Interview with Clinton Festa, Author of Ancient Canada | NewInBooks


What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Ancient Canada: A Mythological Tale?

I was visiting a friend in New York City, looking for a place to eat lunch. There were fantastic restaurants everywhere with food from all over the world. Thinking about all of those different cultures made me want to create an alternate world full of its own, without infringing on any true cultural traditions.

This story takes place in an alternate Arctic Circle. It only uses the geography of the North, not its cultural traditions, and tells its own story. Without giving away too much, the title still makes sense as you progress through the book.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Ancient Canada: A Mythological Tale, what would they be?

That’s funny, because when writing the characters, I tried to think of what they would be like in our world, particularly what music they would listen to. I’m not sure of one specific song, but Marigold would definitely be a huge Madonna fan. That was fun, and important, for me to think about while writing because it helped me develop some universality to the characters. For Lavender, it would be Annie Lennox. If they lived in our world, Lavender would get into fights with Marigold over music, for sure.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre to read, believe it or not, is actual mythology. I love The Odyssey, I enjoy reading Greek tragedies, and anything really, really old. For current works, the latest book I read was River of Fire, a memoir by Sister Helen Prejean. I highly recommend all three of her books. My favorite genre to write is fantasy/mythology fiction just like this story.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Stranger by Albert Camus.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Probably when Lavender and Marigold are inside the sea monster and the Canadian soldiers fail miserably in their attempt to kill the creature (not to rescue, but to arrest the sisters). The reason I liked writing it was that the scene required a certain precision of detail for the action not to be confusing, and that also brought out a lot of the imagery and movement, making such a bizarre scene so easy to picture.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Nothing too quirky, but my family schedule tends to force my writing time to be late at night. Most of this book was written between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends, or when I was traveling for work. Which is probably why it took me a while to write, and why the characters suffer multiple episodes of sleep deprivation throughout the story.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

My grandfather used to say, “The impossible just takes a little bit longer.” He was an educator and a school superintendent, and that motto worked for him. His brother used to say, “Do everything with love.” He was a priest, and that worked for him as well. Those sayings work for me too, when I remember to use them.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I just hope it’s unlike anything they’ve read before. If they’re expecting sword and sorcery fantasy, they’ll be upset at the lack of wizards and dragons. But I suppose with a title like Ancient Canada: a Mythological Tale, and knowing that it’s not based on actual cultures of our world, I would just hope they’d question the story world, and wonder why things are the way they are.

 

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