Some time ago, I e-mailed some questions to Rachel Roberts regarding Avalon: Web of Magic, the upcoming movie, and Shadow Warrior. I got a response today, which I am posting in its entirety after the cut. Read what Rachel has to say about upcoming Avalon projects and some little-known background information on the series! Consider it a holiday treat, readers.
Nature and environmental conservation is a major theme of the Avalon books. What do you do to help animals and protect the environment?
The Avalon books are inspired by my love for animals and the environment, and I’m so impressed by all the readers who have taken that message to heart and reached out to help wild things and wild places. Continuing to spread that message through writing is a top priority. I’m also an advocate for adopting pets at shelters, and spaying and neutering to reduce the large number of homeless pets.
How can your readers help animals and nature?
Be aware of how your actions affect animals and the environment. Recycle and use reusable bags at the grocery store to reduce waste and conserve resources. Use only as much water and electricity as you need – turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes, and turn off lights and electronics when you leave a room. If your family is going to adopt a pet, go to your local shelter to help a furry friend who needs a home. Also consider visiting state and national parks on vacations or day trips. Visiting the parks helps keep them open, and there’s nothing like being out in nature to inspire your commitment to protect wild things and wild places!
What books or authors influenced your writing?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, and Terry Brooks wrote the first fantasy books I read and made a huge impression on me. Walter Farley wrote all the Black Stallion books, and his stories about the relationship between humans and animals are really amazing. Calvin and Hobbes is also an important influence! Being a very visual person, movies are a big part of what inspired me to write. I love all the classic Disney and Miyazaki films, especially for their strong heroines and fantastic animal characters – and of course the bright colors and twinkly bits 🙂
Your books seem to include some video game elements, like the mage power levels. Are video games an influence on your work?
I like the world building elements that video games offer. A good game is a totally immersive experience into an entire world, just like a good book. And I like different types of puzzle solving found in video games.
The Avalon books contain many references to the cartoon series Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. Were you at all involved with that show, or were you just influenced by it?
Love the show, it’s a terrific TV series for younger girls. The owner of Red Sky (which owns the Avalon: Web of Magic copyright) created the Princess Gwenevere series. We have worked together to lay out the Avalon stories. There were lots of good ideas in the Gwenevere series that are being explored in much greater depth with Avalon.
What was your favorite book to write in the series, and why?
I can tell you the fastest book written was Cry of the Wolf. The magical muse was with me and the story just flowed out, written in less than a month. I’m proud of that one. All’s Fairy went very fast as well, I had a great time writing that one. Random stuff like Alwyn the Fairy Messenger and the Enchanted Accessories just popped up and I laughed so much, it all stayed in. So, yeah.
Were there any major changes between the original, unpublished versions of Dark Mage and Full Circle and the editions that were published recently?
No major plot points were changed. The final versions are more refined. Took a while to make sure all the details and continuity were right.
How is work progressing on Shadow Warrior? Is there anything you can share about it?
It’s a trilogy focused on Adriane and the mistwolves. It’s a huge story that is taking a while to plot out correctly. Adriane will be coming to terms with her powers of shadow while visiting some new places (and old) in the world of Avalon. Many backstories about what happened prior to the first twelve Avalon books will be addressed.
Is there any new news on the Avalon movie? When is filming expected to start? Has anyone be cast in it yet?
There has been good progress on the movie front and I believe there will be some exciting announcements soon.
If you could cast anyone for the movie, who would want to play the main characters?
Much like the Harry Potter movies, I’d love for the mages to be played by actors who are new to the movies who can really make their mark with these characters.
Are you working on any other projects? Can you tell us anything about them?
I did take a little break from Avalon to work on a detective series called Angel West: Hollywood Detective. I love mysteries and I love movies so I was excited to combine both in this series. It will be coming out in 2013. I’m also planning another fantasy/sci-fi series that is set to go after I finish Shadow Warrior.
I collected some questions fans were asking about specific plot points in the series. Would you mind answering some of them?
* Where does “Legend of the LAOA” fit in the series’ canon?
The Lost Animals Of Avalon are something you will learn more about in Shadow Warrior! They are wondrous creatures that were saved before the city of Avalon fell to the Dark Mages.
* What are Kara’s parents’ names?
Her father is Mayor Ray Davies, and her mother’s name is Elizabeth.
* How exactly is Kara descended from Lucinda? Did Lucinda have children before being engaged to Henry Gardener?
I figure that Lucinda had quite a whirlwind life in the fairy realms before meeting Henry Gardener. Fairy blood in humans skips generations until blossoming in the right heir. The exact lineage is mysterious but Kara does carry the bloodline. I may have to plot that one out if we do a Kara trilogy.
* What was the role of the Insect Warrior in the original edition of the series? Why does he show up in the new edition?
He is the Spider Witch’s henchman, a general to help her control her army of spiders. We dropped him in the revised editions cause he didn’t do much except look scary.
* What’s up with Zach’s parents and their dark past?
Great question – more on the history of Zach’s parents and how they ended up on Aldenmor in Shadow Warrior!
* Why did Adriane turn into a wolf near the end of Full Circle? Is this a new mage power? Will the other characters gain similar abilities?
Adriane absorbed shadow magic from the shadow crystal. It is now a part of her. She has already absorbed mistwolf magic. If she is not careful, these combinations of intense shapeshifting powers will become beyond her control. One of the themes we cover in Shadow Warrior is how closely mistwolf magic is tied to shadow.
* How old were the original mages when they tried to open the Gates of Avalon?
They were teenagers, a few years older than Adriane, Emily, and Kara.
* Why are the girls entering seventh grade at the beginning of the series, but graduating from eighth grade at the end?
The series encompasses two years from Book 1 to Book 12.
* Will we see more of Sierra or Donovan in future books?
They are definitely characters I would like to revisit but no current plans for those guys yet. Maybe more short stories?
* Will you write any stories about the Original Party (Lucinda, Miranda, and Sylvan)?
Their history is definitely a big story that we don’t know everything about yet. I’m working on ideas about them, some of which may pop up in…. you guessed it… Shadow Warrior.
* Will there be any more Avalon manga stories?
Right now there are no plans for another manga, but you never know! I do have an idea for the Farthingdale Community Players production of The Ride of the Blazing Star. Way wacky, right?
Many thanks to Rachel for participating in this interview!