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  • Writer's pictureBrandie June

Interview With Author Armen Pogharian

Author Armen Pogharian's writing is a tantalizing mix of history, legend, science, and fantasy. I recently had the opportunity to discuss with him how he melds fact and fiction to create his worlds, as well as his process for creating audiobooks of his series.


Your bio mentions that you weren’t an early reader? What changed that?

I didn’t dislike reading, I simply preferred to be outside with friends. That changed in sixth grade. We moved in the middle of the year. Even though it was only ten miles away, it might as well have been across the country for an eleven-year-old. To make matters worse, the class I joined had just returned from a weekend camping trip. My first few weeks were filled with stories and projects centered around the trip. My anemic social skills didn’t help matters. To cope, I turned to reading. It helped that the first real book I read was The Hobbit. Reading didn’t do much for my social ineptness, but it did open new worlds.

 

Your fantasy books also include a lot of science and history. How do you decide how much of your novels should be facts versus fantasy?

There’s quite a lot of history in the Misaligned series which began as my attempt to answer the question of what happens at the intersection of String Theory and Arthurian myth. The premise is that the fantastic elements of Arthurian legend stem from pre-science humans interacting with extra-dimensional beings. I’m not a theoretical physicist so the String Theory aspects of the story are very basic. However, they do set a scientific tone that allows me to explore things from nuclear fusion to paranormal science. I use history to help bridge the threshold between reality and fantasy. Events like the great London fire of 1666 and historical figures like Boudica are grounding points. I chose them and others because they’re real, but there’s enough mystery around them to give me room for creativity. Each of the three books features multiple connections to history and science. The Warders is set in a mythical high fantasy world, so the history is all imaginary. That said there’s still a decent amount of science in the stories, but it’s more natural than theoretical.

 

What kind of research do you do before writing a book?

The short answer is not enough. That’s probably a little harsh, but no matter how much pre-writing research I do, I inevitably need to do more after I’ve started writing. Before starting Misaligned, I dove into academic articles and blogs about String Theory and the Welsh origins of Arthurian legend. Most usually reference other articles or even books. I did the same thing with historical figures and events. For the Warders I did a lot of reading about life in the Middle Ages focusing on the non-magical elements of the stories. I read about sailing, food, architecture, and even occupations like gong farmers. They’re the people who clean out cesspits. Other details such as swimming and white-water rafting came from my personal experiences.

 

You are currently working on creating audiobooks for your Warders series. What made you decide to create the audiobooks now?

When CamCat purchased my first publisher, they offered me contracts for both of my series. The contracts called for publishing new editions of each book in sequence one at a time leaving the Warders ‘out of print’ for several years. That was too long for me, so I declined the Warders contract and republished them myself. In the meantime, CamCat commissioned audio versions of Misaligned and selected a narrator, Michelle Baab. I worked with her on pronunciations of names and some of the invented words. With a big push from her and her followers, the audiobooks outsold all other formats combined by 50%. Based on those results, I knew I needed to create audio versions of the Warders, too. After talking to another author about her experiences, I decided to ask Michelle to narrate the series and she agreed.

 

What has the process been like working with a narrator?

As with most things, it all comes down to the relationship. In that regard, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with Michelle. We have a clear understanding of our roles. She’s the voice talent. I leave everything related to creating the audio to her. That includes crafting unique voices for more than a dozen recurring characters as well as the nearly 100 supporting characters and villains found in the series. I manage the pricing, distribution, cover art, promotional codes, etc. I started with a small distributor, but after a few hiccups, I switched to Findaway Voices. I knew I wanted to go wide, and they distributed through more than 40 channels including libraries, sharing services, and international retailers. I should have started with them, but sometimes I need to learn things the hard way.

 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Accept that not everyone will like your work. People can be mean-spirited. You can’t control their feelings or actions, but you can control yours. Develop thick skin. Feedback is gold – even or perhaps especially critical feedback. Learn from it, use what you can, and move on.

 

Where can people order your books, including audiobooks?

 

Popular Audio Links


Other Common Links


Where’s the best place to follow you?


Audiobook cover of The Poisoned Princess by Armen Pogharian

 

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1 Comment


Armen Pogharian
Armen Pogharian
Jan 31

I'm a bit late, but I wanted to take a quick moment to thank Brandie for sharing this interview through her site. It was delight working with her.

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