With a vivid imagination and plenty of artistic ability, author Ciye Cho grew up dreaming about and creating fantastical creatures. Eventually this culminated into his first novel, Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure, along with artwork and a soundtrack to go with the whimsical adventure. When not creating new worlds and characters, Ciye Cho resides in Australia and works as a freelance graphic designer.
Find copies of Shiewo at the following websites;
Bonnie: Going by your bio, the universe of Oberana has been in the making for quite some time. Do you remember how old you were when you first started creating Oberana?
Ciye Cho: I was twenty was when I started writing Shiewo, but the ideas behind the universe of Orberana have been with me since I was a child. I’ve always been fascinated by clouds, creatures of flight and, of course, the idea of a musically-powered flying ship. It did take quite a few years to write “Fantasy Flight”, for I worked on it in between part-time jobs and studies–but it’s been a fun ride!
Bonnie: Do you have any handy tips for aspiring authors who are balancing their writing with study and work?
Ciye Cho: Have fun. Daydream whenever you can.
Bonnie: One could say there are similarities between your novel Shiewo, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz, what would you say about such comparisons?
Ciye Cho: I love Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz! They are two books which really sparked my imagination when I was younger. The manic quality behind Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland (logic and reason–who needs them?) was a big influence on Shiewo’s worldtornados and clockwork kingdoms. And I don’t think you can go past the Wizard of Oz when it comes to epic quests.
Bonnie: There are quite a few unique creatures and ideas in Shiewo, was there any mythological or folk lore influence?
Ciye Cho: The creatures in “Fantasy Flight” weren’t really influenced by mythology or folklore. I’ve always been fascinated by horology, music, nature, and esoteric machines–and these subjects were a great source of inspiration. A lot of the characters in Shiewo’s world have a distant link to a real-life object or phenomenon.
Bonnie: You’ve also created a soundtrack and illustration to the story of Shiewo on your website, can you tell us a bit about your artistic abilities besides writing?
Ciye Cho: I’ve always loved drawing and making music. Since “Shiewo” is a novel full of color and sound, I thought it would be cool to add an extra dimension to the project. I use watercolour pencils to create ink-like outlines, which are then digitally colored. As for music, I’m a big fan of wonky pop and movie soundtracks; artists like Royksopp made me want to experiment with keyboards when I was younger.
Bonnie: Have you considered creating an illustrated version of Shiewo?
Ciye Cho: Yes, that’s something I’d love to do one day. I’ve got heaps of drawings and sketches of all things Shiewo-related, from gizmos within the command piano to color images of the sky castle.
Bonnie: What genres do you love to read?
Ciye Cho: Science fiction, fantasy, and young-adult literature. Within these genres, I’m always looking for books with quirky characters and zany plotlines.
Bonnie: Can you tell readers what future novels or other projects you have planned?
Ciye Cho: I’m currently finishing off a YA fantasy/romance novel involving mermaids. I’m really excited about it, and it’s very different from “Fantasy Flight.” I also want to write the next book in the Shiewo series.
Thank you Ciye for a great interview and allowing me to review his wonderful and creative novel. Don’t forget to check out his work, listen to the soundtrack, and visit his website for the visualisation of his story.