I had the opportunity to read an ARC (advanced reader's copy) book one of a new young adult fantasy series. It is called Farworld- Water Keep by J. Scott Savage.
Here is a snippet from the book:
"Magic is not just spells. The magic you see on the outside—making pots and pans fly or brewing potions to make boys swoon before you—is but a tiny fraction of the power of true magic. The real power of magic lies within you. Who you are, what you do, and most importantly of all, what you may become."
Master Therapass, Farworld Book 1 Water Keep
I have enjoyed Mr. Savage's writing for awhile now. You may know him as Jeff Savage, writer of the Shandra Covington books for adults. I was excited when I heard about Farworld. There are so few good YA books for our children to read. This series is shaping up to be one of those good series to read and share.
I really liked that the main character, Marcus, is at times both afraid and brave and courageous. Kyja, is afraid that she will always be ordinary and not special like the rest of her village. What she doesn't know is that it is her ordinariness that makes her special. Together we get to go on the journey with Marcus and Kyja while they discover what is special about them.
J. Scott was able to capture with his words the feelings of creepiness when the bad, evil, vile villans show up. I wanted to hurry through those pages so as to not be in their presence any longer than necessary. I could see the blackness, the oozing filth and nastiness. I could feel them breathing down my neck. I just love it when an author is able to do that with words.
On the other hand, I could see the clear sky as the sun rose. I could hear the morning song and smell the freshness of the meadow. I wanted to gather up a picnic and head on over there for the day. Riph Raph is a friend that I wouldn't mind having around- most of the time.
Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place- Farworld.
When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.
But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals- water, land, air and fire- and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.
As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them- Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S'Bae.
Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers. (editorial review found here)
After I finished reading the book, Ethan quickly took it and read it. He was ready for the next installment, and was disappointed when I told him that this one would not even be available to the general public until Sept. and that he is really lucky to have already been able to read it. I then had my nephew, James, read the book in preparation for a little adventure that I had planned for he and Ethan.
This past weekend, the boys and I met up with J. Scott in Provo canyon. I had a rubber raft and goodies. I told the boys that it was their chance to get to know Mr. Savage and ask him anything they wanted to while they had him all to themselves on the river. I then met them downstream with the goodies. Here is the result of that trip.**
Oh, and after the interview, there will be a give-away!
Okay guys I hope you know how to steer this thing. Because I’d hate to start out in Provo and end up in Ecuador or something. I’m sure your moms would worry. Every body got their life vests? Helmets? Paddles? Ethan, you got your pad and pen to write down phone numbers in case we pass any cute girls? Okay then. Let’s hit the water. I’ll paddle while you ask.
E- What inspired you to come up with this story?
J. Scott -I’m not sure there is one inspiration. But it’s more like lots of little pieces suddenly coming together. I’ve always like that idea that magic is all around us, we just don’t know it. Everybody has to find their own magic.
E-Where did you come up with all the characters?
J. Scott-When the idea first started, many years back, for this story. I pictured a boy in a wheelchair. Later, when I realized what his origins were, I thought up Kyja. Riph Raph just appeared out of nowhere.
E-Why did the Elementals care for us, but not show any signs of it? or deny the fact that they cared about us when they sided with us?
J. Scott-Great question! As the series moves forward, you will discover the elementals have very different characteristics from us and from each other. Water Elementals are cold. They don’t understand caring and empathy. But I think cascade feels like maybe he is missing something. He really hasn’t sided with Kyja and Marcus, he is mostly just curious at this point. But he does have a very clear sense of fair play. Which is why he did what he did.
E- Is Master Therapass really dead?
J. Scott-Sorry. I couldn’t hear you. Must have been the rapids we just passed over. Why don’t you try another question?
E-Why did Kyja not remember some things on Earth like Marcuss did about Far World?
J. Scott-Marcus and Kyja were too little to remember anything about what happened when they were little. But they are pulled toward each other which is why they sometimes have dreams about one another.
E-The stones that Marcuss had that turned to jewels, did they change each time the kids jumped just like Riff Raff did? Or did Riff Raff change differently because he is an animate object and the stones are inanimate?
J. Scott-They did change back and forth. We still have to learn why some things change and others (like their clothes) don’t change.
Those were good questions, and I’m having a lot of fun, although James kept splashing me. “Did Not.”
Okay whatever. So James, you weren’t named after James Dashner were you? Because you look much more intelligent than him. Okay, ask away. And look out with that paddle. Ethan you’re paying attention to the rapids and not those cute girls aren’t you? Ethan? Ethan?
James- Why is it important that if someone comes to Far world, another person has to leave?
J. Scott-There is a balance between the two worlds that no one completely understands yet. In order to move someone from one world to another, you must balance the scales.
James- Marcus and Kyja both had a character in their life who acted as a mentor and friend such as master therapass and Elder Ephraim. What does their death symbolize?
J. Scott-That’s a very good question and one that I think will be answered down the road.
James- Why is it important that the fontasions don't see the meaning of care?
J. Scott-There is a deeper question than that. What are elementals and where did they come from? They are clearly very different than humans, and their differences are what make it so hard from them to cooperate with humans or each other. As I mentioned earlier though, I think Cascade is intrigued by caring. He wonders why he can’t understand or feel it.
James- Why did you have Chet and his friends attack Marcus?
J. Scott-Marcus and Kyja are both different from other kids their age. Too often kids decide that different is bad and pick on kids that stand out. I’ll let you decide for yourself if different is always a bad thing.
James- Why did you introduce a thrathkin s'bae first?
J. Scott-The first chapter of a book is often what people use to decide if they will read the whole thing. As an author you hope they will read at least a few chapters before making a decision, but you know that the reality is they may only give you a page before deciding whether or not to buy your book. I knew that fantasy fans would be looking for fantasy so I started with Farworld. It also sets up everything that is to come.
James- Since Master Therapass can transform himself, why does he always choose to be a wolf?
J. Scott-A wolf is what you would call his familiar. While he might briefly be able to become something else, he can stay a wolf for days at a time. Why and how he learned that skill we do not know yet.
Hey look guys it’s your mom/aunt. And she has goodies. Isn’t that a cool thing about moms? They always bring treats. Hey Sandra, you’re looking pretty dry and we’re drenched. Was that intentional? Oh well. Ask away while we towel off and eat.
S- How did you come up with the different names for things that don’t exist in our world, such as ishkabiddle, Thrathkin S’Bae?
J. Scott-Some I just made up out of the blue. Thrathkin S’Bae for example was because I was looking for a sound that felt both evil and foreign. Ishkabiddle was kind of a family joke. The original word is actually Ish Kabibble, a 40’s musician and comedian. But we have a running jokes about Ishkabiddles clinging to the underside of cattle guards. You have to honk before crossing so they can let go before you drive on their paws. I really like coming up with new names.
S-Describe for us how you went about creating a new creature. Did you have it pictured in you mind, or did you have to sketch it out in order to see it properly so that you could describe it to us. (example- Riph Raph the skyte)
J. Scott-If I had tried to draw Riph Raph first, I’d have had to describe him as, “And odd looking creature that looked a little like an owl with a tail. One wing was longer than the other and his head was all lopsided.” I am a pretty terrible artist, but I can see everything in my stories clearly in my mind. A lot of people listen to music when they write, but with very few exceptions I need quiet to kind of go inside my head and see what’s going on. When I think about Farworld, I don’t think about putting words on paper, I see all the scenes in my head as though I had witnessed them.
S-You have written books for adults and now for YA, which did you find easier/more enjoyable to write?
J. Scott-I enjoy both, but if you pressed me, it would probably be YA. The reason being is that there is a much larger audience. When I write adult, I am only writing for adults who like mysteries, or thrillers. But writing YA, you can write for all ages and kids are willing to try almost any genre, so you have more people trying your books. Plus, I have to admit it’s fun to go to my kid’s school and being the cool author.
S- Will we see Shandra Covington again?
J. Scott-Definitely. She got a little sidetracked with Farworld, but it’s looking like the next Shandra book will come out around April. I apologize to all my readers I left hanging.
S-What book from your childhood most influenced you? Was your favorite? Did you read over and over again?
J. Scott-I think probably A Wrinkle in Time and Where the Red fern Grows. I read them over and over, and they are still some of my favorite books. I read them to my kids now.
S- When you read for pleasure, what do you choose?
J. Scott-I honestly love switching from genre to genre: horror, fantasy, mystery, thriller, biography. I just love to read, as long as it’s well written.
S- When I read James Dashner’s 13th Reality and came to the part where the librarian recommends to Tic “the new book by Savage” I laughed out loud. What was your reaction?
J. Scott-Yeah, I laughed too. Dashner plays a prominent role in the new Shandra book. Can’t wait.
S-If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward remember nothing of the experience would you do so? If not, why not?
J. Scott-Wow that’s a tough question. I’ve never thought of it before. I’d have to say no, because for me part of happiness is the memories you get to relive and I don’t know that I could enjoy something fully knowing I wouldn’t be able to relive it.
S- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?
J. Scott-Gardening. I’d like to be a master gardener. As it is, I tend to kill things. Except weeds. I can grow amazing weeds.
S-If you knew you could devote yourself to any single occupation-- music, writing, acting, business, politics, medicine, etc. -- and be among the best and most successful in the world at it, what would you choose? If you knew you had only a 10 percent chance of being so successful, would you still put in the effort?
J. Scott-Well doughnut making would be high on the list. But I think I’d stick with writing. A great story can have such an effect on people’s lives. They certainly have on mine. I would definitely put in the effort even if it wasn’t a sure thing. The journey of reaching that 10% is half the fun.
S- What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?
J. Scott-My kids. I look at my children who range in age from 20 to 8, and can’t believe they are actually mine. They are just so amazing. Not that I take all the credit or even most of the credit. But they are what I am most proud of. I honestly can’t imagine anything greater than that. Well except possibly the doughnut thing. A great doughnut is a sight to behold.
S-Jeff, thank you for allowing us to read this book. I would like to be able to give a signed ARC to one of my blog readers. Would that be possible? Also, when can we expect the next installment of Farworld to be out? Thank you for spending this afternoon with us.
J. Scott-Thanks. I’ve had a ball. And I have an ARC right here—ready to sign and send out to the lucky winner. The next Farworld book, Land Keep, will be out September of next year. Thanks all of you. I had a ball!
There you have it, our afternoon with J. Scott Savage, author of Farworld, Waterkeep available in stores September '08. However, one lucky winner will be able to recieve their very own, author signed ARC*of Water Keep shipped to them by J. Scott Savage himself. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what one book from your childhood most influenced you? What was your favorite? And what book do you read over and over again? Winner will be chosen by a random drawing from all entries. Contest ends Wed. July 9 at 9 pm Mountain time.
*Advanced Reader Copy- these books do not have the pictures nor final edit that the book on the bookstore shelves would have, so there may be some typos etc. that will not be in the final book. On the other hand- you get the book and get to read it MONTHS before others do. They all have to stand in line at the bookstore and wait, and wait, and wait for their copy.**the trip was virtual- gotta keep it honest here for the example to the kiddos you know.