I’ve been to Canada quite a few times in my life and hope to visit several times more before I kick the bucket. One thing which had never occurred to me is Canada might have a rich mythology. Silly, I know, since every culture has legends. I’d just never thought of it before FMB Blog Tours introduced me to Ancient Canada. Now I’m beyond intrigued! How do Canadian myths differ from American myths? Inquiring minds want to know. If you’re unfamiliar with Canadian mythology, Ancient Canada is your opportunity to get a taste. 🙂 Until then, how about an interview with the author, Clinton Festa!
Reena Jacobs: Tell us about your most recent publication.
Clinton Festa: Ancient Canada is a fantasy epic that follows two sisters, Lavender and Marigold. Lavender has the ability to see life and death, which is a gift they need to survive after their exile. Marigold has no gift. She’s not jealous, but even for Lavender to make a journey throughout this mythological world would be very difficult without her older sister by her side. Because it’s mythology, it hits deep on some psychological and philosophical tones. The book also has weight loss properties, if you read it while exercising on a treadmill. It’s 370 pages, but since it’s an e-book, it has no calories.
RJ: That’s good to know. I’ve been talking to my husband lately about weight loss. 🙂 Which of your characters do you relate to most? And why? Only choose one. I know all about the split personality going on with your left and right brain.
CF: Who told you about my split personality? Did one of me do that? When developing the characters, I figured I better know my two main ones pretty well. So Lavender and Marigold are based off the left and right hemispheres of my brain, like you said. That makes Lavender more technical and scientific, while Marigold is more artistic and creative. So my answer is going to be one of those two. Lavender struggles with the sense of self-doubt and the nagging suspicion that, because of her gift, she was created evil. Marigold has no gift, so she struggles with a sense of uselessness and helplessness. I relate better to Marigold (my answer) in that sense.
RJ: I love the idea of two personalities aligning to complement one another. How much of your life do you put into your stories?
CF: A lot. Most of the deeper ideas came from conversations with my wife. I’ve gotten involved with a bunch of group reads (email email@example.com if you’ve got a group), and it’s been fun for both me and the readers to talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff. For example, the first full chapter is narrated by Heather, the girls’ mother. Each chapter has a different narrator by the way, like Canterbury Tales. Anyway, in Heather’s chapter, she talks about giving birth to Lavender. During the writing of the book, my wife gave birth to my two children, who are close in age. Both times I had to rewrite that chapter.
RJ: It’s nice to have a rich world to draw upon. You have quite a few characters in Ancient Canada; share with us a bit about your character development process.
CJ: It was funny when I found out, after the book was already done, that I had based Marigold on Oscar Wilde. Her humor at least. I had heard of him of course, but I didn’t know much about him until after I had written Ancient Canada. So to answer your question, that’s how I do it. (Huh?) To give a real answer, I don’t base any characters on friends or family members. I definitely drew the line there. Names maybe, but not personalities. Since I was writing mythology, I thought most about what they’re going to be dealing with and what tools they will have to do so. Agrippin acts the way he acts because he’s in love with Lavender, can read dreams, and needs to defect from Siberia. Polaris acts the way he acts because he needs to protect his country, has an army at his fingertips, and knows a bunch of stuff we don’t know until later. Defining characters by their controversy and resources I thought made good mythological sense. Along those lines, since they’re mythological characters, they speak within the writing style of the book. For some readers, it’s very immersive and they love it. But I like to give fair warning here because a certain percentage of readers prefer wide variations in how different characters speak. I don’t have a character from Brooklyn or one from New Orleans, so I couldn’t do much there, and I didn’t want to interrupt the (hopefully) immersive style.
RJ: Do you have any advice for other writers?
CJ: If you think writing is hard, finding a publisher makes it look easy. If you think finding a publisher is hard, marketing makes it look easy. That’s not very encouraging, and it’s not really advice. Seriously though, marketing is about as much fun as putting on a cold, wet bathing suit. This is fun; I love doing interviews. But finding advertising is expensive. Finding reviewers isn’t always easy, because there are a lot of books published every day. As for actual advice, think about your marketing before you begin writing. If you care how many copies you sell, you’ll need to write something more commercial-friendly. If you care more about the work itself than sales, you’ll be writing differently from the beginning.
RJ: Anything special you’d like to say to readers?
CJ: Check out my wesbite, ancientcanada.com, which has links to everything (map, sample chapter, where to buy it, etc.) Also, you could read Ancient Canada without ever seeing the word ‘glacier.’ ‘Snow’ and ‘ice’ are rarely mentioned. For some reason beyond me, readers rarely question that when reading a book called Ancient Canada. Along that thought, go online and check out the ‘seed bank’ or ‘seed vault’ on Svalbard for more background when you get to Prince Oslo’s chapter.
RJ: What are you working on now?
CJ: I’ve got 200+ pages of notes for future stories from the world of Ancient Canada, but like most writers I have 1,001 ideas that’ll never get written. Maybe that will be the second book I write; 1,001 Ideas For a Book. For now, I’m putting on the cold, wet bathing suit.
RJ: haha. Readers! Stop by tomorrow for an excerpt and giveaway.
About the Author
Clinton Festa, raised in Rockland County, NY, is son to two educators and grandson to four. Clinton studied animal science with the intention of pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine. However, after graduation Clinton began flight training and has worked in aviation for the last ten years.
Find the Author Online!
Don’t miss the other stops on the tour!
June 11th- Erotic Romance With a Bite…Leigh Savage (Giveaway & Author Interview)