September 29, 2010

Author Interview: Christopher Hopper

Welcome to the third and final day of the CSFF Blog Tour for September!  I am pleased to officially announce the interview of Christopher Hopper, coauthor of Venom and Song.  It was a close one, mainly due to the fact that he's been overseas.  BUT - just in time, CH has come through for us with his answers to my interview questions.  YES!  He rules! 

If you didn't see yesterday's post, my interview with Wayne Thomas Batson, click HERE.  And if you're wondering what the heck I'm going on about, click HERE for Day One's post for Venom and Song.

Step up to the mic, Mr. Hopper.  Oh wait - you're already there.

I'll be using the same questions for today as I did for Wayne's interview yesterday.  But as you'll see, the answers are interestingly unique, if not a tad cryptic at times (for our own good, of course).


Me:  What does "Endurance and Victory" mean to you?

CH:  We felt it very much embodied not only the plight of the Elves, who's condition confined them to a life of delayed hopes (Endurance) and a reminder of eventual conquest (Victory), but also of the young lords, and that of our readers. Victories are hard won, at least those worth obtaining. And in a generation that has largely adopted an instant mentality for almost everything, learning to Endure is a character trait we need to tie back into our day-to-day lives.

Me:  There are several prevailing themes throughout this series, but some really come into focus in Venom and Song, like trust, forgiveness, acceptance, and many aspects of relationships. What is the one theme you felt was the most necessary to portray?

CH:  For me it was the development of interpersonal relationships. Next to how we get along with Jesus, how we get along with each other is the most important thing in life. Kingdoms rise and fall because of relationships. So watching the Seven learn to work together through their differences was simply a reflection of real life, and made the book extremely realistic for me.

Me:  We see the Seven's gifts mature and grow, will that growth continue? And what spurns this growth?

CH:  Growth is an essential part of human development; it's the whole reason people want to read a story in the first place. If characters are not growing, there's no real point in reading. So yes, it will continue.

As for the reason, I think it's two-fold: one is to serve their world in its pursuit of freedom. Allyra's bondage demands dedication to the development of their gifts (meaning the Seven). And secondly, the Seven themselves find more of their identity as they grow in their gifts. Like they say about men:  we find our value in what we produce. And therefore, the greater the Seven grow in their individual giftings, the more they feel connected to the world around them.

Me:  There are so many aspect to writing a great story, how does the language itself factor in for you? Is it important?

CH:  Yeah, language is a huge part of story-telling, esspecially when you're mixing a modern world with a pre-modern age. Apart from physical descriptions and environments, language is the single greatest telltale of who's talking and what era they're in. We worked very hard to make each character reflect their own world simply in the way they communicated.

Me:  We see a lot of battle and death in this installment. As an author of endearing characters, how do you choose who lives and dies?

CH:  We roll dice, make bets, and try to make out images in cloud formations. It's a very exact science.

Sometimes you just get this feeling like, "What if just killed off this person?" The bigger the upset, the more likely it's going to make it into the book. Never give the reader what they want, give them what they need.

Me:  Certain pairings are starting to appear within the Seven, will these carry significance througout the rest of the series?

CH:  Depends upon how the characters like each other.

Me:  The character of Mannaelkin is often the voice of doubt, why is a character like this important to the story? And the message?

CH:  In all of life, we have our doubters. And how we treat them, and overcome their emotional prowess, determines a great deal of our outcome in perosnal life. He made the struggle real and tried to thwart plans politically in much the same way real life adversaries do here today. Sure, everyone can name the big bad evil guy in life...but are they keen enough to spot the not-so-obvious road blocks?

Me:  Without giving too much away, in the final battle of the book we see rain. What does the symbolism of rain mean to you?

CH:  I hear the Lord most when I'm in the shower, or by the ocean. So water always symbolizes the person of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, He is most often compared to water and wind in the Bible.

Me:  In the chapter The Art of Discipline, on page 120, Grimwarden says, "Never mistake service for anything less than the highest form of nobility, Jett. Dictators and tyrants lead without serving; only true kings use their place of power to lead in the most humble of ways." This stuck with me, as did many other lessons the Seven learned. Is service something readers can strive for in their daily lives? How?

CH:  It all starts with the simple. Picking up your room. Obeying Dads and Moms. Doing the dishes. They might seem like menial chores, but they position you for greater levels of responsibilty later on in life. One reason grown-ups never enter into what they were destined for was because they never learned the art of service when given the chance as a youth.

Me:  The question that all of your readers are dying to know is - when can we expect book 3? Do you have a title or any tidbit you can share with us about it?

CH:  Sorry to make the masses wait, but mum's the word...


Thanks for joining me as I got to delve into one of my favorite fantasy worlds once again!  And rest assured, as soon as I know anything about Book Three in The Berinfell Prophecies, I'll be blogging all about it!

Until next we meet in Allyra:
Endurance and Victory!
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