Thursday, June 26, 2014

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The Last King by A. Yamina Collins


The Last King, Book I by A. Yamina Collins is an 11-part serial novel. A modern-day fantasy romance about a young woman innocently caught in a war between two age-old nemesis: God, and immortal beings whose ancestors ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.

The Last King: Book I,  Episode #1

The Last King: Book I,  Episode #2  

The Last King: Book I,  Episode #3  

Meet the Author 
A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan.  The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. Check out her blog at  or  follow her on  Twitter.

The Last King - Christian literature in a Fantasy/Romance World

If you're a lover of Christian books, you might be used to urban tales of trouble from the pulpit, or romances dealing with topics about lost loves, grace and redemption.

What you might not be prepared for is a sort of Dante's Inferno epic trilogy, about a cosmic chess game of wits between immortal beings called Edenites whose ancestors ate  from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, and the being whom they consider to be their greatest nemesis - God Himself.

Covering several different genres of literature, A Yamina Collins' fantasy romance, The Last King, follows the trail of a young woman named Emmy Hughes, who, in modern times, innocently finds herself caught in the midst of a game of wits between these two rivals.

In the book, God considers these immortals possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He
has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is a the Glitch an imposing Edenite named Gilead Knightly, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she “wakes up” and gets rid of him.

That’s easier said than done, however, because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat, but they're also their greatest love.   The book has already made been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller List in no less than four separate genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Christian Women’s Literature/Women's Fiction Literature.

Told in fifty-page volumes to be released over the course of the next year and a half (the first volume was released in December, 2013) the book is a trilogy,  and it is pack with enough drama and suspense, so far, to keep readers engaged for the long haul.

Yes, at the at its heart is a love story, but one that spans the cosmos, traces itself through history, and will leave your heart pounding in the arms of modern day New York.

Intimate Conversation with A. Yamina Collins

BAN:  Yamina, do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yamina:  I recall how and where. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother's living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. As for the how, I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That's what I want to be able to do as a writer; to move people with my words.

BAN:  What does “challenge” mean to you? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenge means not writing the same kind of stories I tend to see in African-American literature; specifically, I decided to write a different sort of black male character, one who had, in my opinion, a real inner life and one who was not a stereotype. I wanted to see a man like Gilead Knightly be a king, and I wanted to abandon any concept of black male bashing. This is not to say that Gilead does not have some major character flaws, because he does. But he is not a black male archetype.

It was also a psychological challenge to write the dark-colored girl as the beautiful love interest. You would think that as a black woman that would have been easy for me to do. Not so. A history of literature had conditioned me to think otherwise - or at least to give her light skin with straight hair. But I abandoned that model altogether because it's been played out and I believe that it harms black women's self-esteem.

BAN:   Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Last King is about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. He wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with them - each individual Edenite has a Glitch that's meant just for them. A Glitch is a human who acts as an agent to retrieve the stolen property of immortality and kill off the Edenite. But all The Edenite has to do in return is kill his or her Glitch, and the game is over. But there is a conflict: and Edenite's Glitch is also their greatest love. Emmy, my female protagonist, is the Glitch for Gilead Knightly, the male protagonist.

But of all the two, is definitely my favorite. I love his complexity; in so many ways he is a torn man - he is in love yet hates that he is in love; he is a protector and as well as the man whom Emmy should fear. He is the antagonist and the protagonist both at the same time. He is, to me, a man of great contradictions, and I love that about him.

BAN:  What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Last King?
I, personally, have gotten tired of either reading slave narratives (though they do have their place in our world, so this is not to put them down - we do need them) ghetto lit stories, stories about bad black women and no-account black men. Yeah, I just got exhausted of it. I wanted to see black love written about , but one that jumped outside of the prisms of what we are used to hearing and seeing. And I wanted to address it from a fantasy perspective. I dig the world of fantasy. I think it can be fun and your characters get to be larger than life. And Gilead Knightly is definitely larger than life. I mean, the man keeps panthers with him in his bedroom, for crying out loud!

BAN:  Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them?
Yamina: The Last King is a science-fiction romance, but its location is rooted here on earth. I chose science fiction and romance because, as far as I am aware, we don't have a lot of African-American books that deal with these two genres in the same novel.  So yes, I write in more than one genre - really four genres (religious, historical, science-fiction and romance). As to how I managed to balance the genres, ha!  I am not sure that I have. It will be up to the readers to decide if I've done a good job of balance, I guess. We shall see.

BAN:  How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
Yamina: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." That's a quote from proverbs 28: 18 in the King James versions. And that's what I think literature has been suffering from lately - vision of what we can be.  Much of our fiction, while not all bad, nonetheless keeps us confined to drama, reality-show-type characters- tons of stories filled with unending pain. But where are the heroes that inspire us

BAN:  Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Yamina:  Absolutely. For example, I intentionally do not have my character's curse or take God's name in vain. I chose not to cross that line even though my main character hates God and is angry with him. I believe, as a Christian, I am not called to do those things, even in literature. So I have had to be real creative in how my characters vent their frustrations. I also could not help but bring God into the story. He is literally the One behind this intriguing game that Gilead and Emmy must play with one another.

BAN:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Yamina:  Ultimately, I hope readers get to enjoy a good story. Period. The Last King takes place in this narrow world that Gilead inhabits with his family and Emmy, in a sense, steps into. And I wanted to take readers along for that ride and help them begin to view African-American characters outside of the usual stereotypes we are too often placed into. Please, no more mammies, Jezebels, brutes and minstrels with an updated face. I want readers to dream bigger.

BAN:  What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Yamina:  Okay, I must admit that, as a writer, I dreams of writing The Great American Novel. Yes, I admit it. It's a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires to want to be excellent and not just run of the mill.
My other goals are to educate and inspire.  I intentionally created a dark-skinned girl as the love interest to a black man because I wanted to combat the same old-same old notion of what beauty is; and I wanted to combat the increasingly odd assumption that black love is a bad thing, or an unrealistic thing. Yes, I've been wanting to see more of such books. So I thought to myself  'Well, I'll start to be the change I want to see, I guess."

BAN:  What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career? Any series or new characters?
Yamina:  The Last King is a two part book series. The first book came out in December in 2013, and subsequent chapters will be released each month until December of next year. Readers can either purchase each release on Amazon.  They can receive all eleven parts as they are released. After that, I begin work on Book II of The Last King. Yes, I do have other novels in the works - quite fun books they are - but I have to keep quiet on future projects. I am not giving my plots away.


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