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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview with Clinton Festa, author of Ancient Canada!


Please help me welcome author Clinton Festa to Full Moon Bites!

Holly: Hi, Clinton, so nice to have you back at Full Moon Bites! :) Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Clinton Festa: Thanks!  Originally from Earth, at least as far back as I can trace my ancestry.  I’ve been a cartoonist on the Lunatic, my college’s campus humor magazine.  I’ve also been involved in various humor or writing projects here and there, but Ancient Canada is my first novel.  I love FMB by the way, so that counts as something about me.

Holly: How did you first become interested in writing? I do remember you saying something about police detectives, a canine sidekick Sniffer, and an arch-nemesis-- the drug lord Stromboli when you were in the fourth grade?

Clinton Festa: Haha, yeah.  I’m impressed you remember.  I wrote those with a friend on a typewriter, which was an antique even at the time.  We wrote those stories within a few years of learning how to write, so they’re not compromised by outside influences.

Holly: Has your crime series been ‘resurrected’? Are you or do you have plans to do a novel in that mystery/crime/police area in the future?

Clinton Festa: Well, Stromboli does have a habit of breaking out of prison.  That same friend of mine, Brett Sills, just got his first book published.  It’s called My Sweet Saga and I highly recommend it.  We’ve talked about collaborating again, but nothing yet.  For a stretch of a few chapters in Ancient Canada, I had a different successive genre.  Although the book is fantasy fiction, chapter 12 was a little bit of a princess story (really an anti-princess story), 13 was a little bit of a mystery like you asked about, 14 a horror story, another a love story, another a comedy, etc.

Holly: You have one novel published right now called Ancient Canada. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Clinton Festa: I try to write the answer to this question a little differently each time.  Let’s see.  I’ll do words and phrases this time: fantasy fiction, mythology, alternate Canada, psychology, philosophy, Lavender and Marigold, exiled by Polaris the ruler of Canada, epic journey, Canadians fighting Siberians, giant stone creature named Lichen, the Bog Man, the Feathermen, Celestial Lights, Lavender can see life and death, different narrator each chapter, ancientcanada.com, 370 pages, e-book, no artificial colors or preservatives.

Holly: Where did the character of this novel come from? Were they here so-to-speak before the idea of creating an alternate Canada came about or did they follow after that?

Clinton Festa: The idea for the book came first: a national epic in a mythological world for an alternate Canada.  From there I had to pick my main character, which would be Lavender.  Most mythological epics have male leads, therefore I wanted a female lead.  Most epic heroes spill a lot of blood, so I wanted a non-violent lead.  Then I had to figure out how I was going to do that realistically.  I started thinking about what the folklore would actually be, or is, in an alternate Canada or in the real one.  That’s where the Polaris character comes from, claiming to be from the North Star.  Naturally the Northern Lights are going to make an impression, too.  Shortly before her birth, Lavender’s mother describes the beauty of the Northern Lights as “pastoral to the heavens.”  From them, Lavender receives her gift, the ability to predict life and death.  This solves the earlier problem of how she’ll manage to get in and out of trouble without being a traditional warrior.  After enough brainstorming, obsessing over details, and dovetailing of ideas, it all comes together.  Or it doesn’t.  That’s when it’s nice to be writing on a computer and not the old typewriter we used for our crime stories.

Holly: In our last interview you were said something about having pages and pages of notes for a sequel to Ancient Canada. Have you started writing a sequel yet and if so do you think it may be published in the coming year?

Clinton Festa: No, I haven’t started writing the next one, so nothing in the coming year.  I loved writing the first book, and would love to write the second one, but I have to make a few mores sales first to justify the time commitment to a second book.  But those notes are locked and loaded, and in fact just today I thought of a good direction for a later book.  The surviving gifted characters we meet throughout the series would eventually organize and establish a common place where they could live free of both persecution and the fear that their gift would be exploited.  Lavender and Marigold form this community, which becomes somewhat of a Mount Olympus.  Maybe Marigold designs the togas?  She’d at least design the sandals.  In each chapter, a different combination of characters has to go out and resolve something, be it an issue at King Oslo’s castle (he won’t be a prince forever), or some trouble going on in Siberia.  Each chapter would link but be episodic, as in the first book.  I think it would be a good mythological progression, from a handful of underground gifted characters to a full-blown community of ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses.’

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Clinton Festa: Thanks for considering Ancient Canada.  Anything left to say is probably found on ancientcanada.com.  I do like to give fair warning on two things.  First, there’s some philosophy in this book.  Marigold is the lead narrator, and she gave her other narrators free reign to share they background stories and “philosophies as they see fit.”  Some people love philosophy, some hate it, and most generally tolerate it.  But it’s part of mythology.  Second, and also since it’s mythology, the writing style is constant, to hopefully be immersive.  So you won’t find wide variations in how characters speak, even if the characters themselves are very different.  Unless either of those are a pet peeve, I think any fantasy fiction fan would really like Ancient Canada, and I believe any reader would find it very original.

Holly: Have you read anything interesting lately or any new authors caught your attention maybe?

Clinton Festa: Besides My Sweet Saga, mentioned above, I recommend Donald Spoto’s Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi.




Book Title: Ancient Canada
Author: Clinton Festa
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: SynergEbooks

Book Description:


“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.”

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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.

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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