Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Q&A with author Wendy Raven McNair
1. Why do the characters have such a connection with food? Food holds a wealth of symbolism. It's the common thread that binds us because all humans need food to live yet it's regional and every culture has its own beliefs and traditions around food. So food is a great way to reveal things about the characters and the story. For instance the opening breakfast scene reveals the social dynamics in Adisa's family and the dinner scene features some traditional African American and southern dishes. Micah's African dishes are a reflection of his time in Africa and the dishes used during Adisa's kidnapping are tied to the stories Victor tells her.
2. Micah often goes to Africa as part of his FLEET training. Why Africa? Micah reveals that "in addition to being the cradle of civilization, (Africa is) the birthplace of the first superbeings." I was emphasizing that fact as a logical progression of the story.
3. Is Victor good or bad? It's hard to tell his true intentions? Will he play a bigger role in the next book? Many people are intrigued by Victor and his motivations which thrills me because he's a very complicated character. I believe it's up to the reader to decide if Victor is good or bad. He'll definitely figure prominently in book 2, AWAKE, and more of his background will be shared but that won't necessarily make categorizing him any easier.
4. Why make Victor white? Prejudice figures significantly in human nature and I thought it would be interesting to re-figure this in the story. So both Adisa and Micah have close ties to a "white" individual however, the prejudice they exemplify is different based on their background. Liz was raised in the earthbound culture so she operates under racial prejudice but Victor is from the superbeing culture and they don't have racial prejudice, it's not logical to them. However, they have prejudice against earthbounds as a whole because they consider them an inferior species despite the two groups' ability to inter-breed with each other. This is revealed more in book 2, AWAKE.
5. Since this is just Book I, do you have it planned out in your head what's going to happen to Adisa and Micah? Yes, it's planned out to the very end. Before I finished book 1, I knew how the final book in the trilogy would end. The challenge now is sticking to that plan because sometimes the story starts veering in different directions that pull me off my original idea. So the story is still evolving but it has to stay true to all that has already been told.