April 18, 2011

Rose Springs Elementary School - Take 4 (Final)

My fourth and final wave of Q&A from the students of Mrs. Nielsen's 6th grade class at Rose Springs Elementary School (after reading through chapter 7 of INSIGHT). You guys are fantastic! I'll see you in a month!

"How did you come up with the book?" -Chans

This is a really important question, one that stumps most people who want to write something, but don't know where to start.

I decided I wanted to write a fantasy novel because I've been irritated with how authors typically use magic in their literature. Even in The Lord of the Rings books (which I absolutely LOVE, enough that I have maps of Middle-earth covering the walls in my garage), Tolkien never gives a clear explanation of what a wizard or elf can or can't do with their magic. While many readers openly accept the ambiguities of magic, I wanted to create a type of magic where a reader would never have to ask why or how something was accomplished.

So, my first order of business was to come up with my own version of magic, which you now know to be True Sight. In regard to the use of magic in fantasy novels, I've heard some authors like to start by asking the question, "What does the magic cost?" I personally started with the question, "What are the limitations of True Sight? What CAN'T they do with magic?" After that, I just had to fill in the blanks. Who uses True Sight? Where do they live? For what purposes do they use their magic? The rest of the story took shape rather quickly after I figured out the magic.

While developing a new storyline, one of my greatest helps was knowing people I could trust. I had many conversations with family and close friends, bouncing ideas off them and brainstorming solutions. I never could have finished without them.

"Where do you get these names?" -Chad
"Are the characters related to you or any of your family? If so, how?" -Chelsea
"Where did you get the names for everyone? I really like them." -Matt
"I like their names, espcially Mellai. Oh, and Kaylen. Where do you get all the names?" -Unknown 1

Many of the names and places in my book are a variation of someone I know or a creation from words in the dictionary. For example, Appernysia is a combination of the words Apperception (which is the purposeful act of perceiving or understanding something) and Dionysia (which is the worship of Dionysus, the god of fertility, wine, and drama). Another example would be Lon and Mellai's names. They were created from my brother and sister, Lonnie and Melanee. Another fun one is Allegna, Lon and Mellai's grandmother. If you remove one of the l's in Allegna and spell it backwards, it will spell Angela (my other sister). I have also included all of my wife's brothers and sisters in my book, as well as our parents, nieces and nephews.

"Why isn't Kaylen's dad very happy about Kaylen marrying Lon?" -Ashley

Scut isn't necessarily unhappy about Lon courting Kaylen, but I'm not surprised you got this impression. You have to remember Kaylen is Scut's only child. It wouldn't matter who Kaylen wanted to marry. Scut would always be protective of her.

"How come Mellai doesn't have a husband yet?" - Ashley

For two main reasons.

First, she isn't interested in finding one at this point in her life. She is angry at her parents for moving away from her family and friends in Roseiri. She is hesitant to make any new friends, so finding a boyfriend is at the very bottom of her to-do list.

Second, because Mellai is so angry, she is mean and rude to everyone she meets. All the boys in Pree are scared to even look her, let alone attempt to court her!

"Why is there so much gross romance stuff?" -Matt
"You sure do have a lot of mushy gushy stuff [it's good :)]." -Ashley

I understand your question, Matt. I love a good action-packed story, but as you can see from Ashley's comment, girls like mushy gushy stuff. I wanted this book to be a good story for guys and girls, so I crammed it full of both mushy gushy stuff AND action. Keep reading! There is plenty of violence coming later in the book, I promise! :)

"Why do you call their parents by their names in the book?" -Ashley

I did so to differentiate between all the dads and moms. For example, if Aron and Scut didn't have names, it would be very confusing for a reader to know which dad Kaylen and Lon are talking about in a conversation.

"How does Lon's family make money?" -Matt

In small villages like Pree, they don't use money. They barter (trade) for things instead. If you and I lived in Pree and I wanted your help with my farm for a day, I might offer you a warm blanket or a snazzy wood carving.

"Why was there a horse in a white house? This could be confusing." -Chad

I was a little confused by this question, but I'll give my best answer. If you are asking about the horse that Shalán was keeping sedated in her greenhouse, she had to keep him hidden from the rest of her village. Only Rayders, Appernysian soldiers and rich nobles ride horses, so if anyone in Pree saw or heard a horse, they would be very curious who was visiting (and probably terrified it was a Rayder). Did you know a horse's neigh can travel over a half-mile? It's very loud, so Shalán had to be extra careful!

"You call beer, mead. What? I didn't know what that was until my neighbor told me." -Chelsea

Mead is like beer, but it's made with honey so it tastes a little sweeter. Mead was a popular drink in Appernysia (as with most other high fantasy worlds).

"I like the little humor in this book." -Ashley

Thanks! I understand you just read the part when Lon "drew his sword." I still laugh when I read his father's response!

"I like the way you introduce each character and set a certain background for each character." -Brianna

Thank you! It's important to me that readers understand how my characters think and feel.

"What will the 2nd book be called?" -Chad

I have come up with names for all four books in The Beholders Series. In order, they are INSIGHT, TRUE SIGHT, HINDSIGHT, and FORESIGHT.

"What is the 2nd book going to be about?" -Chelsea

You are going to hate me for this answer, Chelsea, but I can't tell you yet. Sorry! I am planning to come visit with your class when you finish reading it. I promise I'll tell you then!

"In the next book you write continuing this one, you should make a dreamy hot guy and Mellai and him fall in love. He gives her a promise ring to marry her when they are older and it is romance between them and make it interesting (their love)." -Katrina

Keep reading! Maybe Mellai will find a great guy and fall in love in this book. :)

"When does the second book come out?" -Chans

I'm flattered by this question, but I still need to get my first book published. You are part of a special crowd that I'm letting have a sneak peek of INSIGHT before it goes on sale.


L.J. Boldyrev said...

How awesome to have such awesome feedback from your target audience! Sounds like a great series.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

And I just realized I said "awesome" twice in one sentence. Awesome.

Terron James said...

Yeah, I was a little offended you didn't mark my series as awesome, too! :)

Anonymous said...

once again very good questions & feedback

L.J. Boldyrev said...

That would've been overkill(but it does sound pretty awesome). Lol!

Paul Joseph said...

This was such a smart move on your part. The feedback you are receiving from your target audience is such an important piece, and one many of us in YA forget to take advantage of. It sounds like you have a great novel, and the kids seem to love it. You should feel proud. Good luck with the next step!

Ashley said...

Thanks for answering all of our questions! I LOVE the book so far! When our teacher reads it aloud to us I don't want her to stop, but she does anyway. :)

Terron James said...

My pleasure, Ashley! You had some fantastic questions for me! I look forward to meeting you!