Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.
After the tragic death of her parents, and with nothing left tying her to the United Kingdom, Ursula Formosa returns to her homeland and a job with the eccentrically-named Singapore firm, “The Check Your Luck Agency”.
What begins as an attempt to stave off boredom turns into a new way of life as the scales drop from Ursula’s eyes and she tentatively enters a realm that contains vengeful ghosts, toyol, demons, pontianak and curses, not to mention old-fashioned fraud and larceny. As she befriends bomohs, mediums and a young woman already centuries old, Ursula’s ideas of friendship expand into a fresh view of the world that surrounds her.
But she isn’t going to be left to ease into things. A criminal mastermind, who is also a powerful sorcerer, is gathering mythical creatures to help him possess every living soul in Singapore, and he isn’t about to let the members of The Check Your Luck Agency stand in his way!
Excerpt: “I think it was Fiona who chose me,” I laughed. “She had the craziest ad in a newspaper one weekend, and I was mulling my options at the time. It was a fortunate confluence of circumstance, as she’d say.”
“You mean you didn’t train to become a paranormal investigator?” he asked with a smile. It dented his cheeks, giving him dimples to go with those liquid eyes, smooth voice and engaging manner. I swallowed. I was in serious trouble.
“I don’t see myself as a paranormal investigator,” I corrected him.
I knew Fiona’s views on the Agency’s work and my own differed markedly, but I wasn’t going to lie to the smooth-skinned, extremely handsome man seated across the table from me.
“I’ll admit I’m the sceptic of the company,” I began. “In fact, in every case I’ve handled in the past six months, not a single one ended up being attributed to supernatural causes.”
“Not one?” He was clearly incredulous.
“I certainly haven’t seen them,” I demurred. “So far, ten out of ten times, the ‘bad luck’ dogging our clients has been down to greedy relatives, unscrupulous business practices or malicious ex-lovers.”
“Not one case of hauntings or possession or things that go bump in the night? Not one instance where you’ve seen something you can’t explain?”
Yes! Tell him!
I looked him straight in the face. “No. Nothing like that at all.”
Hmmm. Okay. I'm a Malaysian-born, Western-educated writer. I've worked on three continents and visited one, so only three more to go (Africa, South America and Antarctica)! I love bull terriers and Maine Coon cats and am amazed at how much personality my koi fish have!
How did you get started writing?
Did you have a diary when you were a kid? I did! I guess that's where it came from, as well as reruns of Darren McGavin's “Nightstalker” series. A wise-cracking journalist investigating paranormal phenomena? Of course I wanted to be like him!
What was the inspiration for your book?
The people of Malaysia and Singapore were. Coming back to live here was/is an interesting experience. There are items in the newspaper every day about curses, love potions, black magic, spells. And people talk about it too. You can't get away from it.
What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
At some point, I'd like to try my hand at a horror or maybe even a crime/thriller. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and Jeffery Deaver. Interesting, isn't it? I must have forty or fifty horror/crime books on my shelves, yet I've never written one!
Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
No. I've learnt my lesson by now...never say never. :)
So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
I normally have the next two to three years of writing planned out. I'm polishing Book 3 of my PERDITION space opera series before passing it to my editors, plotting Book 4, and also beginning work on Book 2 of my QOLARI DIPLOMATIC CORPS space opera series. In addition to that, I have a few rights' reversion books that need rework and a new fantasy series that needs to be plotted out.
Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color? Grey.
Favorite movie? Blade Runner.
Book that inspired you to become an author?
Harry Harrison's THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT SAVES THE WORLD.
Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?
Good grief, that's a tough one. To fly, I think. I watch the neighbourhood birds every morning while I have my cup of tea (our courtyard is three stories above ground, overlooking a park), and they're so graceful. They look like they're having fun and I wouldn't mind joining them!
You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Karl Marx, definitely! I'd be curious what modifications he'd make to DAS KAPITAL if he had to write it now. An inhabitant of Mycenean Crete, so s/he could help me decipher Linear B script. And Jesus Christ, because I don't think we have the full story.
Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
None of them. That's not to say my characters don't contain elements of me, but none of them contain all, or even most, of me. I prefer to take one trait (maybe my impatience, or my ego) and then I like to twist the surrounding circumstances to create someone new.
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Check here for the schedule.
Author Bio and Links:
KS "Kaz" Augustin loves writing human stories, whether set on Earth or out among the stars. Malaysian-born, she has travelled a goodly portion of the world and lived to tell the tale! Her urban fantasy release, The Complete Check Your Luck Agency, consists of five books, exploring the myths and legends of the melting-pot that is south-east Asia. Come for the food, stay for the monsters! (Ghosts included at no extra charge.)
As if all that's not enough, she's also Chief Editor of the free online quarterly magazine, Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly.
Kaz's website is at http://www.KSAugustin.com and a list of her books can also be found at http://www.SandalPressOnline.com. She occasionally tweets as @SandalPress.
The Complete Check Your Luck Agency is available from: