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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interview with a Fan

Welcome back to The Oracle blog tour! The Oracle is the book with which I really feel I hit my stride with this series, and gained some of my most hardcore fans. Today I thought I'd post an interview with one of those fans: Maggie, age seventeen. Enjoy!

1. What was the first thing that captured your imagination when you read The Six?

What first "officially" captured my imagination in this novel were the hints of magic present even before Darcy and the rest of the crew stumbled into the magical world of Alitheia. Once Darcy enters Alitheia, though, my mind was completely ensnared by the narks and other magical creatures.

2. Which book do you like better? The Six or The Oracle? Why?

Although is it a tough choice, I have to go with The Oracle. in The Oracle, the characters and setting are a bit more familiar to the audience, along with the fact that the main character, Darcy, is starting to mature and frankly, to become more likeable. There is deep mystery and intrigue in The Oracle that is only capable of being there after The Six set it all up, and the way the novel flows with deeper concepts and with these new mysterious elements is done masterfully, keeping the audience captivated from beginning to end.

3. Who is your favorite character? Why?

My favorite character bounces between Darcy, Tellius, and Rubidius. I've never been able to choose an absolute favorite, but here are my reasons for the three-way tie: I was able to relate with Darcy in The Six by remembering myself at that age and how my feelings almost exactly matched up with hers. As she began to gain wisdom and maturity with her experiences, I cheered her on and wanted to see her succeed and get better, which she did. Tellius is an extremely dynamic character who I detested at first, but who then began to grow on me and finally found a place settled firmly within my heart. Rubidius is mysterious, comedic, fatherly, stern...there are so many more ways to describe him, but you can always count on him for sound advice and bouts of wisdom. He has an excellent blend of tough love and compassion that is impossible for the reader not to love.

4. Do you think these books appeal to young adults only, or to a crossover audience?

Although this series is targeted for a young adult audience, I believe that they can be enjoyed by nearly any age. I am particularly looking forward to the release of the fourth book when the characters will be turning seventeen and I will be seventeen as well; it's always nice when the characters of your favorite series are your age and it makes it more relatable. But I can see myself being twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, and older and still be able to read these books with the same heart-racing joy that I read them with this day. Most people love fantasy and to escape into a world of magic whether it's through television and movies, or through books and dreams. This series has the capability of fulfilling that need for fantasy and dreams across a wide range of ages.

5. What has been your favorite thing about reading The Gateway Chronicles?

I am not very good at picking favorites, but one of my favorite things has been to watch each and every one of the characters develop, particularly Darcy and Tellius. As all of the characters grow and mature, gaining knowledge and wisdom, they root themselves deeper into the reader's heart (namely mine). It's so interesting watching the relationships between characters wax and wane, developing into deep connections which seemed impossible when they were first introduced to each other in The Six. I look forward to seeing more of these friendships and other relationships blossom and grow.

6. What are you most looking forward to in the final installments of the series?

The thing I am most looking forward to, and the thing I am hoping for with fingers crossed and baited breath is for Darcy and Tellius to end up getting married. I would love to see her stay in Alitheia at the end of the series with Tellius and for Tselloch to be vanquished for good (which, of course, MUST happen in order for the series to have a solid ending!).  What I am most definitely not looking forward to is the series' ending itself! I hated saying goodbye to my Hogwarts friends in Harry Potter and I'll hate saying goodbye to The Gateway Chronicles' characters and the world of Alitheia. Luckily, I know that I'll have this series right alongside Harry Potter on my shelf for decades to come.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inspiration for The Oracle

The second book in any series is of crucial importance. The reader has just gotten through your first book, and, if they liked it enough, chances are they are going to go out and buy your second book. But if your second book disappoints, it's all over from there! This was the conviction that weighed on me when I set out to write book 2 of The Gateway Chronicles, The Oracle. I have been waylaid by many a poor sequel, and I determined that my sequel would not disappoint. If anything, I wanted it to be a much stronger installment to the series - something to keep people coming back for more. I feel I accomplished that with The Oracle.

When I finished book 1, I didn't honestly have a clear vision of what book 2 was going to be about. I've always known the overall story arc, but the second installment is kind of a stinker. It's still early in the story so you can't have too much take place, but it must progress the series along and also stand alone as its own compelling story. I had no idea what the plot of book 2 was going to be . . . until I started getting feedback from book 1. Yahto Veli, it turned out, was everyone's favorite character, and I decided, therefore, to make him a major focus of book 2. Once I had Yahto Veli in place, I knew I had to have something BIG happen to him in the climax of the story. Teaching my 8th grade history class one day, reading The Histories by Herodotus, I took them through a section of the text that covers one of the many mentions of the Oracle at Delphi. I've always been fascinated by Greek mythology, and anything having to do with the Oracle at Delphi always captured my imagination. The idea behind the oracles and Greek tragic irony is so clever, and as I was currently brainstorming for book 2 as I was reminded of my fascination with this, the two just came together in my mind. Why not have an Oracle in Alitheia? I could play around with writing riddles (which is dastardly difficult!) and flesh out my fantasy with another villain, as well as introduce layers of more mystery to the overall plot - something I'd wanted to do anyway. One thing led to another, and the story of The Oracle just fell into place. And I won't reveal what BIG thing I have happen to Yahto Veli, so as not to spoil, but it's one of my favorite plot elements so far. I love when my two passions come together, and being inspired by history in writing my fantasy was very fulfilling. If you are a fan of mythology of any sort, you should find this installment in The Gateway Chronicles fulfilling, too! I hope you pick up a copy and continue your journey through Alitheia.