Please welcome Jacob R. Parker, author of Kestrel's Midnight Song! (read my review here)
NA: What drew you to write fantasy fiction?
JP: I suppose it was a couple of different things. "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" first drew me to fantasy. I'm pretty sure that game tripled the size of my imagination. And with fiction, I've always been an avid reader. In grade school, we had a yearly short story contest that showed me how much fun writing fiction is.
NA: What is unique in Kestrel’s Midnight Song compared to other fantasy fiction?
JP: That was one of my biggest goals in writing Kestrel's Midnight Song. I would rather take a leap of faith with an original work that ended up flopping than utilize a sure formula in order to become a runaway success. I'd like to think the plot is original. Nobody has been able to guess the big twist that I know of. Also, the main character never picks up a sword, and there is no magic.
NA: Where did this story idea come from?
JP: I was sitting in front of my computer literally thinking, "What should I write about?" Microsoft has this desktop background with the rolling green hills and blue sky. I imagined a shepherd boy journeying across that, which led to a bunch of questions I needed to answer. That was the genesis for Kestrel's Midnight Song, originally titled The Shepherd.
JP: I wander through life with my inspiration detectors open as wide as possible. Anything and everything can strike me with an idea. For instance, I misspelled the word "warehouse" yesterday, which led to the idea of the "warhouse." You'll probably see exactly what that will be in my next book. ;)
NA: I can’t wait! What inspired you to create an Aegre Bird or a Caelum Flute, and where did you get those names?
JP: Both of those I created to fill the needs of the story. I didn't think of them at the time as one of those cool ideas that are just burning to be included in a story somewhere. "Aegre" is latin for "scary" and "caelum" is latin for "air" as far as I know.
NA: How long did it take you to piece together the plot?
JP: I let this story idea simmer in my brain for years before I even started writing it. And even then it changed as I went along. The moment I came up with the ending was one of the most thrilling I can remember.
NA: Which character was the hardest to write?
JP: Drift was the hardest character to write because I couldn't decide whether to make him an introvert or an extrovert. At different times in the story it was more convenient one way or the other. Ultimately I made him an introvert, obviously, but it took a lot of concentration to keep him that way.
NA: Which character was the easiest to write?
JP: Micah was the easiest to write. We have a lot in common, or did when I started writing at age 15, anyway. 60% of the time, he did and said what I would have. But he's different in several ways, too, especially now. We've grown apart, you could say...
NA: If you could be any character in your books, which would it be?
JP: I'm much too mean to my characters to want to trade places with any of them! Haha. Plus, one of the rules I made for myself in order to avoid making my book like others already out there, was to avoid wish fulfillment. When I started I felt like giving the characters special abilities and/or privileges was a cheaply used and common trick to get the reader into the story, so although I hope the reader cares deeply for the characters and their perils, I don't think anyone envies them. And that's not to say I won't use abilities and/or privileges in future books in some way or other.
NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?
JP: First of all, let me say that I would prefer a horrible movie adaptation to no adaptation, simply because it would still drive a lot of people to the book. Second, I would either want no say or a great deal of say. I wouldn't want to direct simply because I have no experience and haven't studied that, but being involved in the creative process and having the ability to offer input with some weight would be fun.
NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?
JP: Hmmmm. My first novel attempt was in 4th grade. I flew to St. Louis to play the evil prince in the book trailer for To Darkness Fled, by Jill Williamson. I used to be an avid fisherman. I'd fish once every two weeks. Not terribly interesting, but that's what popped into my head!
NA: Awesome! Do you have a title, cover idea, or plot for the next book that you can share with us?
JP: Hmmm, only one other place on the internet has this info, but I will say that the tentative title is Balloon Hunter. That is all. Shhhh. ;)
NA: Hmmm. Do you have any other book plans or ideas after this series?
JP: Many, but I'll keep them close to my chest for now. Sorry!
NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write speculative fiction?
JP: I think the craft of writing fiction is too often overlooked. Reading fiction is great. Writing fiction is too. But eventually you have to study the nuts and bolts, just like everything. Pick up a good, non-fiction book on writing and learn from the masters.
NA: Thanks for sharing your time with us! God bless you and your writing!
Buy Kestrel's Midnight Song
Check out Jacob Parker's book site!