OK, A big, huge apology to J Scott Savage, Author of Farworld: Water Keep for not getting these posted sooner. My bad. These are the questions I asked him about his books and writing and he returned with some great answers. Check at the bottom of the post for the winner of a free ARC of this book! Also, if you haven’t read my review, click here.

Me: How long did you develop this story in your head before you finally began writing it? And how long did it take you to write?

JSS: I really never expected to write this story. It formed in my head over the course of several years, but once I started writing, it literally poured out of me in only a few months. It was the easiest book I’ve ever written, and probably the most fun to write.

Me: What inspired you to use a boy who was physically disabled for your main character?

JSS: It’s funny how many people focus on Marcus being disabled, even though in her world, Kyja is at least as disabled, if not more. The very first inklings of this story began with a boy in a wheelchair. I think it is because he really is the most unlikely of heroes. It’s not like many fantasies where the hero starts out as a weakling, or a nerd, but ends up being the most powerful. The thing is, Marcus and Kyja both want more than anything to overcome their disabilities. But is that really the best thing for them?

Me: I want a skyte—Riff Raph was one of my favorite characters (and can I say how much I love the name?). Do you think skytes could ever exist in their true forms here on Earth?

JSS: Thanks. I like him too, even if he is pretty annoying at times, he is very faithful. As far as your second question, first we have to understand why some things change and others do not when they move from one world to another. I suppose it’s possible. What do you think?

Me: I’ll have to think about that one. I guess the bottom line is things have to appear in a form that can be accepted in the other world. It would draw a lot of attention if a skyte was whirling around the kids. Since there are four directions, are there going to be four books? How long do you think it will take for your next book to come out in this series?

JSS: Five books total. The fifth book is going to be the most challenging of the series to write, but just thinking about the concept gives me goose bumps. As far as I know, it has never been done before.

Me: So is the Noble River the equivalent of the Mississippi River?

JSS: Yes.

Me: You mention in your acknowledgments how much you appreciate your critique group. At what point in your writing career/learning process did you begin meeting with your critique group.

JSS: I had just published my first book and was working on my second, a little over six years ago when I met my group. They have helped me a ton. I wish I’d had them from the beginning.
Me: How important do you think knowledgeable feedback is for new writers, or any writers, in fact?

JSS: I recently had someone ask me if it gets easier to accept criticism. I told her no. Criticism is hard to accept no matter how long you’ve been writing. Feedback on the other hand is essential. I don’t care how long you’ve been writing or how good you are. You need fresh eyes to see your work clearly. It becomes impossible to evaluate your own writing after you get deeply into it. The key is to know what kind of feedback you want and ask for it. If you are looking for encouragement, don’t go to someone who is going to rip your work to shreds. On the other hand, at some point you really need people who are willing to point out the warts.

Me: I’ve felt that way myself. Do you have any advice for unpublished writers on how to find a critique group, or peer group to receive that kind of feedback?

JSS: Find writing groups in your area. Ask at the library or contact other local writers. There are almost always groups of writers. Also attend conferences. Once you begin to meet people, look for those with similar talent levels and the same kinds of goals. If you are serious about publishing a book, you probably will not benefit from someone who takes their writing lightly.

Me: Would you say it is more difficult to create a new world from scratch, than to develop a story that exists in the ‘real world’?

JSS: Initially, yes. That’s what scared me away from fantasy for so long. How do I tell a meaningful story while introducing a whole new culture? But once you catch the hang of it, it’s a blast!

Me: Do you have other fantasy storylines unrelated to this one rolling around in your head right now that you might develop when this series is over?
JSS: So many it’s scary. If I ever get the chance to write fulltime, I will crank out so many stories my publishers won’t know what to do. Thanks Scott, and I look forward to reading the next book in your series!
And the winner is: Nichole Giles! Congratulations!