Can't choose. *Hides in corner and hugs knees* Can't choose!
Winter or Summer? Summer.
Women: Talkative or wallflowers? Wallflowers...dammit I hate when people don't know when to hush. Plus, mysterious floats my damn boat!
Women: Curvy or Slim? Curvy. Sorry for those of you without a figure. Somebody loves you.
Tattoos or Piercings on a woman? I love art so I'll go with tats. Plus, Barcode is all about intricate tattoos.
Brunettes or Blonds? Is this really a questions? Brunettes. Dark and mysterious always wins with me.
Cops or Cowboys? Native Americans.
Time-Travel or Sci-fi? Aren't they the same?
Romance or Erotic Romance? Erotic. How can life really happen without something kinky going on in your pants?
Male POV or Female POV (Point Of View)? Male. I love strong female POV, but most stories are written with weak women that I'd be tempted to slap in real life. Just saying.
Times New Roman or Courier? TNR
Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Kashif! Any news would you like to share with your readers, or websites they can check out?
Kashif : Of course. What author wouldn't tell more of what's to come? I'm currently finishing Barcode: Cavern of Youth. I expect it to release on June 2nd. If you want to read updates, head over to kashifross.com. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I love this website.
Niina : Thanks! Glad you came by!
Review of Barcode coming up soon!Unfortunately this blogger is feeling quite under the weather and hadn't pre-written this review so hang in there it's coming up as soon as I feel good enough to write.