D. John Watson
Howdy everyone! Today you're in for a special treat. We sit down and talk to D. John Watson about the Chronicles of Irindia and a few things in between!
1) Could you please tell us a little about the Chronicles of Irindia and how you came across the inspiration for the premise?
Inspiration behind the cover image
Artist: Jay Van Schelt
Artist: Jay Van Schelt
Well, let’s start with the premise. I had mental picture of my hero surrounded by strange lights. I worked it into a few black and white sketches, even did a full color sketch. But it kept nagging at me so I decided to explore the story behind the sketch and the first thing I came up with was the ending.
The Chronicles of Irindia is a trilogy and it’s the story of a boy named David who is predestined to save a world he has never heard of. After an argument, with his mother, he makes a wish to be anyplace else, and learns you have to be careful what you wish for. He arrives in a land called Irindia and this land is being consumed by a very dark and powerful evil in the form of a powerful wizard named Draga. The only way to stop this is to find and unite the fragments of an ancient artifact called the Stone of Irindia. This stone is the only weapon strong enough to defeat this evil and David is the only one who can do this. And only by doing it can he return home.
So begins David’s quest even as a massive army to challenge Draga, is being assembled under the banner of a Lady named Akira Nene. He must across a land filled with creatures from out own myths and legends, guided by a powerful wizard who must prepare him for the role he’s expected to fulfill. It’s also a role he’s not sure he can fulfill despite the confidence of everyone else.
2) I've read some of your work and am fascinated with the names you've chosen for your characters. I also know, as a writer, that sometimes our characters name themselves, for a lack of a better term. Could you tell us a little bit about how you chose the usual names for your cast of characters?
With Irindia, I used real world languages so when come names were chosen, I tried to make them sound as though their origin was from that culture. The most widely used language is Irish, I love the way it sounds, it has a magical sound so Alassa sounds right. For Draga, his magical language is Slavic because of it’s harsh sound so the name sounds like it fits. Lady Akara Nene has clear Asian influence so I went with a name that sounded like it fit that type of culture. For others, I have to plead whimsy there.
3) I was particularly drawn to Empress Alassa. She was one of my favorite characters. Could you please share with us a little bit about her roll in the story and how it is pertinent to the story line?
Alassa is of course the empress of Irindia but she is also the guardian of a powerful artifact called the Mirror of Irindia. This artifact is a gateway to other worlds and something both my main character David and his enemy, Lord Draga desperately want. The key is, it cannot be used without her permission and that permission can't be taken through force or deception. Permission has to be given freely.
4) I also loved the concept of David, the main character, being biracial. Why did you go this route?
That was just a whim really. I was looking for something out of the ordinary for a character and one of my favorite authors takes a similar route, except that his racial mix is Japanese and American.
5) Like every teenager (or preteen) David didn't always agree with his parents, especially because he was always moved around. Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for David, who he is and what he means to you?
David is inspired by my own son, who then was only thirteen and is now almost seventeen going on thirty. So when it came time to fleshing out David, I went with the one I knew best. So many of the same disputes and many of David's likes and dislikes are molded directly from him. I fact much of his family in general is based on my own, including the move to North Carolina and his father‘s career in restaurants.
6) Youth and Young Adult fantasy is a particularly hard genre to write in. Mostly because you have to keep the story interesting and upbeat in order to keep the target audience engaged. Has Youth/YA fantasy always been a genre that has "spoken" to you?
Not always but I spent several years working with kids as martial arts instructor and this was right around the time it seemed everyone had a Harry Potter book in their hand. There was just something about this type of book that fascinated all my students. I eventually started reading them to my son as part of his bed time routine and continued when he lost interest. I found books like that and The Lord of the Rings books had a general appeal that could easily translate into general Fantasy as well as YA without having to change any of the elements.
7) Now, veering off of the "tell me about your book(s)" type questions, most people want to get to know the mind behind the pages. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself; your hobbies, what you wanted to be as a child, things of that nature?
First of all, I’m a father, husband and grandfather as well as a self proclaimed beach rat. It’s funny how things work out, I was always into drawing and painting and saw myself in some form of commercial art, maybe drawing for Marvel Comics or something like that. I even went to art school for a bit while working in restaurants. Well, I still draw and I’m still working in restaurants but I was never able to finished school.
The writing was an off shoot of the art and my life long passion for reading, which I had to use since being a bad asthmatic sometimes kept me home when I’d rather be outside. Now back to the funny how things work out line. It was the writing that got me involved with another passion, martial arts. I started training really as research for a story, I wanted to have the right feel to the fight sequences. What started out as a few classes evolved into a seven year journey that ended up with me receiving a 2nd dan black belt and being a part time instructor. That was my dream job, the one I would go back to in a minute if I ever got the chance. I believe that all things happen for a reason and it might not be until later that we see what that reason was.
8) I love to ask the following question because is shows what's important to people. If you were stranded on a desert island alone and could only have 3 things with you to entertain yourself, what would they be?
Just three? A never ending supply of books, art supplies and a fully equipped dojo.
9) What is your favorite color and why? What is your favorite food and why?
My favorite color is blue and I’m sure I have a reason for that one. As for food, anything with pasta in it. I’d eat pasta with every meal if I could and I think it because of the wide variety of sauces that can be used although I particularly fond of pesto.
10) Going for gold here... Who was your high school crush and what happened with that person?
Her name was Julie and she was a fellow art class fanatic. We dated a few times but we were better off as friends. I kind of lost touch with after high school.