Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Interview with J. Scott Savage

Below is my interview with J. Scott Savage, who wrote the soon to be published book Water Keep.

Since this is an author interview, I thought it would be a good idea to meet at my favorite book place ever. The Provo City Library. We can't eat in here (it is a library), but being surrounded by all the books and beautiful architecture is worth it. Let's head to the Children's Section where they have some large bean bag pillows and we might be able to get away with chatting.

KT: I know that authors are always asked "how did you get your idea?", and this question is kind of along those same lines so bare with me. Was your original Far World idea simply a small idea that you played with until it became a book sized idea? Or was it more along the lines of JK Rowling who had the entire story (more or less all 7 books) fall right into her head?

J. Scott Savage: I would have to say it was more of the former. It was really more of an idea that I never expected to grow into anything more than that. But once I realized I was going to write it into a book, all kinds of questions arose. That's when it became a full fledged series in my head. I can't give away a lot of the questions, but suffice it to say, I think that what happens in
the series as a whole has never been done before. I'm excited to see how it comes out.

KT: Let's talk a bit more about Far World. As this is the first of five books, when can we expect to see the next book? Doesn't it seem a bit premature asking that since technically the first hasn't even been released? Oh, how difficult it is to be a fan of a series from the beginning :)

JSS: Yeah. Lots easier to discover a series when all the books are out. But on the other hand, if they come out regularly (i.e. once a year) there is such a thrill waiting the last few days until the book is finally on the shelves. Our family read all the HP books together and we would say to each other, "Only six more days." Then we'd get all excited. I can't imagine how cool it would be to have stores doing release parties for my books. I would so totally be out in force for that. It looks like I will come out September of every year.

KT: You're right that the anticipation of waiting for a new book can be really fun (it can also be painful!). It's good to know your new books will be coming out on a regular basis! I really enjoyed the two main characters. Were Kyja and Marcus always destined to be friends?

JSS: This isn't a Luke and Leia kind of thing where they find out they are really bro and sis. But yeah, I think there is a pretty strong bond there. Maybe more than we know.

KT: Are Kyja or Marcus inspired by anyone you know?

JSS: You mean other than my kids, Marcus and Kyja? Ha, ha. That would be weird, huh? No. They are not inspired by any one person per se. But they are definitely parts of people I know. As an author, I think it is a big mistake to pattern a character too closely after one person. It tends to take away some of the creativity.

KT: For a variety of reasons, I read most genres in YA. As a YA author, what do you read?

JSS: I read like sheep graze. A little from column A, a little from column B. Until you've tried everything. But I try not to chew on the covers. That's frowned upon in polite society.

I do tend to read a lot of YA and fantasy, especially now that I'm writing in the genre. But I'll also go on a mystery binge, or suddenly read lots of horror.

KT: Who are some of your current favorite authors?

JSS: I love how Neil Gaiman can turn the whole world topsy turvy. I think that Stephen King is one of the best story tellers of all time and that Peter Straub is a master at the art of writing. Jonathon Stroud is incredible. JK Rowling can get a little longwinded at times, but does anyone create more believable characters. You even care about the minor ones. I recently read "A Painted House" by John Grisham. Not his usual fare, but the scenes he created were incredible in their vividness.

KT: How about when you were a kid?

JSS: How about? Oh you mean the author thing, huh? Again, I read everything I could get my hands on. I don't remember there being as much specifically written for kids back then. I loved "A Wrinkle in Time" and "The Outsiders." I totally ate up Tolkien. I also discovered Stephen R. Donaldson and was amazed by how powerful his worlds were.

KT: Sorry, I'll try to be more clear with my English teacher would probably die if she read that question. How have these authors inspired/affected your writing?

JSS: Only the part where I named my half-giant Hagrid. Just kidding. Yes, I definitely have been influenced by the authors I read. I strongly believe you can not be a good writer without also reading a lot.

KT: Are their any people in your life that influenced your desire to write?

JSS: Tons. I think I had a whole chapter of acknowledgments in Water Keep. I especially thank my High School creative writing teacher for taking a kid who wasn't that into school itself, and instilling a love for writing.

KT: Your acknowledgments section was hilarious. Those corduroy bell bottoms must have been classic. I smile just trying to picture it. Ah. To more serious things. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

JSS: I love, love, love, telling stories. I always have. If I could be paid to sit around a campfire and tell stories all night I would do it in a heart beat--especially if it came with free S'Mores. So for me, the best thing about writing is telling my stories to a bigger audience. I envision camp
fires all around the world. Weird huh?

KT: A paying full time job with unlimited S'Mores would be awesome. How about least favorite?

JSS: Trying to fit the writing in with the rest of life. I'm really hoping I can make writing a full time gig in the next twelve months or so.

KT: Going full-time would be great. Good luck!

Well, we're starting to get the evil eye from the librarian. Maybe we should try to wrap it up. One last burning question before we finish:

JSS: Ohh, she's just peeved that I popped one of her bean bags. They should make them bigger. Okay, fire away.

KT: Is it soda or pop?

JSS: If I were a true Utah native it would be pop. But as a native Californian it's soda.

KT: Good to know. Thanks so much for the interview! I really enjoyed your book and I enjoy reading your blog. Good luck with the rest of your tour!

JSS: Thank you. Now let's go check out a bunch of books huh?


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I love the Provo library. I used to live within a block of it. Beautiful building!

KT said...

I used to live a few blocks from it too. I love going there to just wander around. It's the thing I miss the most about Utah. Kind of weird, but that's me!