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AzzaNation Was Born

Matt Mihilewicz
Matt Mihilewicz Author Interview

The Chronicles of AzzaNation follows a collection of unlikely heroes who must face a sadistic King to save their nation. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The world of AzzaNation was born out of a high school creative writing assignment. At the time I was struggling with ideas of perfection and legacy, so I created a world where humans were expected to be perfect or near-perfect for the good of the species. Anyone who didn’t live up to this standard during their educational years was executed. Harsh I know! But sometimes I feel like that is the pressure we put on ourselves, especially in those formative years. The short story was well received by my instructor and he encouraged me to keep writing. So, I decided to develop this world further, and worked on it off and on as a passion project for the past ten years or so.

I’ve always been inspired by epic and melodramatic stories where the fate of an entire world hangs in the balance. Larger than life stories like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings always leave a huge impression on me, and I wanted to create a world for myself and for readers that would emulate that immersive experience. I fall in love with well-developed worlds and intriguing characters, so that is where I started. I wanted heroes that you love and a villain that is terrifying. In the case of the latter, I made King Grindaull who has led humanity down this dark path. He is a man who represents lust for power, greed and cruelty, and I think that when we are faced with someone like that we have two choices: put your head down and let them continue, or stand up to them in whatever way you can.

Leo Exe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

In many ways Leo reminds me of all my insecurities. He’s full of fear, and he constantly doubts himself. Which may not sound fun at first glance, but the more I explored these traits of his, the more I was able to help him work through those insecurities. He’s put into situations that test him at every turn, and through these moments he gets to face those insecurities head on and decide if he’s going to let them define him. Will he run or will he fight? Will he survive at all costs, or is there something he is willing to lay down his life for? These are the questions I asked myself, and in turn asked Leo, and I didn’t often know what his response would be.

Out of all the characters in The Chronicles of AzzaNation Leo feels the most real to me because he is constantly learning and adapting how he sees the world, and I look forward to exploring his development further throughout the series.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Family, Loss and Grief were big ones for sure. I also wanted to explore the idea of holding onto hope and belief in yourself, even when things seem too dark to handle. There is always a reason to keep going, and even if that reason changes throughout your life, you need to hold onto whatever it may be in that moment, and if you really need help, then look to those you love, because I guarantee they will never lose faith in you.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on the second installment in the Chronicles of AzzaNation series, which is titled The Final Storm. It takes place in the aftermath of the first book, as a new threat to AzzaNation emerges. It should be ready for release next year in 2022!

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The Chronicles of AzzaNation series is an Epic Fantasy and Sci-fi adventure. Set in a dystopian future on a far off planet, this story is a refreshing new tale for all Science Fiction and Fantasy fans to sink their teeth into. 
Once a battleground between angelics and demons eons ago, AzzaNation became known as a safe haven for all the sentient species in the galaxy. That came to a violent end when humanity arrived, fleeing their dying planet of Earth. Waging war on the other inhabitants, the human leader Grindaull took AzzaNation for himself. Now, a hundred years into his reign as king, the planet that was once known for peace and prosperity bleeds with pain and sorrow.
During this dark time, the young human Leo Exe finds himself at the heart of a plot to overthrow the tyrannical despot. To do so, he must join forces with Diandra, a woman who can wield the living energy of the universe, as well as a pair of unlikely saviors and a rebel group known as the Brotherhood of Light. Only together can they hope to defeat the sadistic King and bring AzzaNation back into the light.
DAWN OF A NEW AGE is the first instalment in The Chronicles of AzzaNation, an epic and thrilling series that bridges the gap between dark fantasy and science fiction.

The Chronicles of AzzaNation: Dawn of a New Age

The Chronicles of AzzaNation: Dawn of a New Age by [Matt Mihilewicz]

The Chronicles of AzzaNation: Dawn of a New Age by Matt Mihilewicz is a mesmerizing and expansive science fiction fantasy story following an unlikely battle between the tyrannical leader of AzzaNation and a young man, Leo Exe. The Brotherhood of Light, a powerful resistance group recruits Leo to attack the King and his Royal Army for the terror they have created. Alongside is Diandra, a woman with strange powers that allows her to control the energy surrounding her. Leo and his unlikely friends come together to take down the evil leader and bring back the light to AzzaNation.

Leo Exe is a compelling and likable protagonist- he’s a bit Aladdin-esque. He’s poor, struggling, and with an odd but strong moral compass. He is the definition of a reluctant, unlikely hero as he gathers his limited resources to fight against the despot. Diandra is also a strong, compassionate, and rebellious character. She uses her powers and training in capturing natural energies to help Leo out of difficult situations. I would have loved to read this story from her point-of-view– she has the coolest powers and is unintimidated in the face of danger.

The novel opens with an intricate map of AzzaNation that I would frequently flip back to while reading about the various places and interesting terrains. I’m always a fan of maps and illustrations of any kind in fantasy books– they provide a depth to world-building that wouldn’t be there otherwise. The author also provides a sort of preamble in the beginning, giving a short history of AzzaNation and setting the stage for its characters later on.

This is not by any means a light read but it is extremely engaging. The author dwells on all the characters and sceneries, creating vivid and realistic visions even out of simple meditation scenes. The pace is slow but it makes the build-up even more intense. There are a lot of side plots happening and many hoops that Leo has to jump through to get to achieve his final goal. This is not a cut-to-the-chase action thriller. This was a very rewarding read because of the slow-burn nature. I am invested in seeing the fate of AzzaNation, the Brotherhood, and of course, Leo. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in escaping to a different and a much more fantastical world.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B08XPDZSQF

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