Sabah-born, author and Amazon bestseller of “Darkling Mage” series, Nazri Noor, decided that Mean Girls would be an ideal movie to watch while waiting to be rescued from a deserted island. The man also does his laundry and the dishes alright, all while listening to an audiobook. Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu caught up with Nazri to find out more about his passion for writing, and reading.
By Sheena M. Chok
Tell us a bit about your books. What was your writing journey like?
I was a journalist for many years, and spent some eighteen or so writing for lifestyle publications and working in public relations. Eight of those years were spent at the New Sabah Times, in case you’ve came across my bylines. I was in my late 20s and was still living in Kota Kinabalu when I first came across Amanda Hocking, one of the pioneers of self-publishing. It was then that I finally decided to give writing fiction a go. Now, some seven years later, things seem to have actually worked out. I’m lucky to be able to say that I do this for a living.
My books offer a more humorous take on urban fantasy. They have all the ingredients expected in supernatural suspense stories: strange paranormal creatures, thriller, and horror elements; plus a hell of a lot of magic. But while traditional urban fantasy is somewhat darker, mine throws some lighthearted comedy into the mix, to balance out all the blood and the mayhem. A little bit sassy and a little bit classy is how I like to describe my writing.
Unfortunately I’m exclusively bound to Amazon for pretty much everything. My ebooks are only available on Amazon, while my audiobooks are available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Contractually, those are the only channels where they may be purchased. I am not permitted to sell them directly to readers. My paperbacks are fair game, though again are only available through Amazon, which prints and ships a copy of each book as it’s ordered through its print-on-demand system.
Last I checked, the cost to ship a full set of the series in its current state to Malaysia is around USD 200 – and that’s just for shipping – so this isn’t something I’d recommend. It is rather disappointing having to mention this to fellow Malaysians who’ve reached out and expressed interest in reading my books, but these are my limitations as things stand. Perhaps my books will become available in other regions in the future as my reach expands.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order, Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, and George R.R. Martin.
What are you currently reading?
I’ll have to answer this honestly: “Last Rites”, my next book. It’s coming out in a couple of weeks and I’m doing my best to nail final edits before putting it up for pre-order.
What were the last three books you read?
Two of them were non-fiction, which I tend to read a lot of: a finance guide called “You Need a Budget” by Jesse Mecham, and one on writing called “The Fantasy Fiction Formula” by Deborah Chester. The third is “Last Rites”, my sixth book, which I must have at least read four times in the process of editing and proofreading it. I’m going to read it one more time before this is over.
What book have you recommended the most?
Probably “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett. It’s funny, touching, extremely creative, a great example of the late Sir Terry’s work. It also features one of my favorite protagonists of all time, Moist von Lipwig.
What is your favorite genre?
I would say fantasy in nearly all its flavors. But if I had to choose, it’s definitely urban fantasy.
Why do you read?
For both enjoyment and education. I like to see what my peers are doing within my genre, to sniff out what someone does that I could be doing as well. I also like to stay on top of things in terms of marketing, and I tend to read a lot of books about productivity and motivation.
How do you make time to read?
It’s incredibly difficult to do so with the nature of my work. Writing takes up so much conscious thought already that I generally want to unwind with things that don’t necessitate having to think, but I start to feel rusty if I haven’t read anything in a while. Generally I have to force myself to do it, and when I’m deep into a book I enjoy, I wonder why I even hesitated to begin with. What helps these days is listening to audiobooks, which I can do while I work on menial tasks like doing laundry or the dishes.
What book is next on your to be read pile?
I’m leaning towards either “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman or a reread of “Deep Work” by Cal Newport.
Roughly how many books do you own?
Less than 200, which is a surprising number for me. I thought there’d be more.
Where do you normally purchase your books?
I pretty much buy all of my books from Amazon. I do most of my reading on a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had to move around and either had to sell off or give away too many of my paperbacks that I almost never buy hard copies of books these days. A little bittersweet for me, you know? It’s nice having everything compiled on the same device. I can’t exactly explain how or why, but it’s definitely accelerated my reading speed, too.
If you could only take one book, one movie, and one TV series to a deserted island, what would they be?
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, Mean Girls, and Bob’s Burgers. I could enjoy all those on a loop until I am either finally rescued or run out of coconuts, whichever comes first.
Nazri currently resides in Goleta, California. His ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks are available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. To read a free copy of Penumbra, the prequel to the Darkling Mage series, visit nazrinoor.com.