Season’s Greetings and welcome to Stop#15 of the “31 Author Scavanger Hunt.” What is that, you might ask? Oh, just a week of fun (Nov 30th – Dec 6), trekking across the internet meeting 31 amazing authors, collecting clues for your chance to win 31 incredible books. Oh, and an iPad Mini. (You can read more about the fun you are about to embark on right here.)
But enough about THAT! You’re here. And so is our guest author, Jonathan Friesen.
Jonathan Friesen(JF): I’m bald. Completely and irrevocably. Tall. Really tall. 6’5” tall. Let’s see. Favorite book? The Winnie the Pooh Complete Collection. Favorite color? Green. Forest green, not that pea green Apple or PC? Apple. Closet filled with flannel. Don’t own a suit. Should do it!
MB: Hmmm… So a perfect Christmas present for you might be a green, flannel iPad case and an e-book edition of “Winne the Pooh”.
JF: That would be amazing!
MB: We’ve been reading your latest book, “Aquifer”. You didn’t waste any time hooking us right in from the start with the whole ‘dragging-a-dead-beastie-up-from-the-bottom-of-the-sea-mystery’ part. I think our readers will enjoy watching the Aquifer book trailer you made for the book too. What can you tell us a about “Aquifer” without spoiling the ending for us?
JF: “Aquifer” is my most ambitious young adult novel to date. Set in the future, the story portrays a world where fresh water has disappeared from the surface of the earth. The last remaining source lies deep underground, where a feared civilization of miners extract the water and pump it to the surface in exchange for Light. One man, The Deliverer, bears the burden of taking an annual pilgrimage down to the “Water Rats” domain to secure this trade. But when The Deliverer disappears, the responsibility falls to his son Luca, who soon discovers nothing on earth or beneath the surface is as it seems.
MB: By our count, you’ve had at least five books published so far. How is “Aquifer” similar/different than your previous writings?
JF: Similar to my previous books, Aquifer contains an “against all odds” feel, but the stakes are higher and the tension is more palpable in this latest release. If Luca fails, two civilizations fall, so the scope and sweep of the story is much grander. It almost has a Hunger Games feel, though it is filled with more hope and heart.
MB: On your website, www.jonathanfriesen.com, you talk about how you drew from some of your own struggles growing up when creating your main character’s struggles in “Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace”. What (or who) inspired your characters in Aquifer?
JF: The main frustration for Luca is a nagging sense that he is “other,” that he feels emotions that no one else, save his father, could possibly understand. In a way he’s right; the survival of the world rests on The Deliverer’s shoulders. It’s a terrifying and unique responsibly. I think all people feel a bit of Luca’s restlessness and loneliness, and sometimes even the weight of the world. We all have those moments of isolation when we feel nobody else gets it. Readers are going to connect with that.
MB: What major themes are featured in the novel (from what we can guess, we see: the power of the truth, possibly the danger of sacrificing freedom for security, democracy?) Would you care to elaborate on those themes?
JF: The power of truth and our need for freedom are strong themes throughout the book, as is the concept of home. Luca begins to question what home really is. Is it a place? Is it a group of people? Finally, I wanted readers to wonder about allegiances. Where should our allegiances lie? All these are dominant themes, along with the power of hope.
MB: Hope IS so very powerful! So, what do you want readers to take away from “Aquifer”?
JF: This is always a hard question as each reader brings a unique set of experiences to the book, and will draw unique ideas from it. But if readers turned the last page knowing that even in the darkest corners of their lives, there is a little light and a ray of hope, I’d be happy.
MB: So, with “Aquifer” behind you, what are you busy working on next?
JF: In April 2014, my next book “Mayday” releases with Penguin, and the following year, “Cracks” (Blink) will come out. “Mayday” is already finished. It follows a soul as she ventures back into her wild life trying to set things right.
MB: Nice tease… Is there a best means of connecting with you if we wanted to pester you with question on your next book or complain about how you made us stay up late suffering from “just-one-more-page” syndrome?
JF: I would love to have everyone swing by my Facebook site. That’s where I daily connect with readers!
MB: Sounds great, Jonathan. Thanks for taking time with us. Oh wait! Before you go, did you happen to have a CLUE we can pass along to our intrepid “31 Author Scavenger Hunt” participants?
JF: Indeed. The clue is… “LOYALTY”
Well, what are you waiting for, everyone? It’s time to hurry along to Stop#16 at Jonathan’s website.
And if you’ve only just caught the scavenger bug at our Stop, you might want to circle back and start at the beginning with Brock Eastman at Stop #1.