Today we're talking with S.S. Segran, author of Aegis Rising
FQ: Does the word 'Aegis' have a special meaning?
SEGRAN: 'Aegis' is the name of the shield that the Greek god Zeus uses to protect himself. I used it to symbolically portray the five protagonists as they eventually assume the role of ‘protectors of the world’ as the planet descends into chaos.
FQ: Were there any stories or legends about the Pacific Northwest that assisted in sparking the inspiration for this story?
SEGRAN: Not particularly, but when I was younger I was fascinated with Native American culture, especially their connection with nature and wildlife. I find that there is something almost mystical about that connection. Our ancestors lived directly off the earth and had a special connection with it. They nurtured it as it nurtured them. There was no technology back then, no gizmos that pulled us into a virtual plane. I'm certainly not complaining about technology - I'm quite a frequent user of it! But that idea of going back to the roots of our humanity, if you will, to what surrounds us, is what intrigues me and prompted me to use it as a main setting for Aegis Rising.
FQ: The maps at each part of the book provided a great visual. Was this something you planned to include from the beginning?
SEGRAN: I did intend to include maps, yes. A few novels that I've read had maps to help the reader navigate through various locations in a particular story, and I found it very helpful. Having understood the scope of the story in Aegis Rising. I figured that maps would be beneficial to my readers as well and from the feedback I've received so far, it seems that integrating them was a good idea!
FQ: What do you see as the benefits of writing a story with many perspectives as you did with Aegis Rising?
SEGRAN: The way I imagined it, the main benefit would be getting into the thoughts and actions of different characters in a given scene or a sequence with certain clarity and uniqueness. I was hoping that it would give readers a rich variation in perspectives and show that, just as in real life, there are many angles to a story and there may be a number of conclusions that people can draw from a situation. I also hoped that it will allow readers to connect with the characters in way that is real as opposed to simply following one character's thoughts or point-of-view and possibly relegating the other four protagonists to the background.
FQ: What places have you traveled to in the Pacific Northwest that inspired the setting for this book?
SEGRAN: I live in British Columbia, Canada, so I'm very lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous bodies of water and forests with tall, ancient trees. There are mountains, waterfalls and great wildlife, and it all combines to spur my imagination. Just by looking out most of the windows in my house I can see beautiful trees and mountains in the distance. I have also travelled by road and air across BC, as well as by boat into enchanting inlets and bays along its coast. It's very inspiring!
FQ: In many books the elder characters are distant but with your story they are actually quite relatable and approachable. Was this how you intended the elders to be?
SEGRAN: I did! I find that for novels which contain a mentor-apprentice theme, there's sometimes just too much of a barrier between the mentors and the pupils. For the Elders, I didn't want them to be aloof or distant from the teenagers. They needed to be seen as human beings who genuinely care for these five youths who were unexpectedly dropped into their lives. A struggle also had to be shown depicting how they felt knowing that they had to assign these kids a huge responsibility that the five never asked for. I wanted it to vaguely resemble a parent-child kind of relationship.
FQ: The character Hutar was shown to be given a second chance, could this possibly lead to a more positive role for him in future novels?
SEGRAN: Love the question! However, I am unable to say too much for now except yes, Hutar will return. I've always wanted him to stick around with the story for a while plus, I can also say this, he will have a significant role in the future. I certainly didn't want to him to be a one-time character that disappears after the first book. In short, he will return, though whether for good or bad will have to remain a secret for now ?
FQ: Living a simple, purpose driven life is something that can be hard to find in today’s society. Is this what helped to prompt you to write about a community that strives to do just that?
SEGRAN: It's exactly that. Thanks to my parents, this was the kind of ideal that I grew up with - there's no real need for fame or excessiveness. I believe that helping one another and doing the right thing is what betters us as human beings, and that in turn would create a much happier and safer world. The Dema-Ki community in the story strives to do just that. Yet, they are realist who will use their special abilities if the need arises to maintain peace and the well-being of their people and the valley.