Green Planet Under Fire is is due for release on April 11, 2011, the second book in the Green Planet adventure series. Anthony's books have had a wide appeal due to their fantastical and imaginative nature. We at Melrose Books interviewed Anthony and asked him a few interesting questions regarding his new novel. Anthony E. Southby is available through his website: www.greenplanetfantasy.com.
Green Planet Under Fire is the follow-up to Green Planet, which you published with us last year. Before we jump into Green Planet Under Fire, what do we need to know from the first adventure so that we're all up to speed?
For those that haven’t heard of Green Planet before, it is a fast-paced fantasy adventure novel suitable for all ages. The theme of the story basically revolves around two boys who are turned into a pair of monkeys by an evil wizard. They are then taken to Green Planet by Chimzen the good wizard with the goal of finding a magic Frego flower to restore them to boys again.
Green Planet is covered in deadly plant creatures and cunning flower fairies, and the group nearly sacrifice their lives in an effort to return home alive. Jasmine Azor is the leader of the flower fairy gang and she goes all out to destroy Chimzen and his friends. Green Planet is not only action and drama; the story is also filled with wit and invention.
Green Planet Under Fire basically begins from where the evil flower fairies have been defeated. When I first wrote the series I tried not to leave too many loose ends, and one will find that each new installment is more or less an independent story of its own.
While both of these books can be read as stand-alone titles, they're both still written with a sense that, yes, the adventure carries on. Are these character arcs that have been written for some time, or are you creating the worlds of these characters as you go?
The first Green Planet book was written from day to day. I would usually lie in bed at night and suddenly come up with a really incredible idea; then I would immediately make a note of it. As I got the ideas coming to me I would write the story, never quite knowing how it would end.
Green Planet Under Fire was quite different though. I carefully planned the story, developing a solid structure first with all the key ideas. This must have taken me over two months to do. Then just like that I wrote the book in six short weeks. With a solid foundation the story just flowed out of me at an amazing rate. The book is filled with incredible detail, and is extremely fast-moving.
No I have not planned the series through to the end, but I do plan each one with loose ends leading to the next book.
Mathias the evil wizard is back, as is Chimzen the good wizard, not to mention Philip and Frank. But you introduce a number of new characters that keep your story fresh and really open up the Green Planet universe for us. Who are your biggest additions, and what functions do they serve in the story?
Funny you should say ‘open up the Green Planet universe.’ The third book in the series is where I have literally opened up the Green Planet universe by adding strange new planets for the group to visit.
Back to the question, three new characters added to my story would be Mathick, Robert, and Emmaline or Emma. Very interesting indeed.
Mathick with his tattooed body and long hair, cruising through the air on his flying silver barstool. A coward of a man with an extreme passion for money. He is Mathias’ brother and is also quite rotten to the core. Jasmine Azor manages to use him against his will for her own personal gain, so you could say he forms a part of the team of villains.
Robert Nothling is one of Philip’s school friends and he enjoys nothing quite like chocolate cake and roast potatoes, OK maybe not together. He lands up in a rather unfortunate predicament in my story. He is lured into a creepy place in the valley somewhere where he ends up eating the sap of a very toxic tree. He blows up like a hot air balloon and floats up into the sky. Let’s just say the floating boy ends up quite bloated with gas. The poor boy is also petrified of the creatures on Green Planet and does his fair share of moaning.
Emma Sawyer on the other hand is a beautiful blonde teenage girl as well as a compulsive liar. The group soon tire of her ways and wish that she had never come along to Green Planet. She pays the price for her sins though and gets transformed into a talking bush by Azor, but only develops each new leaf one lie at a time.
What makes these books such a fun read is your combination of humour, adventure and a richly detailed world in which your characters are set. Tell us about your inspiration for the Green Planet universe--is a lot of your creation organic, or did you connect with certain types of books and authors growing up?
There was only one author when I grew up and her name was Enid Blyton. She has definitely rubbed off on me with the infinity of books that she wrote. I can’t really remember any of her stories that well, but somehow I try and create that same feeling behind my stories. Like the magic wishing chair with its flying wings. Like using magic ointment to make things grow or make them better. Maybe my books are designed for a slightly older audience, but that same magic element carries through. Then there is C S Lewis with the great planet Narnia through the cupboard. Daft ideas of teleportation and magical quests, I love that.
With Green Planet I was able to create an original Floral planet like nobody has ever seen before and emphasize Green Peace and taking care of mother earth, like the way in which my great wizard Chimzen loves and takes care of his forest back home, perched up high in his tree house.
How far do these adventures go? How many more adventures do you have left to write?
With the Green Planet series I plan to take the story as far as five parts. Not that I would have run out of ideas, but I really don’t want to kill the concept. I can already feel ideas bursting through for part four, it’s very exciting. As long as the ideas are new and interesting I’m happy.
How many adventures do I have left? Well when I have completed the Green Planet series I will definitely move onto something else, there are an infinity of things to ponder over. I am gifted and have the ability to suck in new ideas like a machine. I am living in a very exciting time of my life.
Tell us a bit about your website, and why people should visit!
My website was created by a good friend of mine, and he is constantly adding and upgrading it. The website is colourful and attractive to look at, especially for children. There is a piece about myself and the struggles I have been through to be the success that I enjoy today. Some people might find this uplifting. Your children will enjoy the theme poems on my site where they can learn more about the Green Planet story. There is also a chapter of my book for those that would like to get a taste of the adventure. And if you would like to hear what I sound like you can hear me on a radio interview promoting the book as well.
Thanks to Anthony for taking time out of his writing and promotional schedule to answer a few questions for us! Green Planet and Green Planet Under Fire are available to order via Amazon, Gardners, Melrose Books and select locations throughout the UK. You can also place an order by stopping into your local bookseller, who will always appreciate your support. For local orders in South Africa, contact Sula Distribution on +27 (21) 556 1149 or via email on info.sula.co.za.