Author Clinton Festa discusses writing, reading, and his new novel, Ancient Canada.
How did you come up with the idea for Ancient Canada?Walking around New York City about six years ago, wondering why I couldn’t find any food I hadn’t tried, even though there was a different restaurant every step of the way. If I could have found a Martian restaurant, I think I would have tried it. So I started thinking maybe I should open an authentic Martian restaurant and serve food from Mars. This bizarre restaurant idea became mythology, and Mars became an alternate Canada.
If you could have any “gift”, what would it be?Lavender has the ability to see life and death, which is the gift they use to survive in the wild. If you’re about to die, you’ll glow white. If someone is pregnant, the womb will glow red. But to answer your question, I do have a gift. It’s the ability to see paperwork errors. I briefly considered giving Lavender this gift instead, but it got really hard to write ways in which a creature would attack her, and she’d use her ability to catch paperwork errors to escape. I must admit, however, it’s been pretty useful in my life.
Are you writing any new material?Every time I come up with an idea I write it down somewhere, but I haven’t started the next big project yet. It’s very sad, the amount of ideas that people have that just whither on the vine. I think every author will probably tell you they have a whole file of manuscript ideas that’ll never happen unless they live to be four hundred years old. My best idea that may never happen, which is free for anybody reading this to steal, is The Trans-Saharan Railway. In the early 20th century there was a lot of talk about building a railroad to go from Cairo all the way to Dakar in West Africa. French, British, Bedouin, and plenty of other cultures would have been there to make things interesting. Throw in a love story and a talking robot camel and you’ve got yourself a book.
Will you continue to write about the world you created in Ancient Canada or is it a stand-alone novel?I’ve got over 200 pages of notes for a sequel and third book. Every good ancient world has its fables, so I’d love to put together a collection of those as well.
What authors have had the most influence on your writing?Tolstoy, Donald Spoto, C.S. Lewis, and Jim Davis. But the biggest influence on Ancient Canada was St. Francis of Assisi.
What are you currently reading?Mostly technical documents for work. As you can imagine, it’s been hard to form a group read.
Who is your favorite author?Tolstoy’s great, but modern author I’d say Brett Sills, author of My Sweet Saga. Fantastic book, hilarious, and incredibly smart… I’d like to thank everybody for reading this interview and for considering Ancient Canada! Peace and all good – Clint
About Ancient Canada
Ancient Canada is a fantasy epic and a story of mythology for an alternate Canada. Because of her unique ability to see life and death, Lavender is exiled from her home. With the help of her sister Marigold, she survives in the wild using her gift. The two encounter various characters and creatures along their journey, not all human and not all friendly. Each chapter is narrated by one of these characters or creatures, sharing their personal story as well as their encounter of the two sisters. Together the chapters link to bring Lavender and Marigold’s epic, the mythological story of Ancient Canada.
An Excerpt from Ancient Canada
It had happened. Simon had seen his second child.
Quietly and peacefully, she opened her eyes, quite soon after birth. Perhaps the brilliance of the sky overhead opened her eyes itself, and if so, it was our first indication that she had the ability of sight.
“I’ve never seen that color before,” said the medic.
“Nor I,” said Simon. “They are clear, not even murky, as Marigold’s when she was first born.”
“Are those truly purple eyes, or is that just an effect of the Lights?”
“No, they are genuinely purple. Or maybe a sort of violet.”
“Or maybe Lavender,” spoke Simon. Once I told him what the peddler had said earlier, about the lavender I traded from him, we agreed on her name. I did not expect the color to be her permanent shade, but to this day they are identical to when she first opened them.
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About Clinton Festa
Clinton Festa, raised in Rockland County, NY, is son to two educators and grandson to four. Clinton studied animal science with the intention of pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine. However, after graduation Clinton began flight training and has worked in aviation for the last ten years.
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This tour was organized by FMB Tours.