Friday, February 4, 2011
Interview with Fantasy Authors Donna and Ken Waters
Hello Donna and Ken. Fantasy is so popular now days. Please tell us about your new series: The Gnome Chronicles: Bracken and the Crystal Cave and The Dragons of Middle-Earth.
We keep the atmosphere light and fun. But don’t be deceived. These books are extensively well researched. They include real scientific terms, facts, historical and mythological background, gemology and geology; as well as colorful Pennsylvania Dutch cultural references.
Wow! That’s so interesting. I didn’t realize that so much research goes into fantasy. Where did you get your inspiration for your novels?
I have always liked gnomes. It occurred to me one day that gnomes are the underdogs of the fantasy world. They seem to get honorable mention, but they never seem to be the main character. Then the idea of a claustrophobic gnome struck me as funny and Bracken was born. Of course I needed to have some interaction, so I chose a couple of teenagers; Drew and Holly (my favorite names) and included my real grandparents (Elmer and Lottie).
As for the setting, I chose my grandparents’ cottage in Majorsville, WV. They lived in the most enchanting place, with a giant stream running by their house that my brother’s and I delighted in exploring. My greatest inspiration was the happy memories of my childhood. The joyous remembrance of the adventures shared with my brothers, catching fish and discovering the magic of the great outdoors.
I love what you once said, “Magic keeps you young at heart. It has wrought miracles in our lives, and brings us ever closer to our dreams and to each other.” Please expound on this intriguing subject.
My husband taught me the true meaning of magic. I had spent thirteen years of my life studying and struggling to get a Ph.D. in science. All the magic had been trained out of me, as I was taught to be a skeptical, analytical machine. Then one day, I noticed the type of books my husband was reading. They were all fantasy novels and I asked him why? Did he not think they were a bit juvenile and perhaps foolish? To which he replied: “There is not enough magic in the world. The news is full of very limited reality and it is depressing. We have forgotten how to be happy. There is joy in magic. I choose to believe that the universe is based on happiness and the fulfillment of dreams. Magic happens all the time, but first we must believe and dare to dream.”
I realized that my husband was right. Then the reason for my lack of success in life hit me - like a ton of bricks. I have a romantic nature and life without magic was so uninspiring. Perhaps, I just wasn’t meant to be a scientist. Suddenly, all the pieces of the cosmic puzzle started to fall into place. As a writer, I have found my niche. I have finally found where I belong, professionally. Magic will ever be a part of my life now.
I love your husband’s answer to your question. You write fantasies as a couple. How do you go about it? Do both of you come up with ideas but only one writes it down or what? This is very interesting to me.
Excellent question! Ken and I have very different writing styles. It became apparent from the start that one of us would need to be the primary author. Therefore, I wrote the books. But Ken and I are partners in every sense of the word. He has contributed ideas, brainstormed with me about plot lines and characters, done marketing and research, scanned pictures, proofread and published. In essence, he has worked every bit as hard as I have. I do intend to list him as a co-author on all my books. We are ever partners in print.
That’s wonderful. Partners in marriage and partners in print! Okay, now tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Ken: There have been many astonishing things that have happened in my life. As a child, I’d gone swimming and thought I’d seen a light in the depths of the pond. I dove deep and swam hard towards it, only to realize that I was way too deep. I panicked and struggled frantically to thrash my way back to the surface. Out of breath and exhausted, I was about to give up, knowing that I really wasn’t ready to die so far beneath the water’s surface, when I felt like some massive hand grabbed me and pushed me the distance to the surface.
As a young adult, I was walking through a noisy foundry with steel filled crates stacked over twenty feet high along all of the paths around me. A forklift overloaded with steel, barreled around a corner and should have hit me, but a force that I could not see, pushed me firmly against one of the steel crates. When I turned around, I realized that I and the fork lift driver were the only people in the area.
My life has been filled with miracles and guidance, on how to get to where the miracle will be waiting for me. I’ve watched people and I know that there are miracles waiting for everyone. Will you go to where your next miracle is waiting or be patient enough to let it come to you?
Thank you, Ken. Your experiences show what kind of man you are: a man of faith who believes in small miracles. I appreciate both of you sharing your time with us today.