Introducing Assaph Mehr
Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.
Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
I read voraciously and eclectically, but I grew up of classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I also read a lot of mysteries, and was joyous when I found the sub-genre of historical mysteries.
I always dreamt of seeing my name in print, but that seemed something for retirement. Until one day, rather randomly, that I started to write. And haven’t stopped.
Considering my reading tastes, I write what I want to read – a mash-up of Ancient Rome detective and Urban fantasy.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
This is the second Story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. It tells of Felix’s second big case, where he was hired by a rich landlord who found tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.
Felix, dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, he’s hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.
The stories are set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. They are the cases of a cynical, hard-boiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
Who is your intended readership?
If you like Urban Fantasy such as Harry Dresden and are curious about historical settings, or – conversely – if you love works of Roman detectives such Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor and are open to supernatural and fantasy elements – this is the book for you!
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Pretty soon after starting reading, which was before the official age to get a library card. I did end up getting my very own library card, reading voraciously, borrowing my sister’s card so I can start reading the adult fantasy shelf, and reading even more.
I haven’t planned on being a writer, until – decades later – my wife said she ran out of things to read. So that evening I started writing a story that has been kicking around in the back of my head. Thus Murder In Absentia was born. By that point I was fairly certain I not only want to, but am, a writer.
Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?
I don’t think there’s enough space to list them all here…
On the Roman historical fiction side, probably Colleen McCullough, Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis stand out. The last two also cover historical mystery novels, and I will only add the amazing Boris Akunin for his incredible Erast Fandorin series.
On the fantasy side too many to mention, from classics like JRR Tolkein and Fritz Leiber, to modern authors like Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.
There are other historical fantasy detectives out there too… I’ll mention Barry Hughart, with Bridge of Birds – one of my all-time favourite books!
What advice would you give beginning writers?
If you want to write, write.
Unless you park your ass in a chair and put words on a page, you won’t get anywhere.
If you want to write well, read.
Read voraciously, in and out of your genres. Read anything that catches your fancy (and thing why). Read about writing. And then go and write.
If you want to publish, persevere.
If you’re going the trad route, it takes a lot of submissions, a lot of rejections, and a lot of time. So take a deep breath, keep writing, and keep submitting.
If you’re going indie, do it properly. Get yourself proper editors, proper cover designers, and proper book producers. Play to your strength, and pay for professionals to cover gaps.
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
My wife is too scared to read my books, so she reads them only during daylight hours.
Also, Felix (my cat) is responsible for Felix (my protagonist). Because he walked into the room and sat behind my computer when I was thinking what to name him.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?
Family, martial arts (30 years of practicing various arts), reading, avoiding yard-work, dealing with invading Australian wildlife. You know – life.
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
Currently writing a novella in the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series, and then it’s on to the third full-length book! Titled In Victrix, the novel sends Felix into the lives of gladiators and women in the republic.
This is the second story of Togas, daggers, and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Hardboiled detectives, and Urban Fantasy.
A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.
Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.
In Numina is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
Praise for the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series:
“Mehr creates a vivid cast and an equally vivid setting in which magic just seems to fit in perfectly.”
— Richard Knaak, NYT best-selling fantasy author of Legends of Huma
“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”
— Ruth Downie, NYT best-selling author of the acclaimed Medicus series of Roman mysteries
Where to find Assaph Mehr:
Website (Felix the Fox Mysteries), Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Facebook