Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Anit Lock is talking with Pamela Hartley, author of The Seasons of a Giant
FQ: Your previous works, Dough For It and The Dirty Thirty: 30 Science Experiments to Try in the Tub, are educationally based books. What made you suddenly shift to fantasy?
HARTLEY: I wrote my science related books when I was in the classroom. After retiring, I had more time to read wonderful fantasies like Harry Potter and The Hobbit! I loved escaping into those rich layered worlds with such colorful characters. You can experience a freedom where everything is possible in a fantasy!
FQ: What would you say is the inspiration for writing The Seasons of a Giant?
HARTLEY: The idea for Seasons came to me in a dream which started the creative juices flowing! I would take long walks and think about how Izzyís story would unfold. I could hear my characters talking and picture the dark twists and turns. Iíd type in my ideas on my phone, and then write them down in a notebook once I arrived home.
FQ: Boone is not your typical giant. Unlike many storybook giants, Boone is actually interested in the very creatures that are supposed to be his enemies. What did you hope to accomplish by creating such a caring character?
HARTLEY: I needed Boone to be different from the other giants to create a sharp and interesting contrast. Izzy, his little sidekick, can be snarky, impulsive, and insecure at times. Boone provides a calm to Izzyís storm.
FQ: Letís talk about one of the storyís archenemies: Colonel Fletcher. Where did you get the inspiration to create a character such as him?
HARTLEY: Thereís always one character in every story that just has to ruin your day, right? He popped in to send the story careening off the path and into a deep ditch. Heís all sorts of evil, isnít he? Colonel Fletcher proves that even the Groundlings can be bad, not just the Giants.
FQ: One very important aspect of The Seasons of a Giant is your incorporation of themes. Without giving away any spoilers, name one theme and give an example of how it is used in the story?
HARTLEY: The simplicity of one: one person, one belief, and in Izzyís case, one arrow, can change the tide and make a difference. Be that one!
FQ: What do you hope readers will retain by the end of the story?
HARTLEY: Iím hoping that every reader will find their own warrior within. The very belief in yourself is a powerful thing. Go forth and be unstoppable!
FQ: The ending in The Seasons of a Giant could be interpreted in a couple different ways. Do you plan to write a sequel?
HARTLEY: I love this question! I thought how fun would it be to have a second book with the giant(s) invading the Groundling regions! Imagine Boone in your backyard, hiding from your neighbors and wreaking havoc in your town.
FQ: You mentioned in your bio that youíve been writing stories since you were five years of age. What sparked your interest 30+ years later to revisit your childhood love for storytelling?
HARTLEY: Iíve always had the writing bug! Iím constantly thinking of new stories that need to be told. My father liked to write, so maybe I inherited his joy for the written word. My sister, Stephanie, became a talented illustrator! Iím hoping someday to work on a project together.
FQ: As a longtime educator, have you ever considered creating a math or science-based fantasy book that could be used as an educational tool in classrooms?
HARTLEY: Wow! Wouldnít that be fun? Actually the giants in Seasons are based on scientific fact. Their physical descriptions, names, and the settings reflect the biomes theyíre from. I do believe there are sprinkles of valuable teaching moments in my book.
FQ: If a sequel is not in the works, what future literary projects do you have in mind?
HARTLEY: I have a picture book Iíve been writing and rewriting for awhile now. I also have a horror series saved on my computeróa Goosebumps for the MG/YA readers.