A: Obviously Noah Zarc is very, very loosely based on the account of Noah's Ark in the Bible. That was the jumping off point. But mostly the book is about family, and what lengths each member of the Zarc family will go to, to protect those they love. So the inspiration for this was my own family. I wanted my kids to know that I would do anything to protect them. Noah Zarc, Sr. acts as I would in his place. He is me. Or the me I would be if I lived 1,000 years in the future and had a time-traveling ship full of thousands of animals.
Q: How did you choose your characters' names?
A: Originally only the dad had the name Noah. Noah, Jr. had the name, J.J. So the three kids were Sam, Ham, and J.J. based on the three sons of Noah in the Bible: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. But then I had an editor tell me that since the story was called Noah Zarc, the main character should be Noah Zarc. That's when I made J.J. Noah. Then I had people say Sam and Ham having names so similar to each other confused them. So Ham was called Hamilton for most of the book. It fit his personality better anyway. Other names, like Adina, Draben and Haon's wife, Shalia all were names that I just kind of pulled out of the air. I liked the way they sounded. A bit foreign, but not so strange kids would stumble over their pronunciation. Oh, also Haon is obviously, Noah backwards. The reasons for this are discussed in much more detail in the second book.
Q: What was your favorite part about writing Noah Zarc?
A: My favorite part of writing in general, is when surprising things happen. I absolutely love it when I'm writing along and something unexpected happens. Like when the woolly mammoth charged out of the trees and rammed into the ship. I had no idea that was going to happen. So when it did, I had to figure out why. That's when I had to explore the whole relationship that Noah, Sr. had developed with the cavemen before Noah and his siblings arrived in the Ice Age.
Q: Do you have a plalylist for your novel?
A: This is pretty funny. I never thought of a playlist for a novel until today. Just this afternoon another author friend of mine, Emlyn Chand, posted a playlist to her novel, Farsighted. I didn't know the concept even existed. So no, sadly I don't. BUT, I do listen to music when I write. Almost exclusively the Lord of the Rings soundtrack (I am a nerd at heart). It's got to be music without any lyrics in it, or I get too distracted.
Q: There is a lot of time travel in Noah Zarc. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of it, and some of the characters did too. How did you keep track of it?
A: Well, I got lost at times too. But the main way I kept track is I have a whole timeline written out, with every major date in the book (in the series, in fact). So I can keep track of when, and where an event happens. The timeline is in chronological order, not the order it happens in the book, so it helps me to understand if there are events that happen later in the book that might change how things happened earlier.
Q: Can you tell us anything about book two?
A: The time travel question above is a good segue into this question. Book two is, perhaps, a darker book than the first one. It follows Noah as he tries to learn more about who Haon is, and what role he might have played in the Great Cataclysm that wiped out life on Earth. In the process, Noah starts to think maybe he could actually stop the destruction of Earth from happening in the first place. There's an overarching question of, can you go back and change time at all. Or is everything set in stone. You'll have to read it to find out where I come down on the issue. Also, there's a new character added that I thoroughly enjoyed, and Noah is faced with another big question, what constitutes life?
Q: How do you feel knowing people actually read and enjoy your book?
A: I'm tickled pink. Every once in a while I'll get a notice on Goodreads that says "John Doe is reading Noah Zarc." and it is just so cool to think, right this moment someone could be sitting down with a copy of my book open on their lap, reading. More than that, though, I love to hear from kids who have read it. I just love their simple way of saying things. "This book was awesome!" takes the cake as my most favorite review from a kid.
A: I feel funny offering advice for "aspiring writers" simply because I was one just a few short months ago. And to a great extent still feel like one. But, there are definitely things I've learned. One is, after you write the words "The End" the real work begins. Really. I had no idea how much work was to follow. I spent about two years working with beta readers getting the manuscript to the point I thought maybe it was ready to sell. Then I spent four months working with two editors on everything from completely reworking several parts of the story to deleting others, to adding yet more. It was an amazing process, and the book is so, so much stronger than it was before, but it was time consuming. I grew frustrated with how long it took. But in the end it was all well worth it. So that's my first piece of advice. Be patient. And don't take shortcuts.
Of course some people may say that I took a huge shortcut by self-publishing Noah Zarc, rather than finding a traditional publisher. But I don't look at it that way at all. I didn't choose self-publishing as a way to get my book out faster. I chose it because, for me, it was the better way to go. There are many aspects of publishing that I felt I could do myself. I'm a designer by trade, so I could do all the graphic work, website, cover art and such, myself. With all the distribution channels available now I don't need to be on the bookstore shelves. In fact I felt like everything I needed, aside from editing, I could handle myself. But one thing I didn't account for was just how much work marketing would be. I've spent basically the past four months working full time at it. So much that I've not had much time for anything else, including writing. That's all going to change the first of the year. I've got to get the sequel to Noah Zarc done. And I've got another project that I'm excited about I want to get back to as well.
Q: Is there anything you want readers to take from your book?
A: More than anything I just want people to have fun reading Noah Zarc. I didn't really set out to make any deep points, although I discovered some along the way. I really just wanted to write a frolicking adventure through space and time. I hope that's what people take away from it. If they come up with anything more than that, then bonus.
Well I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!
Blog Tour NotesOVERVIEW
Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth's animals from extinction.
Life couldn't be better.
But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth... for the second time.
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D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.
Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com
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