Friday, November 7, 2014

Interview w/ Frank Graves

       What made you decide to re-write and update the “Ancestral Trail Trilogy”?

Published in 1993 = 52 Chapters in magazine format, 26 chapters within an Ancient World, next 26 Chapters within Cyber World. Initially each chapter contained 3,000 words and when adapted to magazine format only required about 1,600 words per chapter. The new Trilogy Novels each contain roughly 5,000 per chapter 27 chapters including lengthy prologue. It's been 20 years and Ancestral Trail still has a large following so novel was the way to go.

Can you tell us a bit about the main character, Richard?

Richard is a run of the mill teenage, cocky, smartass and self assured, his only difference from others is that he has two different coloured eyes and that sets him apart from others, so much so that his friends have nicknamed him 'Mutant'.

       What ‘Life Force’ does each of the seven Life Force Pods possess?

Each Pod of Life represents the life force for differing categories on this world (Humans, insects, reptiles and mythical beasts etc). QUOTE: "This place is the original universe garden; you notice that we are seated beside the 'Tree of Life'. Once upon a time all life started in this very spot; this tree has always been the beating heart of the universe, it sheds seven jeweled pods every few decades of 'your' time. The seven pods represent seven facets of goodness, which then regenerate the tree and hence the whole universe.

       How does a tunic aid the ‘Chosen One’ in completing his task?

The tunic is the 'Cape of Darnell' (An invisibility cloak) QUOTE: but remember, use it with care because each time that you life the cape over your head you will become totally invisible to the outside world. He uses the cape sparingly and when trapped or when needing to hide his presence from a beast.

       How does an amulet aid the ‘Chosen One’ in completing his task?

It provides the connection to the main Wizard, Chimahl (Sort of like Cell Phone-ish cum TV of the ancient world) to enable 'Chosen One' to receive help and limited guidance while on his quest. QUOTE: at no time are you to lose that amulet. Keep it safe at all times, it's very special and it will constantly activate one of the emblems on your helmet, If you still have it on your person, you'll return it to us at the end of your journey.

       Who are the main characters, excluding Richard, in the “Ancestral Trail Trilogy’?

Chimahl - Keeper of the Life Force
Orkan of the common beasts
Nikla the Librarian
The Evil One

       Can you tell us a bit about these other main characters?

Chimahl is the Keeper of the Life Force. He is the sole Guardian that remains after the other six were captured by the Evil One's forces. He is also the Keeper of the Pod of Wisdom, which is the only Life Force Pod that hasn't been stolen. Golan's power has weakened greatly because of the destruction around him and he looks to the Chosen One to save his world from the Evil One.

Orkan is of the common beasts, a race of beings with the bodies of man and the faces of animals; in Orkan's case, he possesses the face of a pig. He managed to escape the "final battle" and was looking for survivors when he bumps into Richard. He decides to help Richard in his quest to recover the stolen pods while continuing his search. Orkan is a strong warrior and a trustworthy friend, and the journey ahead will lead to a destiny he never expected.

Nikla the Seshet was once a scribe in the library of the Ancient City, but when the Evil One appeared the city fell under his dark rule, she was forced to flee for her life. She managed to save the ancient Book of Prophecies from the vaults before the city fell in the final battle. She hid in the nearby forests until she ran into Orkan and Richard, the latter of whom she immediately recognized as the chosen One. Now the keeper of the prophecies will guide the Chosen One on his quest, Nikla may prove more useful to Richard's journey than she first appears.

The Evil One is the all-powerful being that is ravaging the Ancestral World with his evil power and his armies of darkness. Very little is known of the Evil One, but the image of his grotesque mask is well known and feared by anyone who opposes him.

       What is the main focus of the “Ancestral Trail Trilogy?

Very simply its Good verses Evil, the whole series within the trilogy's main focus is on all the different beasts, monsters and creatures inhabiting each world that Richard will encounter during his travels. The original Ancestral Trail series was aimed at the 7 to 13 year old market, the trilogy novels are now more for the Young Adult Fiction Market.

       Can you tell us more about the Ancestral World?

An Epic Story of an ancient World filled with Myths, Magic and Monsters - Since the beginning of time, creatures of the air, land and water have lived in peace in the Ancestral World that is also at the heart of all universes. Landsmen, common beasts, birds and fishes have dwelt in harmony with insects, reptiles and mythical beasts. Ruled with fairness and wisdom by the Council of Guardians, they have known neither suffering nor the ravages of war. Now an evil spirit has come to this land and is laying waste to all that is good. The Forces of Evil have gained ground fast and many of these peaceful creatures have been killed or have fallen under the Evil One's power. The Life Force of the Ancestral World and the entire Universe is almost at an end.

       Can you tell us more about the Council of Guardians?

The Council of Guardians is made up of seven Great Elders each representing a different aspect of the ancient world such as:- Chimal - Keeper of the Life Force, Juroot - Defender of Mythical Creatures, Oganga - Surveyor of Winged Resources, Covelette - Insect Realm Upholder, Metie and Mockie - Protectors of the Deep, Broon - The Wild Beast Shield, and each utilizes a different Life Force Pod.

       What can you tell us about “Time and Time Again” without giving anything away?

Richard follows on his adventure but this time in a Cyber World accompanied by two androidal type figures that he names Niklatoo and Orkantoo and once again tries to defend this sci-fi world against the Evil One because the Cyber World was a calm, serene and happy place, a true new frontier because it gave opportunity to make huge gains in many areas. This was only possible because it took shape in a new world that was untamed and untainted by events throughout the universe. The Cyber World became a fresh start on a whole new planet but, like events set in motion by all great adventurers Evil has now entered this Cyber World, there is no way out... There are Life Forces that need to be rescued.

       Is there anything you can tell us about “Once Upon and Time Again” without giving anything away?

Richard thinks it is all over as he is returned to his home planet. However, not everything is as it should be, yes he is back on Earth but, within the wrong time and the Evil One is still on hand, the only course is for him to fight through a series of Modern Day time zones to get back to where he first began his long journey while the Present Day World is busily tweeting, texting and spending, this world is also drifting towards despairing disaster at the insatiable technoconsumerism that echo the apocalyptic essays of all satirists. This world has now substantially changed. The Evil One has arrived, driving greed to create War, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Population Explosion and Temperature Rises to risky levels caused by his human's selfish activity resulting in unequivocal global warming. The Present Day World is under siege, fast destroying itself... Action preventing a catastrophe occurring must start somewhere.

       What was your childhood like growing-up in South Africa?

I probably had the most perfect and exciting childhood that I could ever have wished for, the type that most people can only dream about. Sporty, naughty, holiday camping for weeks, bicycling for miles, great teachers and never had any interference from loving parents who stood back and let me grow at my own pace but, were always there to pick up the pieces.

       Were you raised on tales of magic, monsters, and myth? If so, how does that affect your writing?

No, I was not, however had a distant relative in Robert Graves the poet who from time to time would enclose a letter for my brother and me. They were always very chatty and weirdly set out and so, became a late life inspiration.

       The epic “Ancestral Trail” has a twenty-two year history. Can you tell us a bit about that history?

Just like Charles Dickens' serial publication of The Pickwick Papers, the publication of Ancestral Trail was carried out on a fortnightly basis that allowed for serializing 26 within the Ancestral World and the same amount of 26 within the Cyber World during the following year. The original Ancestral Trail series was aimed at the 7 to 13 year old market, however the market then proved to encompass a much wider age range of readers including adults. There has been continuous buying and selling interest of these over twenty years especially through Ebay and Amazon where they come to market.

       Besides the young adult “Ancestral Trail Trilogy”, you have also written three adult fiction novels. Can you tell us a bit about “African Chess”?

African Chess was my first attempt at writing a fictional novel thriller and originally published in 1990. However recent events in South Africa such as Nelson Mandela's Death, Oscar Pistorius's Trial, Shrien Dewani's Extradition for Murder, 16,259 Murders in 2012/13 and Epidemic Corruption have all helped to heighten attention and possible marketing opportunity by focusing on that country. Essentially the novel is about South African Freedom Fighting for Independence combined with Commodity Broking in London in order to fund their fight and even a little incest to add spice.

       Can you tell us a bit about “The Culling”?

The Culling is based on an interesting theory of how to create Man-Made Earthquakes to curb a world Overpopulation problem. So just imagine what any country would do, if a controlled earthquake suddenly brought down the house of parliament in UK or, congress in session in the USA or, any third world government at an exact point in time when all members of that government were under on roof? It's more than mere theory; it's very possible because the Russians have already poured huge sums into proving that the theory does work. The novel is mainly concerns an ordinary accountant who accidentally stumbles onto the UN and conglomerate conspiracy, who's going to believe his story? The group of "SWOP" (Stop the World from Over Population) need him gone... FOREVER!

       Can you tell us a bit about “The Kixing”?

The greedy Chairman of a huge conglomerate as well as an established boxing promoter stops at nothing to get what he wants, believing that he must win at all costs. Whether the stakes are corporate take-overs, aided by a nasty corporation lawyer whose duty it is to identify possible commercial weaklings, or his betting on a positive outcome from his crooked boxing matches but mainly, putting in place his beloved passion for the malicious and killing KIXING fights. KIXING is an illegal mixture of Thai-Boxing, Cage Fighting and Ancient Cock Fighting using hand and feet studs where one of the gladiatorial combatants of this aggressive blood sport will not survive. The chairman of a major group is also a well known boxing promoter, who when acquiring a bookmaking business using similar type tactics creates his own total undoing of his business empire.

       Which was your favorite book to write? Why?

All my Adult Fiction Novels have similar common threads that underpin the fictional story, that is that big business that generally involves some form of corruption and conspiracy that are like constant ghosts lurking within the shadows. Once any work leaves my head, I continue on enjoying the moment and am probably the worst offender of the old adage to edit, edit, edit. My favorite book is therefore, the one I have just finished because I have not gone back or read them myself.

       Are there going to be any forthcoming novels?

Oh Yes! The second part of the Ancestral Trail Trilogy, "Time and Time Again" should be published sometime toward the end of September or beginning of October so that makes five epic novels published in 2014.

       I am also concentrating on another Young Adult Fiction called "Masterbug" before the year end and the story is about Scarman Alexander McTavish, an off-beat teenage geeky schoolboy genius from America that finds himself taking up residence with his pompous Uncle, Aunt and Emily their daughter in wealthy suburbia of England. He has a "very special computer" named Klikkie and together with his incoherent Swedish distant cousin Ingrid they find they can magically venture around inside this magical homemade computer. There is one problem as once inside, their footsteps are dogged by a "Nasty Computer Virus" called Koozou commanding a host of terrible Alphabetical Soldiers. Scarman really faces three battles; His Total Weirdness within an elite society; Saving his Possible Fortune from falling into his uncle's hands; His Intense Passion of Old Master Paintings.

Interview provided by: D.B. Mauldin

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