Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kristi Benedict is talking with Ann Anovitz, author of Charlie's Tale: The Great Questions of Life and Death
FQ: When creating the characters of the different worlds, how did you decide what personalities they should have?
ANOVITZ: I tried for good creatures, striving to do what was right in their world, but who did not see the evil that was also there. Then I wanted to balance that beautiful world with a dark, stark world that was not able to recover from the traumatic occurrence that had destroyed their previous, good world and turned the inhabitants into characters that were constantly fighting to hold on to their own territory.
FQ: What was the process you used to create the characters that are similar enough to humans to be relatable but different enough to learn from?
ANOVITZ: I wanted their thinking to be human, showing both good and bad characteristics and of course, their physical attributes and to go along with their character.
FQ: What was your inspiration for the two different worlds that Charlie visited?
ANOVITZ: My inspiration was the ideas of good and evil in the Bible, in Danteís work and in other sci-fi material.
FQ: Was there a particular reason you chose the Civil War era to have Charlie visit/experience?
ANOVITZ: I chose the Civil War era because it was such a devastating time for Americans and I was more familiar with American history than that of other nations. The stress of people with different opinions pulling each other and the nation apart, the great killing, the utter destruction of an entire society that we are still fighting to pull back together was very meaningful.
FQ: What research did you do when writing about the Civil War section of the book?
ANOVITZ: I have done a great deal of reading about the Civil War, including novels, history and personal essays of those involved in the war.
FQ: When doing your research on the different religions, what did you find to be the most useful source for your writing?
ANOVITZ: I have been studying the Old Testament for several years. I also read commentaries on the Koran and several books on Buddhism and Hinduism.
FQ: What were your reasons for having the protagonist as a father, as opposed to having the main character be, say a mother, or sister?
ANOVITZ: Interesting question. I find there is a big difference in the way men and women have been brought up in our world society. I also think while women can do many things at one time, men tend to concentrate on doing and finishing one job at a time. They are more involved in their work than in their home, although that has changed somewhat. But that is also why Charlie became a women in China, so that he could see the difference.
FQ: What was your favorite section to write about in this book - the different worlds, Civil War era, China, etc?
ANOVITZ: I loved writing about the other worlds, but I think the Civil War brought so much home to me and pointed out to the reader how alike humanity is. China, the animal kingdom and the entire book were really about showing how our beliefs about life, the universe and the God we each believe in are so totally
alike, and yet still we fight to kill each otherís beliefs.