T - Since I get to choose the location we're going to meet for breakfast smack dab in the middle of the Australian Outback - I'm having an egg white omelet stuffed with so many sauteed mushrooms you fear badly for the fungi populations' demise - served in an air-conditioned tent by fully clothed bushmen - and you?
JSS - Wow, this is great! When you invited me to the Australian outback I was totally expecting to be sweating like a wallaby, (have you ever smelled a wallaby close up? Not good.) But here we are in an air-conditioned tent. I could have used one of these back in scouts. I think I'm going to have eggs Benedict. I was recently in Canada so I even have some fresh Canadian bacon to go on it. I'm also going to have a stack of pancakes with blueberry syrup. Gotta admit those mushrooms look pretty good. I figure I better eat while I have the chance. This globe-trotting is a dicey business when it comes to meals. Go ahead and ask away, and I'll try not to talk with my mouth full.
T - Those pancakes are looking really tempting... are those fresh blueberries? Okay, was I crazy and flashing back on a decimated farm on Tatooine, or was that somewhere in the back of your head when the Goodnuff''s farm was wiped out? (and no, I've never been to a StarWars convention or dressed up as Princess Leia)
JSS - That's a shame. I could totally see you with the whole Cinnabon things on the side of the head going on. The scene you are talking about wasn't actually in the first draft, although it was in my head. I was afraid that it might be a little too intense for younger readers. But as I discussed it with my editors, we realized it was an important scene in that it serves the same purpose as Tatooine in Star Wars. It not only removes a fallback position for Kyja-there is no home to go home to-it also shows how bad the bad guys are and gives Kyja a reason to hate them from the beginning. I think we actually discussed the Star Wars scene when we were talking about it. I really liked how it came out, and I don't think it is too traumatic, even for younger readers. It was a good call by my editors.
T - Another weird movie flash... following a golden Toad? Maybe we watch too much Wizard of Oz around here... my 4 year old is really a Dorothy fanatic right now.
JSS - Yeah. I like to throw in little nods to other books and movies I like. As a side note, try Googling the name of the toad.
T - I'll do that as soon as I can get an internet connection - I've got no bars out here... they should try one of those "can you hear me now" commercials out here! Since Farworld is connected to our world - each location here having a comparable location there, tell me where you would be in Farworld if you got sucked over there right now? Hmmm... from home or from Australia... both maybe.
JSS - Well if I jumped from home, I'd be about a day's horseback ride from the Unmaker's cavern. From here, who knows? Lots of uncharted territory.
T - I don't think I'd want to hang out that close to the Unmaker's cavern... that's probably the creepiest part of the story for me. So... This Monk that saved and helped to raise Marcus... is he really from earth? Is that asking too much? (this is why I have a love/hate relationship with book series, I'm not good at waiting)
JSS - Hey did you see those Kangaroos outside? How is your omelet? Hmm, now I can't remember your last question. I will tell you that there actually is a Greek Orthodox monastery on the edge of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. But they weren't real excited about me writing a fantasy book when I called them for facts and information. So I didn't use their name.
T - Okay, I know when to back off... It seems that Marcus got hit with a triple whammy being orphaned, disabled and a tad on the weird side... Personally I loved seeing the strengths he had being of more value than those disabilities that were holding him back, but I have to wonder if you have personal experience with those physical disabilities. It's not too often that a book character has a disability that is so seamlessly a part of the character and NOT constantly paraded out as their shortomings that they are held back by.
JSS - There were many parts of Farworld that I either discovered on the fly or added later. But the part I knew from the beginning was Marcus's disability. That was the very first glimpse I got of Farworld. In many ways it made writing the book hard, and I've heard it could even possibly have an effect on if it is made into a movie. But it had to be there for far too many reasons to list. At the same time, Marcus is not his disability any more than Kyja is her lack of magic. Neither of them let their issues keep them from reaching their goals. They may be slowed down, or have to take another path. But they will not be ruled by their weaknesses. I haven't had personal experience with those disabilites, (as far as me or my family.) But I got great feedback from a wonder person and great writer by the name of Kerry Blair, who has had personal experience. I also based a lot of Marcus's spunk on a friend of my younger brother, who was born without legs. He constantly rode a skateboard around the neighborhood, lying on his stomach. The kid was a blur. Nothing slowed him down.
T - Thanks for your time, are you going to finish those pancakes?