Ahn Kyubo is an award-winning fantasy horror writer. His first novel–Mortazarro–instantly achieved cult status. His sequel–The Dya Chronicles–is scheduled to be released this September. The new installment is a sequel to Chronicles of the Opera where opera hero Dya Singh is first introduced.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve always been fond of writing. It’s always been a way to escape into a new world and experiment with the imagination. It’s also been a place for me to collect my thoughts and make sense of things going right or not going right in my life. A form of meditation.
What is Mortazarro about?
Mortazarro is much more of a universe than a story. It s basically the Devil’s Opera where souls are hijacked from our world to play part in this intensely violent, psychedelic, Tim Burton ish opera. Actually I’m not the only one writing in the Mortazarro universe. There are several authors writing Mortazarro stories, but I’m specifically writing the stories that revolve around one particular Opera Hero–Dya Singh. He’s basically this bad-ass gangster from Surrey, Vancouver, who willingly enters the opera to save his brother Taran Singh. Dya is Taran’s younger brother and Taran–long before he was shanghaied into Mortazarro–helped Dya get out of the streets and back on the right path if you will. But one day Dya’s bigger brother goes missing. After much investigation Dya soon discovers that Taran was a victim of a cursed opera, and, refusing to let his brother go through hell alone, follows him straight into Mortazarro and vows to bring him back dead or alive. Dya, in Mortazarro, quickly realizes the incredible power of music, and as he discovers the power of music and words in this living hell, he rediscovers the power of his religion, Sikhism. Why I chose this particular religion is because a friend intorduced me to it and I soon discovered the entire holy book of Sikhs is truly a collection of hymns and ragas that are powerful and meaningful and from my understanding almost seem crafted to elevate the soul above great darkness. My original Opera Hero was a game designer–Jordan–and he used his acute knowledge of games to beat the Devil’s Opera. In another series of books I used an actual music student studying opera who used her knowledge of classical opera to survive the Devil’s Opera. For the main character I was looking for a person with a strong almost instinctual background in music that had ties to our world. Well, my fried teaching me about the Sikhs was almost like an omen. When the Sikhs abolished the caste system in India many centuries ago they were persecuted by the upper castes who to protect their power did things to these people that are totally and completely genocidal in nature. Music and hymns, I’ve been told helped them rise above this darkness. So with that kind of backstory, I knew I had a solid character for my Mortazarro universe. I knew I had a hero that by his very instincts would want to stay in hell to help stranded souls escape. Anyway, if you research the musical and warrior side of the Sikh religion you will see it was a sensible choice.
What is the main theme of Mortazarro?
Remembering who you are and where you come from so that the opera doesn’t destroy your essence and make a mindless minion out of you. That’s it, that’s all. Of course I explore the power of music. But that is not the premise. The premise is holding on to your truth so that you can navigate through worlds as hellish and wild as Mortazarro.
What are you working on now?
I’m working with several writers to see where we are going to take the Dya Singh stories. I’m also working with an author who proposed an Opera Hero which I like very much and which they will be writing about. The universe of Mortazarro is expanding, and that is why I define it as a universe and not a story. I hope to have at least a dozen writers working on Mortazarro stories by the end of 2114. I’ve already got six so it’s very possible. anything is possible.
Where can we read more about your work?
People can pick up the Mortazarro books in bookstores, or they can just visit Amazon which always has the best deals. I think, anyway. If writers have an Opera Hero that would fit well in the Devils Opera and they would want to write about, they can contact me at ahn.kyubo(AT) gmail.com. I get like hundreds of email every day so please be patient.
Game designer Jordan Williams is about to enter a world beyond anything he has ever imagined. After a brief argument one night with his girlfriend Micaela he storms out of their apartment and heads to a secret, underground opera. Performed by a mysterious band of gypsies, the opera unexpectedly opens a temporary interdimensional gateway and Jordan is unwittingly vacuumed into another world. Marooned in a seemingly boundless musical world known as Mortazarro he is asked by invisible entities to suffer and play his part as protagonist in the Devil’s Opera. Guided by the journals of heroes’ past, he slowly learns how to harness and wield the power of the opera as he desperately searches for a way home.
Interview conducted by Jolene Owen.
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