Today I'm talking with Jennifer Donohoe about her new YA fantasy.
The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey is a Young Adult Fantasy book written for most ages. Willow is brutally attacked and her mother is missing. She has no memory of her past and those around her want to help her or kill her. She doesn't know who to trust and relies on information given by those she doesn't even remember. Saille is Willow's guardian fairy, who gets her into more trouble than she should. Saille has her own issues, but never tells anyone of her past and why she is reduced to attending to a human girl. Ryuu is of Japanese decent and warns Willow of her treachery prior to her attack. He loves her, but cannot bring himself to trust her. Tecumseh is of Native American descent and believes Willow killed his parents. He befriends her and leads her into a snare. After the most brutal deception, Willow is faced with more than she can deal with, but she has to make a choice no matter the consequences.
2) Tell us about your lead, Willow.
Willow is not the usual fantasy heroine. She is disillusioned. She has no concept of her past and must rely on those around her to help her find her true path. She finds out along the way that her family are Travelers and she's the last. The Travelers have hidden the Four Jewels of Legend (borrowed from Celtic legend) from the enemy. Willow fights the truth of her past and does not believe she has turned against everyone she has loved in order to save someone who doesn't want to be saved. Her character comes from the truth of today's youth and how they must feel foraging their way in a world that has almost forgotten them.
3) Your book combines a number of different mythologies. What motivated you to tackle so many different myths and legends in your story?
I wanted a departure from the usual werewolf, vampire, and angel fantasies that have saturated the fantasy genre. In using these different legends and myths, I hope to inform the reader some about these colorful and wonderful tales that have been almost forgotten. I feel it adds more dimension and allows different cultures to find something they may be able to relate to. The Celtic myths fill the first book heavily. However, the reader is also introduced to the Japanese legends of their dragons and the Native American folklore of their shapeshifters.
4) What are the main themes your book explores?
This first book challenges the readers to understand that choices - no matter who they are - affect us all and the consequences can vary. In making a choice in an individual's life, we always must choose wisely and understand the ramifications of those choices.
5) As someone who has worked as a counselor for juvenile offenders, you've definitely seen the darker side of youth. Did this influence your writing at all?
It influences this book some. Especially, the theme of choices. I've seen many youth who have made poor choices and have to come to the realization that these choices affect more than themselves. Helping people understand this basic concept creates more thought in everyday life and can assist them when things get tough for them once more.
6) Do you have any sequels planned?
There are four more books to this series. The Dragon King will be available in late Fall of 2013. Here the Japanese legends will be tackled more readily. The Sky Fathers (Native American influenced), The Three Queens (Celtic Influenced), and The Final Journey (all combined again) will follow.
The Legend of the Travelers can be purchased at Amazon.