13 Questions shine Operation Awesome's Spotlight
2022 Debut Author
The Last Feather by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou
1- July 13 is "Embrace Your Geekness Day." (https://nationaltoday.com/embrace-your-geekness-day) What are your top 3 favorite fantasy fandoms or franchises?
Firstly, thanks for having me.
Secondly, what a fun question. I’d have to go with Lord of the Rings, Marvel and Supernatural.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
10 mins writing sprints are magical. If you’re struggling to find time to write, focus on finding 10 mins. Before bed. At lunch. Whenever. Set a timer & write!
3- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
Love and joy. My stories are character driven. It’s for them. It’s about them. I hope the readers care for them too.
4- What is something you believe foreigners do not know about Cape Town?
We have the best food and weather!
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with a cat?
6- How do you support your fellow debut authors and have any of them supported you?
I’ve read two 2022 debuts so far, and loved them (I’ve also let the world know!)
Second Star to the Left by Megan van Dyke and A Song of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian.
I plan on reading more debuts, but aside from reading, I RT and like and share and do anything I can to help.
7- Time to double-down on social media! What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
Also, can you please recommend a favorite #bookstagram account profile?
@shamz04 and I’d shoutout to my favourite people who have WIPs, @zayaan27 & @nuhaabardien I have too many bookstagram accounts to mention, but search for #sabookstagrammers
8- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
9- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
The Last Feather has a very diverse cast and Cassia, the protagonist, is a desi woman and she’s a force to be reckoned with.
10- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime? #WriteGoal #BucketList #WriterBucketList
Phew, the biggest? I suppose a movie adaptation that ends up with my stories becoming a fandom that generates passionate fans who love it so much you see them in cosplay for my characters! Too big a dream? Eh. I’m crossing fingers anyway.
11- What was the query process like for you?
I started querying The Last Feather and saw that Flame Tree Press had open unagented submissions. I submitted to them simultaneously and within two weeks, they got back to me with an offer. I withdrew the other queries I had, of which two of them were out on full requests and of course there were a couple of rejections.
I will say, this wasn’t the first novel I queried! That experience was entirely different.
A year later, I found my agent through a Twitter pitch event! So, keep an eye on those too.
12- Would you please ask our audience an intriguing question to answer in the comments?
Is there a character you see yourself in?
13- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Papathanasiou’s debut is a captivating portal-fantasy for readers ready for older protagonists and more complicated choices. Four years ago, med student Cassia Khan’s best friend Lucas disappeared while they were on a camping trip with friends. Now her little sister Calla is dying from a mysterious illness. Cassia discovers these facts may have something in common after she is whisked to the Selene Realm, a land where those with magical heritage may be reborn. However, while coming into her own powers, she learns about the cruel rulers of this land, called the Firsts, and how their king has created a curse to cull the Reborn. Ending the reign of terror is Lucas’ goal, but he isn’t the boy who vanished on their shared eighteenth birthday. Cassia must balance her friendship with Lucas, her desire to save her sister, and the dangerous interest of brooding ally and First nobility Lochlan, all while trying to learn enough before her visit is over. Fans of Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series will find a heroine of similar stubbornness, cleverness, and loyalty in a grown-up setting, while Sarah J. Maas or Laurell K. Hamilton enthusiasts will enjoy the fantasy politics, magic, and hints of romance.
— Booklist Starred Review
Shameez Patel Papathanasiou was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a civil engineer by day, fantasy author by night and a choc-chip cookie fiend somewhere in between. Her literary adventures take her to new worlds filled with magic, monsters and someone to fall in love with. You can find her here:
The Last Feather by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou