The Complete Check Your Luck Agency
by K.S. Augustin
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!
The Complete Check Your Luck Agency is available from:
“Did you have any difficulty finding the house?” Evelyn Long asked as she led me up a short flight of concrete steps.
“Well, the taxi driver wasn’t too keen to drive down the lane.”
Evelyn nodded her head. “The ignorant fear what they don’t understand,” she said.
I made a noise that might have indicated I agreed with her sentiment, and left it at that.
“I’m afraid Alfred is still meditating,” she began.
“I’m sorry,” I cut in, a shade too quickly, “I knew I shouldn’t have come. Perhaps I could pay him another visit some other time?”
I turned as if to leave and Evelyn Long grabbed me by the arm. No, “grabbed” was too gentle a term for it. Although her movement was smooth and she appeared to hold me lightly, I knew I would not be able to wrench free of her grasp without breaking flesh or limbs, or both, all of them mine. I looked up at her, startled, but saw nothing beyond polite interest. There wasn’t an ounce of strain on her face, nothing to show that she had me manacled with her slim, delicate-looking fingers.
Who – or what – was Evelyn Long?
“He won’t be much longer,” she said, as if commenting on the weather. “He’s been waiting to see you for more than a month now. We’re both glad you visited.”
And I suddenly realised that nobody knew where I was. Long and his supernaturally strong wife could do whatever they wanted with me, dispose of my dead body no doubt in the acres of primeval jungle behind their house and nobody would be the wiser. A wave of energy suddenly thrummed beneath my feet, a surge so strong I was sure that Long’s wife was able to feel it pulse through my body and travel to hers at our menacing point of contact.
“Why don’t I get you something to drink? You can relax while I fetch Alfred.”
It is my pleasure to feature K.S. “Kaz” Augustin, author of The Complete Check Your Luck Agency, on Room With books. Thank you, Kaz, for agreeing to the interview.
Please tell me about The Complete Check Your Luck Agency and what inspired you to write it?
The Complete Check Your Luck Agency is a five-book urban fantasy set in Malaysia and Singapore. I like urban fantasy, but noticed that the majority mythology used is Celtic. I thought it would be something different for readers to introduce them to a few of the creatures of south-east Asia, where Malay, Indian and Chinese beliefs converge.
When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
I’m a plotter through and through, although I do give my characters some leeway. As long as they get to my major plot points in one piece, I don’t mind if the way they got there is mine or theirs.
Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
Not arguments so much, but a character will show me that s/he is not really going to do what I had been envisaging. Would Ursula really say that? Ursula says no. Ursula is usually right. So, to explain that bit of babbling, the characters usually win.
What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I wanted to be a car mechanic when I was in secondary (high) school. In fact, I thought I would never get into University. I was wrong but, at one point, I think it could have gone either way.
If you could write with any other author who would it be and why?
Iain M Banks, now tragically deceased. I think I would choose him because I love his “Culture” universe so much. If there’s a heaven, I’m hoping it’s the Culture.
When you were little what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
If I cast my mind back and think of the first thing I wanted to be, it would be palaeontologist. That’s because I used to read up on every dinosaur book I could find when I was a kid. They fascinated me, for some reason. Not so much now, interestingly enough.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
That’s an interesting question. I wrote my first science-fiction story when I was about ten, I think. I can’t remember it, but I’m sure it was drivel. As a teenager, I wrote Star Trek fanfic and used to swap my stories with a group of like-minded friends. Then Life intervened. I continued writing but made a living doing freelance IT technical writing, from high-level design documents, to retro-engineered specifications to training manuals. Then, about seven years ago, I was reading one of these new-fangled things called ebooks!, and it dawned on me that I could go back to doing what I had abandoned…writing fiction. No great flash of inspiration or anything; just “hey, why don’t I try to do that?”. I made my first sale in early 2007.
What music inspires your writing?
None. I try not to have any music around when I write. Interestingly, I can be in a crowded cafe, train or food court and write, but put some music on the player and I find it too distracting.
What is your favorite breakfast? Man, what a question for someone who loves food as much as I do! Can I cheat and give three? (1) A typical English breakfast, with cumberland sausages, black pudding, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, fried mushrooms and thick buttered toast; or (2) A rich, tangy tamarind-heavy fish head curry with oily, flaky flatbreads to rip and mop it all up with (cutlery definitely optional); or (3) Huevos Rancheros made with fresh corn tortillas, topped with beautifully fried eggs, smothered with a rich, hot, deep red salsa and a crunchy nopales salad on the side. What is your favorite color? Grey. Seriously. Grey.
What is your favorite movie? Again, a toss-up, this time between Blade Runner and The Princess Bride.
What is your dream car? Electric, for the silence and torque. Gull-wing doors. Transparent roof with retractable sunroof. Six-speed manual when I want it, but also voice-interactive AI navigation and driving capabilities. Swivelling chairs with a small pop-up table in the middle of the cabin. Kick-arse sound system with extensive backend music database. Room for family, a couple of dogs and chilled compartments for wine, finger food and pet treats. And a long winding highway to drive her on.
Where can our readers find you? My website is at www.KSAugustin.com. Since 2011, I’ve been publishing all my books through www.SandalPressOnline.com. Each book page contains a flipbook sample and links to various retailers. I’m also on Twitter at the handle @SandalPress
I appreciate the time you have taken to answer these questions and for allowing Room With Books to be a part of your tour!
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. http://www.scifiromancequarterly.org/
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
Kaz will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking on the tour banner below.