Today we are pleased to welcome author Ammar Habib to The Contents Page. Ammar is from Lake Jackson in Texas and has several novels and short story collections published. Writing has always been Ammar’s passion and he loves to craft stories that have ‘something useful to say to the reader’. His books and short stories have be listed in many best selling lists and won many publishing awards.
Ammar is going to tell us about his Dark Guardian Series (http://amzn.to/2mzzeQf), a vigilante/superhero series, containing three novels and four short stories:
Ethan Daniels is The Guardian, a dangerous vigilante who will come to be feared by Crown City’s criminals and corrupt. Reborn through fire, he is armed with advanced skills, an arsenal of weaponry, and vast resources. His sights are focused on one thing, and nothing will stop him. Soon, he will rise from vigilante to hero. And from hero to legend.
Hi Ammar, thank you for joining us today. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I was and raised in Lake Jackson, TX (I still live here). My mom and dad moved from Pakistan and to America in the mid-1980s before settling in Texas in 1989. I have a bachelors degree in Business Management (which I’ve never really used) and my passion has always been writing! My dream is to be a New York Times Bestselling Author in the near future!
Tell us about your writing process and how you develop your ideas.
My writing process always begins with a theme. I ask myself, “Why should readers read this? What do I hope they get out of it?” As entertaining as I hope my stories are, I want them to hold some sort of moral lesson or theme for the audience as well. At the same time, I don’t want to slap readers in the face with this ‘theme’. Instead, I want to show it in the characters and story arc. So I take a lot of time in figuring out who my characters are. As far as pre-writing goes, I probably spend more time fleshing out the characters than I spend on anything else. Many times, putting in the effort to create three dimensional characters is the separator between good and great work. However, with that said, my writing process is very fluid. I like to try and create an outline before I go into the actual writing. But many times I find myself starting the first draft before I’ve even finished my outline. The inspiration comes in bursts so I try to capitalize on those bursts as much as I can. I find that being too stringent on my writing process can actually become a hindrance.
As far as inspiration goes, I honestly draw inspiration from everywhere. I’ve had a huge imagination since I was a child, so that is usually my biggest source. I have a hard time switching my imagination off, which can be a problem when somebody is trying to talk to you and you’re imagining a battle scene in your head! The other place I really draw inspiration is from the world around me. I try to stay observant because sometimes the best inspiration passes by right in front of you!
What is your advice to other writers/authors?
I’ve learned a lot about the industry over the past few years. What I’ve seen is that along with filmmaking, it is probably the most subjective industry out there. A writer may spend months perfecting their story, putting their heart and soul into it, staying up the whole night working on it, only for an editor to reject it with a short sentence of vague reasoning. That’s what can make the industry very frustrating.
What I tell people who ask is that you need to write something that you believe in. Don’t worry about what others think about it. If you think it’s a great story and one that needs to be told, then write it! The other thing is that writers need to have thick skin. Editors and agents reject hundreds of works a day, so never take it personal. Even critics give bad reviews all the time. But if you believe in your work and did your best, then never let the opinions of anyone tear you down. Write stories that you’d want to read, regardless of what others say!
What is the Dark Guardian Series about and what brought you to write it?
This series is basically an action/hero series. It follows the adventures of a vigilante named The Guardian as he tries to battle corruption and evil forces in an effort to restore his city and nation to its former glory.
I’m a big fan of action stories in all genres (books, comics, movies, etc.). So my reading of the genre was definitely a major inspiration. I’ve also been blessed with a constantly active imagination since childhood which never really shuts down, so that is another major source of inspiration.
What genre is this series? Have you ever considered writing in another genre?
This genre falls under the action/hero genre. I’ve written in many other genres, such as inspirational, children’s, young adult, and historical novels. I’m more attracted to stories than genres, so I don’t have one set genre.
What was the hardest part about writing the Dark Guardians Series?
The hardest scene to write for my newest novel, Dark Guardian: Legends [http://amzn.to/2B1WZWg], was the final scene for sure! This series was my breakthrough into the publishing world and it holds a lot of sentimental value for me. Writing the last scene of this novel and knowing that it is the end of this series’ journey was very hard to do at an emotional level.
Did your characters hijack the story or were you in charge?
Not at all! I’m pretty proud of myself because I was able to maintain control of the entire series without letting any of these crazy characters get too out of hand!
Tell us about your protagonist, Ethan Daniels. Was there a real-life inspiration behind him?
The main character of my Dark Guardian Series is Ethan Daniels. He’s a darker, anti-hero type vigilante who kicks a lot of butt everywhere he goes! Ethan is definitely a three-dimensional character, each novel—and even the short stories—containing a complete arc for his character development. I believe readers have taken a liking to him because although he is this amazing fighter and tactician, his internal battles are things that most people go through every day. For example, in the first novel, he’s fighting the battle of whether or not he will let his past dictate his future. That’s a battle I think a lot of people fight and is something that makes readers care about Ethan’s outcome.
As far as the real-life inspiration, just like Ethan, I’m a vigilante and spend my time beating villains to a pulp (just a little joke there). Honestly, I have found more of myself in Ethan than I originally thought. One of his traits that I personally do possess to a fault is his trait of always being his biggest critic. I find myself often overly-criticizing myself when it comes to several areas of my life, especially my spirituality and writing. I am definitely more of a loner like Ethan is as well, and I think I unconsciously showed that side of myself when writing his character.
Is there a message about in this series or books that you want readers to grasp?
That’s a great question. For my Dark Guardian Series, every novel in the series has a specific theme that the novel’s plot was built on.
The first novel [Dark Guardian: http://amzn.to/2mzzeQf] has a theme of “freedom” in which Ethan must choose whether he’ll let the tragedies of his past control his life or if he will take control of his own life. It also contains a theme about the power of love and how that can save a person from losing themselves.
The second novel [Dark Guardian: A New Dawn: http://amzn.to/2B0GKcp] possesses a theme of “hope in the darkness” and “sacrificing for the greater good”. In this story, Ethan is deep into his mission as The Guardian, but his quest is starting to eat away his soul. He spends much of his time as a torn character, constantly having to stop himself from crossing over the line and becoming the monster he knows he can become. He keeps holding onto the light at the end of the tunnel that he believes is waiting for him on the other side of his mission.
The third novel [Dark Guardian: Legends: http://amzn.to/2B1WZWg] contains a theme of “legacy” and the idea of acting as a beacon for others. In this book, Ethan’s actions as a vigilante have become a global sensation that has inspired many others. He must now be that beacon for others in many ways and try to keep his legacy going beyond his own life. This book culminates the entire series’ ideas about heroes and sacrifice.
Having the stories build on themes that I believe most people can somewhat relate to helps bring this somewhat supernatural story to the common reader’s level and helps the audience connect to the story. I believe this makes the books appealing to the general reader and so far it has proven true.
Have you hidden any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
One hidden secret for all my books is that they all take place in the same “world”. What that means is that all the novels, whether part of the same series or not, have little Easter eggs or references to the other novels!
What’s next? What are you working on now?
My next release will be a police novel I wrote with a friend of mine who is a former undercover narcotics officer. The title of the novel is Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice. It will be releasing February 24, 2018!
Outside of that novel, I actually have quite a few projects in different stages of development. I recently signed a contract for a children’s picture book, which will be releasing next year. My agent is shopping around a young adult novel and is also shopping around a non-fiction project of mine. I also have a graphic novel being read by some publishers. So 2018 will be very exciting, God-willingly!
What book(s) most influenced your life or your writing?
That’ll easily be Og Mandino’s famous novel, The Greatest Miracle in the World [http://amzn.to/2DgiYPe].
What is your favourite book quote?
I honestly don’t remember what the name of this book was (I read it when I was very young), but my favorite quote is: “When the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count.”
Thank you so much for your interview, Ammar. It has been great to learn about your writing and the Dark Guardian Series. Good luck with your upcoming book: Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice (released on 24th February). We hope to see you at The Contents Page again soon.
You can contact/connect with Ammar here:
Check out Ammar’s books and short stories:
The Dark Guardian Series (in reading order):
Dark Guardian (Dark Guardian Book 1): http://amzn.to/2mzzeQf
Dark Guardian: Shadows of the City (Dark Guardian Short Story): http://amzn.to/2mGJLtO
Dark Guardian: Long Nights (Dark Guardian Short Story): http://amzn.to/2DxHOar
Dark Guardian: Agent of the Abyss (Dark Guardian Short Story): http://amzn.to/2FHidg0
Dark Guardian: Labyrinth of Chaos (Dark Guardian Short Story): http://amzn.to/2DxHjgz
Dark Guardian: A New Dawn (Dark Guardian Book 2): http://amzn.to/2B0GKcp
Dark Guardian: Legends (Dark Guardian Book 3): http://amzn.to/2B1WZWg
Crossroads: A Story of Hope and Love (short story): http://amzn.to/2mHgM9d
Memories of My Future: http://amzn.to/2Dc1gMP
Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice: Out on 24th February 2018!
And finally the book that inspires Ammar:
The Greatest Miracle in the World, by Og Mandino: http://amzn.to/2DgiYPe
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