Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome to the Imagine Nation: An interview with fantasy author Grant Stone

1) Tell us about your book.

Everything Zing is an invitation to the Imagine Nation’s ultimate destination and saga. For centuries stories from destinations such as Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Narnia and Oz have all been shared with the world to set the stage. Now, after endless myths and fables, you can ride the Train of Thought from “A” all the way to “Z” and discover the Capital City to this realm of fantasy.

2) What was the inspiration for this book?

My career has always focused on writing and exploration. For over 15 years, I’ve held a “dream job” working as the Editor on Crystal Cruises’ luxury vessels, traveling to hundreds of destinations in almost 150 countries. The inspiration for Everything Zing came in the winter of 2002 when I was immersed back into childhood… as a short term substitute elementary teacher. That’s when the wheels started turning and the idea of a land completely “kid-like” started to take shape. Then it was an avalanche of ideas – the heavens pouring down all the essential elements of what would take almost a decade to actually organize and narrate.

3) What is the primary theme underlying your work?

One of Zing’s ongoing themes is the relationship between the world of Reality and the Imagine Nation. The story takes place in the year 2000 for a variety of essential reasons, primarily the new millennium and Leap Year. One of the premises of Zing is that all the inventions and creations that we see and enjoy today were first designed in the Imagine Nation’s Capital City. Zing’s visitors discover that Earth’s attempted replicas don’t always turn out like the originals, and there is often more to the story than what Reality has provided.

4) Tell us a bit about the Imagine Nation.

Ruled by Father Time and Mother Nature and their four children (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) the Imagine Nation has been the ultimate playground for “Earthies” for over two thousand years. The Capital City of Zing especially welcomes adults who are fed up with Reality and ready to begin a “regenovation,” a process of becoming less grown-up and more childlike.

5) Tell us a bit about your protagonist, George.

George Everest is a 29-year old, fifth grade teacher, who lives with his wife in New York City, on the verge of a premature life crisis.  I must admit that I hold back the chuckle every time one of my readers mentions the main character, George, and the curiosity over what will become of him. George’s story is interesting, but personally I find the events that unfold to the characters around him much more intriguing and entertaining. As the series progresses, I think readers will agree that George is the most “normal” in the bunch… and wow, what a bunch of characters!

6) All fiction is the art of telling entertaining lies, but some lies are perhaps less grounded in truth than others. Fantasy, for instance, rests on unreal worlds. What strengths do you think fantasy brings to the storytelling medium?

Escaping the truth of reality is the reason we dive into a novel – to lose ourselves in another world for a while – so we can return with a new perspective and a bit more clarity about the life we currently live. We trust writers to do precisely that – to create galaxies and kingdoms and “once upon a times” that mesmerize us – even though we know they’re lying to us. Our favorite fantasies are indeed only fantasies, but it sure is fun to pretend, especially when a novel delivers an element of truth and revelation, even a simple reminder that good is still good and bad is still bad.

7) Your work is portal fantasy. Portal fantasy is a venerable part of the fantasy genre, perhaps best exemplified in many people's minds by the work of C.S. Lewis. That being said portal fantasy and even second-world fantasy have given up a lot of ground in recent years to contemporary fantasy. Why do you think that is?

Regardless of terminology, this is an exciting time to be both a fantasy novelist and reader. Thanks to the success of series like Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, fantasy has taken the spotlight. Even C.S. Lewis’ classic Narnia series is being discovered by new generations thanks to the big-screen versions. As the “umbrella” of the fantasy genre continues to expand I know we’ll attract more readers, and that’s a worthy and exciting mission for everyone.

8) Can you give us some insight into your future works?

Everything Zing is a four-part series, all of which are written, the first subtitled Winter now in publication. All of my energy is focused on promoting the current release, as well as finalizing the remaining four installments (Spring, Summer and Fall).


Thanks, Grant.

You can find more from Grant at his website and twitter.

Everything Zing can be purchased in physical and electronic format at Amazon.

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