I ‘met’ A.T. on the Goodreads.com website after mentioning my 13-year-old son and I were reading a series of books together. A.T. contacted me, wondering if my son might be interested in reading and reviewing his YA book. Reese was so excited to be asked (especially since A.T. is from Ireland, totally upping his cool factor) and took on his first book review request. So today, this book review and interview with the author is by my son, Reese.
The island they come from has the last remaining people in the world on it, but the ocean is immense and their island is like a drop of water in it.
Will they ever see their family and friends again?
The father and son set out on an epic adventure to make their way home that will give them enough stories to last a lifetime. – Goodreads.com
The book was great. I liked that the author gave the logical side of things. I also liked the different portrayal of the apocalypse, not like with zombies or massive nuclear war. The characters were good too. I thought the beginning was a little slow, but then it got progressively faster as the book went on. The relationships between the friends were good.
I don’t like the way that Haiyugen turns from the guy that his son looks up to that acts like he knows everything to his son, then he turns into a clueless person who has almost no idea what’s going on and is oblivious to what manual labor is. I think that there shouldn’t be as many people whose names start with the letter g. Most people my age see the first letter and think that it’s this character but then it’s another and it gets confusing, or at least that’s how I think. I thought it was weird the children were almost all exactly the same age because it’s just too huge of a coincidence.
The rest of it was AMAZING! I would recommend this book to my friends. Can’t wait for the sequel!
Reese: Who was your favorite character and why?
A.T.: I like all the characters. The inspiration for writing is a strange process, in that you don’t design characters or at least, I don’t design characters. They present themselves to me out of the crevices of my imagination and I am equally amused by them all. In ways, they are like friends and it would feel disloyal to pick one over another. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but the challenge for me is to write a story in which the characters develop each other as friends help each other to develop.
Reese: Who was the most fun to write and why?
A.T.: The three kids are the most fun to write because they are not concerned with the responsibilities of the boat or the possible dangers of the journey. They are not responsible for the logistics of sailing, storing food or planning the trip and they are guarded by the adults at all times. In that zone of safety, they are more free to enjoy the adventure of travel than the adults. Since they are generally more carefree, it is easier to write dialogue for them.
Reese: Why was the boat named There Is One of Everything In The World?
A.T.: Well, the reason for the name is part of a gentle sub-theme that continues throughout the series, so I can’t explain it fully. A general explanation of that sub-theme would be that it is about appreciating everything in the world, especially yourself.
Reese: Glic was my favorite character. If your book was made into a movie, who would be your choice for Glic?
A.T.: It would have to be somebody who could play an old, wise character, without dominating the movie. Glic is the navigator of the story, to some extent, but he doesn’t dictate what should be done. The role of navigator is automatically a central role partly because it drives the plot and also because they are using the Navigatio Brendani to navigate.
Hmmm.. that is a difficult question, mainly because I find it hard to put faces of people that I know from movies or anywhere else onto the characters. I think the best actor to play Glic would be somebody like Morgan Freeman, but because I have never put defined faces on these characters, I think I would prefer if the actors were people I had never seen before. I would find it harder to write the characters if I was not thinking of them as individuals in their own right, rather than as characters to be played by actors.
Reese: I’m a cat person. Why was the pet in the book a dog instead of a cat?
There are two reasons for that. The first is the straightforward tie-in with the Navigatio Brendani book. That may seem to be a strong reason for using a dog character, but the connection to what happens in the Navigatio Brendani is fairly loose throughout.
I think the second reason for using a dog character would be that it is easier to work with them in a story. Cats tend to take up a lot of story space because they like attention and they have more complicated personalities. Dogs will bark if there is danger or they will run if they need exercise, whereas you need to work out why a cat has reacted in a certain way to understand its actions. The only time a dog has ulterior motives is when it wants food. I suppose I didn’t want to introduce another multi-dimensional character into the crew because that may have been tiring for readers.
That said, I might not be correct about the differences between cats and dogs. My mother wouldn’t let us have either when we were young because there were half-wild dogs near her family’s farm, so my experience of them is from friends’ houses. I don’t think there were any half-wild cats near their farm, but she still wouldn’t let us have a cat.
I like cats and dogs; if I had to choose, I would probably pick cats on the basis that I prefer their relatives, the big cats, to the relatives of dogs, the wolves.
Reese: Without giving anything away, can you tell me if Glic will play a large part in the second book?
A.T.: Glic is the wisest of the characters. For that reason, he will always have a strong role in any situation that requires wisdom. Haiyugen is a natural leader and he comes into his own in the second book, but he still looks to Glic for advice.
On occasion, Glic can also default to a headmaster role without noticing that he is doing so. This is easily accepted by the others since five of the crew were educated by him. In his roles of former headmaster, wise man and navigator of the journey, he will continue to play a large part throughout the story and there will be some development of him as a person also.
Reese: Random question. Who is your favorite super hero and why?
A.T.: I don’t know what it says about me that at the age of thirty-five, I find that to be the easiest question to answer! My favourite superhero, without a doubt, is Batman. My profile picture on bebo.com many moons ago was a picture of Batman and I think the recent Batman movies are excellent, if slightly too dark. So what is it about Batman that I like? I suppose I like the fact that he has a utility belt for storing gadgets and a cool car and I like the bat symbol in the sky. I think I also like the fact that he is an ordinary person and that in some way, he is the most achievable of the superheroes. That is a common thread in my own book; I find it easier to identify with characters that could exist, even though I grew up with Star Wars and E.T. and loved them also. In saying that, it’s probably unfair of me to say that characters in Star Wars could not exist, since we have stranger creatures in our own oceans!
As a child, I probably dreamt of being a rich industrialist like Bruce Wayne and taking on the bad guys when the town was in trouble. I’m not even sure I still wouldn’t dream the same! I like pretty much everything about Batman actually. Well done, DC Comics.
Great questions, Reese! Thanks very much for the interview and for taking the time to read my book.
Thanks to A.T. for letting Reese interview him! The second book in the series, The Northern Seas, is due to be released September 2013. You can purchase There is One of Everything in the World at the link below: