Some Thoughts with ... Karim Soliman
Karim Soliman earned his first writing commission through his contribution to the first and last issue of his school magazine. Twenty years later, he earned his next commission from Sony Pictures.
While he holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s in business administration, Karim finds his groove in building worlds and messing with his characters. His debut The Warrior’s Path was a #1 bestseller on several fantasy subgenres on Amazon, and his book Army of the Cursed was an SPFBO semi-finalist.
When Karim is away from writing, he struggles with his insomnia and continues his search for his next favorite dessert.
Hello! And welcome to a new post on my favourite section of the blog. Today we are interviewing Karim Soliman, author of War of the Last Days and Tales of Gorania.
Let's dive in!
1.- What made you choose self-publishing for your War of the Last Days series?
In 2018, I got the rights of my debut The Warrior’s Path reverted back to me after publishing with what could be considered as a ‘small press.’ In my first month as an indie, my royalties were nearly equal to all I had earned with that small press for almost a year, so I never looked back since then. It’s always good to have control over the whole process of writing/releasing/marketing your book, and definitely, it’s good to earn more royalties.
2.- How did the idea of War of the Last Days appeared? What inspired you to such a cool concept?
I guess the idea crossed my mind for the first time while I was writing Queen of Rebels, Book 2 in Tales of Gorania series. There was that scene where a demon made its first ‘remarkable’ interference in the story, and I myself liked that scene so much I asked myself: What if we have more demons in this world? And the idea rolled like a snowball as I kept writing the series. When I was near the end of Kingdoms of Ash, the final book in Tales of Gorania, I had a raw idea for that upcoming great war of the Last Day, and since then I had been itching to start working on the next series. Who would resist the temptation of writing the grand battle between humans and demons?
3.- This series is situated in another region of the world that you used in your first one, Gorania. What impulsed you to create this world?
You know what? I enjoy exploring my own world as much as my readers—hopefully—do.
In the first series, Tales of Gorania, we learn that there are six kingdoms in the Goranian continent, in addition to those Koyans living on their own island, and the Ogonians whose mere existence is nothing more than a myth to the Goranians. By the end of the series, most of the events will have occurred in only two kingdoms, and we barely scratch the surface of three other kingdoms.
You know what that means? After you finish Tales of Gorania, you still have A LOT to explore!
In War of the Last Day, we visit old places and discover new ones. We dig deeper into the Goranian lore, and retrieve some forgotten (hidden?) parts of it. We have a standalone, The Third Crossing, totally set in the lands of the Koyans to understand the perspective of ‘the other side’ in the War of the Last Day. To put it simply, I couldn’t leave my Goranian world before unveiling as much as possible of its secrets.
4.- Being this the second series you are fully writing, how would you say the process has changed?
The most significant change I’ve noticed is in my plotting process. When I started writing my very first lines in The Warrior’s Path, I had no idea what I was doing. I never thought this would be a 100k-word novel. I was just ‘pantsing.’
The case was totally different in War of the Last Day. I spent weeks doing nothing but drawing the traits and the motives of my main characters, their relations with each other and with other side characters, and how they would move the plot forward to the endpoint that I had in mind. (By the way, until this very moment, I can’t tell if I’m 100% sure of the ending. Sometimes my characters improvise, causing ‘slight’ deviations in my plan. But it always feels good to have a plan in the first place 😁).
One more thing, since War of the Last was set in the same world of Tales of Gorania, I didn’t need to do worldbuilding from scratch. I believe that helped me add more details and fine touches that would make my world cooler, more interesting to explore.
5.- Army of the Cursed is a multi-POV story, has this made the process of writing it more difficult?
I’m cursed with the obsession with multi-POV stories. I dig reading them, I dig writing them. So, you can imagine how I’m enjoying myself in writing Army of the Cursed and its sequels. But I must admit it, it was more challenging than writing Tales of Gorania, where we had only two main characters, and most of the time, they were in the same kingdom. In Army of the Cursed, on the other hand, I had three main characters in three different kingdoms, and not to mention, a few more secondary POVs to give the readers a full view of what was going on. Syncing all those POVs required an ongoing process of plotting and checking to make sure that all the events of the story were happening in a smooth, believable fashion. Nothing forced or abrupt. A headache, yes, but I guess I’m a sucker for self-torture.
6.- Could you tell us a little bit more about your other series, Tales of Gorania?
Tales of Gorania follows the story of two main characters. The first is Masolon, a banished kingslayer who seeks redemption in his new homeland by going rogue and enforcing his own notion of justice. After he realizes how futile that might be, he retires and pursues a peaceful life. Later, he finds himself standing in the way of our second main character Rona, the ruthless young lady who seeks revenge from all who dethroned her father and murdered her family. The two collide, and since then, nothing in Gorania has been the same.
Redemption, revenge, found family, evil mentor, political intrigue, battle sequences; if you like all of these, then Tales of Goranian might be right up your alley.
7.- Army of the Cursed was a SPFBO7 semifinalist, did you expect such a success with it? How did you live it?
It was a surreal moment when I learned that Army of the Cursed had become a SPFBO7 Semi-finalist. It wasn’t just a huge milestone in my writing journey that definitely boosted my exposure; it had become my most potent antidote against imposter syndrome. That lovely SPFBO badge reminds me I can always up my game.
8.- What can we expect from Karim Soliman in the future?
As much as I love my Goranian haven, I can’t resist the temptation to explore new worlds and themes. I have several ideas in my head, one of them with a full synopsis on my laptop already, but so far, I haven’t decided which one I’m going to pick. Let’s finish War of the Last Day first and see what happens.