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Interview for Euro reviews
3/10/2007 7:25:00 AM
by Arthur Jackson
|Recent review with Euro reviews on "Knights of the First Order"
Author Interview with Arthur Jackson
I found myself being lucky to have the chance to read and review the above book. And ofcourse I was looking forward to interview the author who wrote this book: Arthur Jackson. Knights of The First Order, tells a story that you will enjoy as you are drawn into the chaos the main characters find themselves in. The interview, and more precisely the answers Arthur Jackson gave me, are - in a different way - just as interesting as the book itself. His book is available in ebook and paperback format. You can read my review here. - Annick
Arthur: I want to start by thanking you for your gracious and very favorable review of my book. It is always good to see that people enjoy the works you have created, and appreciate the effort that to put into their creation. Once again thank you.
Annick: I really enjoyed Knights of the First Order. It involved plenty of suspense and mystery. Where did you get the idea from to write this book?
Arthur: The idea for this book came from a series of articles I had read in the 1999 to 2000 time frame. The articles dealt with something called the genetic bottle neck in human society, which occurred during the end of a major ice age. There is growing evidence that at some point in time, the entirety of the human species on this planet had been reduced to less than 10,000 people. There is no explanation as to why this occurred. Genetic testing was the primary tool for determining this fact. When I coupled this information with the presence in that timeframe of a species that has received little credit for its contribution to modern humans, Neanderthals, all the basic ingredients for a book were present. You immediately come up with a series of questions about these two events. Were they related? Was the genetic bottle neck caused by some type of virus? Did Neanderthals play a part in the spread of this virus? Did Neanderthals help save modern man? As I began research on Neanderthals and the genetic bottle neck, interesting facts began to reveal themselves. Neanderthal was better suited to survival in the cold climate of the Ice Age than modern man. He had a brain size that was larger than modern man, and there's a growing body of evidence that Neanderthals may have developed a form of writing. With all this information it was just a short step to move them into the modern context in a store line. Was there some interaction between modern man and Neanderthal that helped shape modern society? Cloning, which is not usually associated with viruses, could become a significant issue in re-creating ancient viral types. It is the connection to a fundamental question; is there a point in time when a species understands it is time to step aside and let another species move forward? These are the questions I was attempting to explore in the novel.
Annick: Where did the idea come from for the lovely cover, a gun and a sword? An object from nowadays together with something from the old days...
Arthur: The cover for this novel was created by the wonderfully talented people at Chippewa Publications. My editor, Ricki, at Chippewa has been invaluable in bringing this novel to reality. The finished product was then sent to the art director of Chippewa, Ginelf, as she is known, who developed the cover after reading it. They did a masterful job in fusing together all the components of the novel into a very beautiful and well thought out cover. From the moment I saw the cover I knew immediately it was the one I want for my book. So far everyone else who has seen the cover has had nothing but praise for it.
Annick: A woman and 3 teenagers on the run... That's something you don't often find in suspense books, mostly it are the adults who run. Did you have a special intention by also having teenagers as main characters? Maybe this was to attract teenagers to read the book as well, which is a good thing of course.
Arthur: In the real world we do not separate adults and children. Where you find adults you will most often find children of varying ages. In approaching this novel in only made sense to include children since were talking about the concept that would involve breathing new life into existence, cloning. No matter what an individual may feel about the prospect of cloning it is coming closer to reality each day. With that will come all the questions that we raise in the book and many more. These will be the same questions that each adult will face when dealing with the teenage population of today as they diverge from the standards of an older society, and find their own way by setting up new standards of their own. We often forget that the decisions about these critical scientific and social matters will not be decided by today's adults, but by tomorrow's children. I thought it more the inappropriate to place those children in context in dealing with some of the issues that they will be faced with in the future. They will be the ones who will be living and interacting with this new world, just as we saw Sharon interacting with the two clone boys in a high-school environment, and on the trip to the mountains. As you can see from the look, Sharon 's interaction with the clones was very different than the adults. This is usually the way things occur in reality, as future generations make their own decisions about how to accept and to react to new changes in science and society.
Annick: What I also liked a lot is how you often describe the view of the landscape they visit, definitely an extra asset to the book. Have you ever been to the mountains?
Arthur: I love the mountains, and spend as much time as I can either on ski slopes, or just enjoying the outdoors. Although we have been to Europe, we have not had a chance to see the spectacular mountains of Germany first hand. My wife and I live in Seattle Washington , just a stone's throw from the Olympic mountain range, and the Cascade mountain range. Placing characters in a beautiful setting is meaningless unless you can't let your readers enjoy the setting as well. I try to paint a picture with words to give the reader a sense of the color and backdrops for each scene of the novel. It works for me as a writer to keep me in contact with the moment of the scene, and I hope it works for the reader to set context and color in the book.
Annick: The alumni, now that is something we don't often hear about anymore. Where did you get the idea from to use them in your book.
Arthur: By the alumni I assume you mean the group that forms the board of directors for DEVCON. I thought it was important to create a real life picture of the people who would be making decisions in this novel. This is actually the third in a series of novels involving DEVCON and the group that forms the steering committee. Setting up characteristics on each member of this colorful group is an important part of the color and flavor of the novel. As you can tell from each of the characters they represent some of the key segments of our society today. Although James Ellis, and Thomas Fuller give us an introspective look at the modern military man, I also included business in the form of Stella Davishar, technology in the form of Deborah Turner, medicine in the form of Doctor Knowel Prentice, and the academic community in the form of Kathy Allison and Avery Belshire. With this group we see a cross section of the critical components of science, technology, and education which are shaping our world today. In the book these people represent the forces which come together to provide a central theme of the novel. The issue of cloning as a scientific and medical concern with its social implications is something the characters of the novel must come to grips with. The thought processes and perspectives of each of these characters helps shape the central theme for the novel.
Annick: How long did it take for you to write Knights of the First Order? I can only imagine it must have taken you a long time.
Arthur: “Knights of the First Order” was originally conceived in the 1999 timeframe, and I began writing the book shortly after my wife and I relocated to Seattle Washington in the year 2001. I tend to work on several manuscripts at one time, which usually means that I spend time moving back and forth between manuscript as ideas develop and opportunities present themselves. Knights took a great deal of time and effort to create, and I hope that work and effort comes through in the novel.
Annick: Maybe the answer to this question is still a secret but..do you have ideas for a next book, and would you like to share them with us?
Arthur: The follow-up to “Knights of the First Order” is already written. I am in the process of editing it at this time. At the end of the book there were several unanswered questions which will be tied up in the next novel. At this time I would like to simply leave it there.
I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to discuss this novel and I hope that readers will enjoy it immensely.
- interviewed by Annick
© 2007 Euro-Reviews