Today I interview D. Robert Pease, author of the uniquely fun MG book, Noah Zarc. If you missed my review yesterday, go back and read it! This story ranks high among of my favorites this year, and at 2.99, it’s a steal. And now, Mr. Pease…
1. This is your first book. What road led you to writing, and more specifically, to writing for kids? Share with us some of the events that got you here.
I’ve loved reading since since I was a kid, and I love story telling, so it was only natural I’d become a writer. But it wasn’t something I jumped into until later in life. I tried my hand at it in college, but frankly it was awful. Then life got in the way, jobs, marriage, kids. Then about ten years ago I read a biography of Tolkien, and I just fell in love with the idea again. I was so impressed by how he just immersed himself in his world to the point where he was practically “discovering” the story instead of telling it. This idea blew me away, so I sat down at my keyboard and started discovering worlds of my own. The first book I wrote was an epic fantasy. My ode to Tolkien. Not really a kid’s book. I actually think it has some good aspects to it, but have realized it just may be a little TOO Tolkienish. About this time my son had become a voracious reader. My wife was having a difficult time keeping him in books. I thought it’d be cool to write something he’d enjoy so I started writing Noah Zarc. I actually wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) A crazy challenge in the month of November which simply says write a whole book in one month. So I took the challenge and wrote the first draft in thirty days. The most enjoyable part was every evening, my son would read what I wrote that day. So I literally wrote it for him. As I wrote I thought: “What would he like?” “Would he think this is funny? and so on. And it was so rewarding to hear him snicker, or worry when things got hairy. I was hooked. I’ve just come to think that there is no greater audience than this age group. Just imagining kids smiling, or laughing, or reading parts out loud to their parents, gets me through the tough spots when the words won’t flow.
2. Every major culture group has its own version of a Flood story. I even ran across one in the research for the Civil War book I’m currently writing (who’da thought?) and included it in my story. But you have created a very unique spin. You start with Noah’s Ark, which most people relate to Sunday school class, and finish with Star Wars! How did you ever arrive at such an unlikely idea?
The idea for the book simply came from the name, Noah Zarc (which in actuality came from a friend of mine, I think.) It was a fun play on words, and brought up all kinds of cool, science fictiony images. I loved the idea of a look at the Noah account in space. It’s funny though, since I wrote Noah Zarc I’ve actually started thinking about this kind of story in an even broader sense. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rick Riordan’s new spin on old Greek mythologies in his Percy Jackson series. I love this concept and began to think, why couldn’t I do the same thing with stories from the Bible. All these great stories I grew up listening to in Sunday school could make fantastic fodder for new stories. I’ve got the first draft of a book based (very loosely) on Joseph and the coat of many colors. And I just finished a short story based on the book of Job. The story ideas are almost limitless.
3. Every author writes a book with some take away value in mind. It may be simple entertainment or, in my case, a hope to teach a little history along with the adventure. What do you hope kids will take away from Noah?
Well, first and foremost I did just want to write a book that kids would have fun reading. But, I also wanted it to be a story with some “meat” in it. At its core, Noah Zarc is about family, and everything they do to show their love for each other. And since this was a story I wrote to my son, I really wanted to give a little glimpse into how much I love him and would do to protect him. I hope that comes across to kids. Of course it is impossible for them to really know how much their parents love them until they have kids of their own, but maybe this’ll give them a little glimpse. I also am a huge believer in being good stewards of the world we have been given, but approaching that stewardship in a balanced fashion. I think too many people today go to the extremes, either believing that above all else the earth’s resources should be protected over the rights of humans, or should be exploited do the detriment of Earth. I hope kids take away from Noah Zarc that somewhere in between is the best approach.
4. And now, in an effort to spice up interviews that can get a little routine, I’m going to start throwing in a totally random question. Here’s my first-ever: Describe for us your perfect sandwich. (Guess that wasn’t technically a question, was it? Ah, but that was!) Oh, and no synthburgers, please.
I do love a good hamburger, I’m not sure I’d be too happy with synthburgers either. But I’m not sure hamburgers count as sandwiches. So my perfect sandwich would be turkey, lettuce, swiss cheese, sweet pickles, green peppers Miracle Whip, and mustard on homemade bread. Tasty, but maybe a little hard to fit in my mouth.
5. And now the request I always end with, please share with us some of your favorite books and authors.
Number one for me is The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was the master when it comes to creating worlds that you are convinced must exist somewhere. Others would be: Dune, by Frank Herbert, The Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny and The Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne McCaffery. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer. He just cracks me up.
Thanks so much, D. Robert, for stopping by and chatting with us!
You can find Mr. Pease at his website (which includes his blog). He’s a cool guy, so stop over and say hello. Or find him on Facebook or Twitter. And if you haven’t done it yet, get your fanny over to Amazon and buy Noah Zarc!!! It’s available in paperback and Kindle editions.