Thursday, 21 April 2011

Interview: Peter Plasse author of Ravenwild

I am pleased to introduce Peter Plasse, the author of the new YA fantasy book, Ravenwild! I was lucky enough to be able to ask him a few questions regarding his new book, Ravenwild, published March 12th 2011.
I hope you enjoy this interview, and would like to thank Peter for participating! 

To get started, would you like to tell us five facts about yourself?
1) I am five foot, ten inches tall, and have brownish hair that is starting to grey a bit at the temples.
2) I work as an Emergency Room physician in a Native American hospital in the Southwest, and am blessed to still love what I do for a paycheck. Nothing in my world is more rewarding than giving someone their life back, who presents to the ER literally staring into the jaws of death, and with a few simple interventions (nothing I do is rocket science) is pointed in the right direction and on the road to recovery. And while this doesn't happen every day, it did last night. Honest. It was way cool.
3) My favorite recreational pursuits take place outside: SCUBA diving, fishing, boating, camping, those sorts of things. As far as inside stuff goes, I love to read, and write of course. I also compose music on the computer using music composition software, overtracking live guitar, piano, and voice. I try for an Elton John, Beatles sort of sound. My favorite compositions invariably feature french horns and the oboe with a large orchestral backdrop. 
4) I am a rabid NFL fan, with the New England Patriots being my favorite team. Or anybody who happens to beat the New York Jets. But I don't really take it all that seriously. It's just a lot of fun to follow the games and the standings, leading up to the superbowl.
5) It is my belief that honor is the most important principle by which a person needs to live his or her life, starting with honoring oneself to keep one's "loaner" body as fit as possible in order to be able to enjoy all that this life has to offer. After all, it's tough to have an absolutely fantastic day when it is spent in the confines of an I.C.U. 

What first sparked the idea to write Ravenwild?
Nothing more than the simple notion that hit me in the head one day that I would like to write a fantasy-
adventure story that my kids might someday enjoy reading.

Did you read any fantasy fiction or Young Adult books as research for Ravenwild? If so, any favorites?
I have been reading Sci/Fi fantasy, or just plain fantasy drama ever since I was in high school. But not for "research" purposes. It is just that I love to read, and Fantasy drama is the genre that appeals to me the most. Authors that immediately come to mind are: Asimov, Bradbury, Brookes, Goodkind, Herbert, Heinlein, Jordan, Lewis, Rowling, Tolkien, and Zelazny. It is 0300 as I write this, so I am sure I have left several out. If I had to name an all-time favorite it is without question Terry Goodkind. His "Sword of Truth" series is as good as fantasy writing gets. I have read every one of these, beginning with Wizard's First Rule, more than once, some of them three or four times. They are just magnificent. 

There are many different characters in Ravenwild. Are any based on real life people? If so, are they people you know personally, or historical figures? 
As for the Strong family, the names of the characters are based upon the names of the members of my own family, with the exception of Blake. The same applies to Ryan and Gracie, who truly were the best friends of Orie and Stephanie at the time I began writing Ravenwild. Since all the kids were actually much younger than the characters that are meant to  portray them in the book, I had to kind of extrapolate to come up with certain personality traits, and behavior patterns and such, so as to mold the characters into recognizable individuals, but that was  a lot of fun. A good example would be  Jacqueline. She really is an animal empath of sorts in real life, and were she to transport to a world where the animals really do talk to each other, she would be one of the ones doing the talking. I have no doubt. 
I was once told by a Navajo man that the universal language of the animal kingdom on Earth is Navajo. And if that is the case, Jacqueline, on Inam'Ra, would be fluent in the universal language of that world.

What was your favorite part of writing the book?
The challenges. There are so many. Coming up with a compelling storyline. Putting the characters in life-and-death situations and getting them out of it in a way that is, a) believable, and b, (hopefully) clever. An example of this is when Blake and Jessica are being transported as captives by the Gnomes to the Trolls to be handed over to them as foodstuff, Blake turns things around in a matter of an hour or so by operating on the Eye of Captain Pilrick, the Gnome Captain of their squad, saving not only his eye, but his life. So they become friends. And I have always secretly hoped that the astute reader might appreciate the irony of an ER physician saving his own life, and that of his wife even, by saving the life of one of his patients.
And what was the hardest part of writing it?
Wielding magic in a way that is, a) plausible, rational, almost, and, b) (somehow) not "hokey" or "Corny." Magic, it's origins, and the command of it by certain groups of the mythical characters of Inam'Ra was challenging. It might interest your readers to know that I will delve deeper into the origins of magic, and in particular how some of the characters go about the business of learning to command it, in the sequel.

Do you have any favorite books or authors?
I have listed some of my favorite authors in the Sci/Fi fantasy, fantasy drama. some of the  great books they have written would include: The Sword of Shannara series, Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, Every Book Rowling Has Ever Written  The Lord of the Rings series, although I found his writing style cumbersome at best, and the Nine Princes in Amber series, just the first five. The sixth, with the replacement of the lead character with his nephew didn't work for me. But the first five were brilliant.

If you could sit down and have dinner with one person, any person dead or alive, who would it be?
Wow. A list of no less than 10 would have been a lot easier. But, this said, 
Steven Spielberg. 
That would be a night to remember.

Thanks for the great interview Peter! 
If you would like to learn more about Ravenwild visit here:

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