Greetings, fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts! Today I’ve got a special treat for you. Please join me in warmly welcoming the author of Warrior Quest: Search for the Ifa Scepter, Jason McCammon! *throws confetti*
What was your inspiration for writing Warrior Quest?
I’m already a creative person. I wrote Warrior Quest because frankly, I hadn’t seen anything like it out there. I’ve seen a lot of fantasy books and movies, yet I had never seen one that had an African-like setting or characters. I guess I wrote it so that it would exist. Also, keep in mind that I first wrote this book as a feature length animated screeplay.
How did you come up with your ideas for the shape shifters, and other creatures?
It’s tough to say how I come up with anything at all. By that, I mean that I’m always in a state of creating. I’ve written screenplays, have product ideas, and constantly think about how what in front of me can be different. I will say this though, the whole segment with the shape-shifters, and the Temple of Wanyama was the last thing I put in the book. I already had the entire book completed without it. But it didn’t feel complete, it all came out of a need for Farra to have more purpose. The strange thing is that it’s my favorite part of the book.
Friendship is definitely a key theme in your novel. Is there a specific message you hope readers will get when they read your book?
Yes, friendship is a big part of the book. But there is another underlying theme. There are so many stories about boys wanting to be King and girls wanting to be princesses, like that is the end-all purpose of life. The main theme of this book is that there are more important things in life than being King–like true friendship.
Though Bomani and Farra develop a close friendship by the end of the book, it doesn’t go beyond that. Was there a reason why you chose to avoid romance in this novel?
That is for another story at some other time. And I’m not necessarily saying between Farra and Bomani. Boys and girls don’t always have to fall in love and have a romantic relationship just because they know each other. And I don’t want kids to think that just being with the opposite sex means you have to be physical, because it doesn’t.
What character do you relate the most to?
Heh, an editor of the book told me that it didn’t make sense that Bomani would climb over that rock outside Hagga’s hut. “Really,” she said. “Who would waste energy climbing in when it would be much simpler to walk around it?” I laughed and said, “I would.”
What was your favorite part of writing Warrior Quest?
Like I said before, I was really happy when I got the Temple of Wanyama idea/sequence down. From that came Torik, the shape-shifters, and the shadowlight. But all-in-all, writing the book feels like you are actually bringing those characters to life, so it is all very fulfilling, even more fulfilling when people read it and talk about it. It’s like the Madunia actually exists.
What was most difficult about writing this book?
Well, most of the writing probably took place in the wee hours in the morning. I’m talking midnight to 4am. So there were a lot of sleepless nights. I did have to push myself sometimes, but the story lived inside my head all the time. If I didn’t get it out, I probably would have gone insane. But authors beware, the hardest part comes after the book is finished.
Did you learn anything while writing? (This can be research related, about yourself and goals, etc.)
Being a self-publisher, there is constant learning to be done about the BOOK BUSINESS. I also learned how to work with an editor. I did do some research on African tribes, cultures, and mythology so that I could use it as a platform.
What is the most rewarding thing about being an author?
I think the most rewarding part is seeing the people actually LOVE the book. For most, the book was far better than they anticipated. Especially people that don’t read at all, I mean people that haven’t read a book in years. When they come back and tell me they read the book in a few days and that now they’re interested in reading books, that means something. It’s really a great book for readers and non-readers; fantasy readers and non-fantasy readers alike.
If there was one thing that you could change about your book, what would it be?
Heh, probably the prologue.
What are you working on now?
The illustrated version is almost finished. Also I am working on book two: The Ancient Lands: Tribe of Leopards.
For more information about Jason McCammon's work and Warrior Quest, please visit: The Ancient Lands.