We're still in smoke here (see 2 previous blogs). But today I'll continue my blogtour for CSFF. Read on...
The Bark of the Bog Owl, the first in a series of fantasy adventures, is a tale of the noble and unexpected exploits of 12-year-old Aidan Errolson—the Wilderking. He is destined to bring deliverance to Corenwald simply by “living the life that unfolds before him—and doing good.” The adventures he experiences seem to do just as the saying says—they unfolds before him, echoing the wonderful Scripture we find in Ephesians 2:10 about the works God has prepared for us.
The story’s backdrop, Corenwald, reminds me of the Shire in Tolkien’s hobbit world (see my interview with Jonathan below). And so do many of the names: Odo, Gergo, Dobro... The characters are as wonderful as their names. Dobro Turtlebane, for example, is the boy-next-door type of ruffian with a heart of gold. Bayard the Truthspeaker—in my very Tolkien-minded outlook—is a sort of Gandalf figure and a mirror of truth. Greidawl of Pyrth, on the other hand, has been drawn from the Bible; he’s Goliath.
Bible truths are woven throughout the plot as Aidan simply lives the life that unfolds before him—adventures and all. His adventures involve all kinds of dangers and intriguing creatures, including an alligator.
I highly recommend The Bark of the Bog Owl for kids. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805431314.
Read my interview with Jonathan Rogers below:
(JD – me, JR – Jonathan Rogers).
JD - Jonathan, I'm an avid Tolkien fan. How much did his writings inspire you in to write The Bark of the Bog Owl?
JR - I can't say Tolkien was a conscious influence. I like The Lord of the Rings, but I haven't drunk of it as deeply as you no doubt have. As Tolkien himself pointed out, however, people don't always understand their own influences and inspirations. You read, you hear, you experience, and it all gets mashed up and decomposed into what Tolkien called "the leaf-mould of the mind." It's fertile soil for creation, but one of the defining characteristics of good compost is that you can no longer identify what exactly it used to be. Sometimes an outside person can identify influences that an author is not aware of. A reviewer once remarked that my books owed a lot to Mark Twain. That was news to me, but when I looked back over Huckleberry Finn, I realized how right the reviewer had been. It had been an unacknowledged debt, but I definitely owed a debt.
JD - I know you have a bunch of kids (what fun), and you've tested your work on them. Do you have any girls? Do the gals like the book as much as the guys?
JR - I have two daughters. One is just getting old enough for the Wilderking and will soon be able to read it for herself. My younger daughter isn't ready for it yet. I get lots of email from girls who like my books, so they do seem to have some appeal beyond the world of boys.
JD - Was there a bottom line thought that triggered your desire to write the series of the Wilderking books? If so, in a nutshell, what?
JR - There are lots of ways to answer that question. One thought that triggered my desire to write these books was simply the thought that I had to start using the gifts God had given me, or I was just going to wither away. But I suspect you're talking more about what themes or ideas I wanted to express in fiction. I wouldn't describe the Wilderking as "message-driven." I didn't start out with a message or a moral, then try to find a story that would be a vehicle for that message. I did, however, start with a desire to explore the idea of wildness. Why do we all feel "the call of the wild" in one way or another? If that feeling is God-given, what are we supposed to do with it exactly. In The Bark of the Bog Owl, the call of the wild turns out to be the call of God in a boy's life. Starting there, I tried to tell a good story and let any morals or lessons take care of themselves.
JD - Thanks Jonathan. Keep up the great writing.
Janey L. DeMeo