Today I’m pleased to welcome author Joseph A. Davis to the blog for an interview about his older children’s/middle grade book Thousandworld: The Darkenstar, the first in the Thousandworld series! I’ve already reviewed this book last year and it became one of my favourite reads of the year. You can read my review by clicking here if you’d like. 🙂 It’s a brilliant fantasy adventure and I highly recommend everyoe read it! Now I hope you enjoy the interview and there is more information about the book too…
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your book and the inspiration behindit? At its heart, The Darkenstar is a book about creativity and seeing new perspectives. A few years ago, I was visiting a small town on the east coast of Sweden, doing creative writing workshops in the local schools. After one of these workshops, I was sitting by a fountain outside the local library, waiting for a parent who wanted a signed book. As I waited, a nearby sculpture caught my eye, and I imagined a world in which sculptures and other artwork could come to life, where creativity worked like a magic power. I hastily scribbled this germ of an idea down in my notebook, where it eventually sprouted and blossomed into Thousandworld. The characters who now populate this world were mostly inspired by real people, both modern and historical, and many of their more entertaining and intriguing interactions were born out of a desire to let them see each other’s perspectives. For example, a young girl (the main character) reluctantly helps a refugee boy in school, before later becoming something of a refugee herself and being helped by him. 2. This book has been written in Swedish first and you’ve now translated it into English, do you encounter any problems in translating your work or writing in different languages? I am of the opinion that if one’s writing process isn’t fraught with problems, then one is probably doing it wrong. Thankfully, however, I have somehow managed to write and publish seven fantasy books in my second language (Swedish), and they have generally been quite well-received by critics and readers of various ages. It is a bit ironic that The Darkenstar, my first traditionally published book in my native language (English), was written in my second language first. But I suppose life is sometimes funny like that. The most difficult thing about translating the book into English was finding a new name for the main characters’ hometown, as the Swedish original sounds a bit dirty when read by an English speaker. 3. The Darkenstar is the first book in this series, how many more books are you planning on writing? I am planning for a total of five “official” Thousandworld books, as well as a coming anthology of short stories, poems and other texts by young readers, to which I will also contribute a story. 4. There are many different worlds in Thousandworld (hence the name), if you could travel to any, which would it be and why? I would like to visit Paradisum, but several years before the events of The Darkenstar. I would like to see the domain as its creator Angelica envisioned it, before parts of it were ruined by the Darkenwraiths and other parts taken over by Pallantu. I would especially love to visit the old capital, which combined the best features of a majestic city, a charming town and a magical garden. 5. There are some illustrations in the novel by Yulia Ryabtseva, what do you think of the illustrations and do the characters look as you imagined? Yulia’s work is superb, and each piece she produced for the book amazed me with its beauty and its faithfulness to my artistic vision. Some of her works are just like the characters and scenes I envisioned; others are better. Her drawing of Pallantu is a special favorite. It was originally commissioned as a piece of promotional art, but when I saw the finished piece, I realized that I had found the illustrator I was looking for. From the second book onward, she has been joined by a pair of other illustrators, Thomas Buxton and George Rosvall, who are also extremely talented. 6. Have you always enjoyed writing from a young age?
When I was eight years old, I wanted to live in a castle. Since there were none available for the ten or so dollars I had saved up from my allowance money, I had no choice but to write myself a castle. I created a series of very poorly-written books in which my friends and I lived in a flying castle and had superpowers. The adults around me made the mistake of encouraging me, and so I have been writing ever since.7. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like to read, play the guitar and go for walks in the forest. I also write bad poetry for myself and joke stories for my friends. And I still do creative writing workshops in schools, which is always a lot of fun.8. Are you working on anything new?
The third (Swedish) Thousandworld book is currently being reviewed by test-readers, and I look forward to putting the finishing touches on it in a few weeks. Otherwise, I am planning the fourth book and preparing to translate the second book into English.9. What’s the best thing about being an author?
The ability to invite others into a world of one’s own making. I love hearing readers, both young and old, share their experiences in various scenes I have created and their meetings with my dear characters. Some characters are special favorites of mine, and when a reader really appreciates one of these, I feel like a proud parent.10. If you could live in any book, which would it be and why? That is a very difficult question. It is often conflict, difficulty and danger that make a story interesting, and these things tend to be more pleasant to read about than to experience. So a book that I would want to live in might be a very dull book to read. But if I were forced to choose an interesting book, maybe one of the Narnia books. There is a lot of beauty in that series, and the author described some really delicious-sounding meals that I would love to taste.
Thank you so much Joseph for taking time to answer my questions today. 🙂 I also wished to live in a castle when I was younger (I think I still do!) 🙂 and I can’t wait to read the next installment of the Thousandworld series when it’s translated. 😀
Adventures in Thousandworld: The Darkenstar is available to buy now both in Swedish and English with more details about the English version below.
About the Book
When the refugee boy Kasir appears in the little Swedish town of Kippsby, twelve-year-old Julia notices at once that something about her new classmate is a bit strange. But she doesn’t realise just how different he is until one fateful night when they are attacked by terrifying living shadows.
Along with her brother Edvin and an old vagrant called the Troubadour they are forced to flee through a magical portal to Kasir’s homeland. It is a world of boundless beauty, where art comes alive – but the shadows threaten to destroy all its wonders. While Julia and Edvin struggle with a new language, a new culture and unknown perils, they discover that they have a secret link to Kasir’s world. Perhaps they might even have the power to save it.
About the Author
Joseph A. Davis is an American fantasy author living and working in Sweden, where his books have been highly praised and widely recommended by literary critics, libraries, schools and readers of all ages. He is known for his gripping stories set in unique and imaginative worlds, as well as for exploring themes such as compassion and intercultural communication in ways that are accessible to young readers.
Did you enjoy this interview? Have you read Adventures in Thousandworld The Darkenstar yet? Let me know what you think in the commets below 🙂