This week we have a new interview brought to you by OBS reviewer Lindsay, where she chats with author D. John Watson about his book ‘The Gatherer’ in the Chronicles of Irindia.
Read OBS’s review for ‘The Gatherer (Chronicles of Irindia, Book 1)’ here.
Lindsay: In the book you paint a vary vivid picture of Irindia and it’s inhabitants, where did you get your inspiration for this world?
D. John Watson: For Irinadia, I wanted a land that mirrored our own from a distant age. I saw a map of North American around the time of the revolution. There was so much open space where Indians had their tribal lands and Europeans had their settlements along the coast and major rivers. So I drew a map, made territories for my elves and Targans as well as the centaurs. For the people themselves, I started with a root language for white magic which I decided would be Gaelic because of its lilting quality and that brought me to elves. Once I knew they would be in the story, it seemed natural to include other mythical races and give them appropriate languages and histories.
Lindsay: Why did you decide that your hero for the book will be a 13 year old boy?
D. John Watson: David is modeled after my own son and he has many of the same attitudes and interests. I thought of what kind of adventure he might have if he had a chance to enter a world that was like the places in some of the games and movies he likes so much. I felt it was important to base him on someone I knew pretty well since I would be spending so much time with him. The name was just a random one, and doesn’t have any real significance.
Lindsay: During the course of David’s awakening, he learns that his parents knew he might be called upon to be The Gatherer. Why did you decide that he will have no knowledge of who he is considering the history has been passed down for generations in his family?
D. John Watson: His parents knowledge is more like a subconsciousness memory or a post-hypnotic suggestion that is triggered when he vanishes. Telling David before hand would have made his arrival far less dramatic. Instead, he wakes up in a strange land without any idea of where he is and why until he meets Suma. Imagine going to sleep in one town and waking up in another with no clue as to how you got there.
Lindsay: The Mirror of Irindia is a portal of sorts that can be used to travel between worlds. Why did you choose a mirror as the physical representation of this portal?
D. John Watson: I wanted something that could be overlooked. Few know of the mirror’s existence beyond the legends. Aside from its guardian, only members of the Soh’Magi really know what it is. To the average person passing it, it’s just a decoration, nothing more. It can be moved or covered to hide it but it can only be used with the willing consent of its guardian.
Lindsay: When you were deciding on the characters in your book, how much inspiration did you get from the people in your life?
D. John Watson: David and his parents are myself and my family and the farm is a real farm in rural NC. For the rest of the cast, I used elements of people I knew where I could. For example, with Suma and Gya I used elements from martial arts instructors I’ve had the pleasure to learn from.
Lindsay: We know from the book very little about the demon controlling Lord Draga. Is there a specific reason why The Gatherer is destined to defeat only Draga and not his evil master as well?
D. John Watson: I don’t know how to answer this one except to say that it would be a huge spoiler if i did.
Lindsay: How many books to you anticipate for The Chronicals of Irindia series?
D. John Watson: It’s supposed to be a trilogy, but I have left the door open for a return if there’s enough interest. It’s such a large land, I’m sure I could return, with or without David.
Lindsay: You’ve given detailed descriptions of the monters Draga creates for his army. Where did you get the idea for his creations?
D. John Watson: I wanted monsters that I haven’t seen before and since Draga is a master of arcane arts I thought it would be fun to combine elements of different animals. The Zagara were designed to be as repulsive as possible. Since I have a thing about spiders, it was easy enough to make them monstrous. They later solved a problem when it came to capturing Kamra while she was still human. For Kamra I needed a hunter, so I chose elements from real predators to combine with her human form. For her I chose one of my favorite animals, the Tiger.
Lindsay: What made you decide to write The Chronicals of Irindia?
D. John Watson: Irindia started with a scrap of the dream sequence that runs through the first book. It pestered me for quite awhile, who was this boy and what were the lights for? It became a colored sketch long before I put a name to David or the land itself. I forgot about it until one day I happened to find it in some other drawings. The sketch had been reworked several times but I knew there was a story there which I had to put down. I started with the first instance of the dream sequence and an idea of how it would end. From there it was just a matter of building a land and filling it characters which isn’t nearly as simplistic as it sounds. Or as easy as I thought it would be, because the more I wrote the larger the story got and I realized I couldn’t do it with one book.
Lindsay: If you could have lunch with any one author, past or present, who would it be and why?
D. John Watson: This has got to be the toughest question of all because there are so many masters of the craft out there. I think if I had to pick just one it would have to be Tolkien. I found inspiration in his work as I say in the forward and his knowledge of ancient cultures and mythologies are an inexhaustible treasure trove. He developed languages and histories for middle-earth that are as real as if they had been pulled from our own past.
Thank you to author D. John Watson for an amazing interview!