Interview with Author S.A. Gibson
I decided to have fellow author S.A. Gibson stop by and tell us about his brand new book, Asante's Gullah Journey. I'll let him give you the run down on the book in a moment, but first let's do a quick little interview with Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Gibson, thanks for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks Tiger for inviting me to your site.
So I see you use the term “woodpunk” a lot. Can you explain what that means for the readers that might not be familiar with the term?
I use the term workpunk to describe a society where wood is used for most buildings, utensils, and transportation. This would follow the stone age and predate a steampunk society. Although I imagine some iron and steam can also be used in this world. I believe this represents the technology of society during much of the time of modern humans. From the beginning of using tools, humans found many uses for wooden implements. Clubs, bows and arrows, staffs, wagons, wheels, and thousands of other tools were made from wooden products.
I love that! So you are obviously a big fan of Science Fiction. I know you are a big fan of the grand space operas like Dune. My question, is why? What is it about Sci-Fi that resonates with you?
For me, Sci-Fi supplies a grand sense of wonder combined with escapism from the world of today. Space opera gives a broad perspective and scope of vision about the universe. I get to think about how societies might work and try out odd and intriguing ideas about the human condition. And, I consume these stories to help me escape my concerns in school and home. I want to think even more about Sci-Fi as a way to imagine what would happen if things were different, and how people would react under different conditions. These stories can span the universe for young and old readers.
Your newly released book Asante’s Gullah Journey (which is highlighted below) is a post-apocalyptic tale of nefarious land grabbers that threaten family farms in Carolina’s Gullah Lowcountry. In this tale, it is up to Beneda and Librarian Asante to fight for their people. Wow, what an original tale. I know you draw a lot of inspiration for history. Did that play into this tale? What was your biggest inspiration for Asante’s Gullah Journey?
I'm interested in history, primitive societies, and how differing groups of people communicate. One story of linguistic difference I heard was about the Gullah language of former slaves in the Carolinas. It fascinated me to imagine what would happen if those Gullah speakers survived into the future when modern technology is lost. I think their old farming, fishing, and animal husbandry skills would be lifesavers for them. This gave me the basis for a story about librarians and farmers in this future world.
That is fascinating! What is your favorite part of the entire writing process?
I love spending time researching. My dream job involves studying the back-stories and origins of events and artifacts in the world. Each day finds me immersed in following meandering internet pathways leading to new information. Whenever I can, I try to impart ideas and descriptions of the wondrous things I have learned into my stories. This aspect of writing makes the work of creation worth the effort for me.
When it comes to your writing process, are you more of an architect or a gardener?
In my writing, I combine the architect and gardener approaches. Starting with an interesting concept, I start brainstorming a potential plot. Then, ask myself where are the interesting points of conflict going to occur during the story. This results in a rough and lightly filled in outline for the whole book. However, once I start writing, I find that the characters assert themselves and the story changes in small ways. Some characters become more important, while others transform into minor characters. I still consider it the same story, even if it has changed.
Did Asante’s Gullah Journey turn out the way your expected, or did the story even surprise you when it was finished?
Like most stories, Asante's Gullah Journey took on a life of its own. I would say the conclusion of the story was expected, but the events along the way changed. An interesting aspect of writing these stories is that the characters and events exert a mysterious force to redirect the writing process. I struggle with the changes, but often I will accept that the characters know better than me, and so they win. And, I hope the readers win too.
That is a great approach, I really like the concept of the characters exerting their will in a sense.
As you know, learning is a huge part of the writing process. As authors, we are often doing research for our projects or we are learning about the story itself as it unfolds. So my question to you is, was there anything that you learned during the process of writing this book?
It's fun that I have to learn so much in writing my stories. One interesting tale of the development of the Gullah language was the possible role of rice production in isolating the Gullah slaves. Those plantations in the Carolina Lowcountry were devoted to rice production. The flooding of fields for rice growing led to infestations of malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Each summer's abandonment of the Lowcountry by landowners may have contributed to Gullah slaves keeping their own language and building a strong cultural identity in that disease haunted land.
I had no idea. That makes perfect sense.
What is your next big project?
I am working with my editor on a sequel to another book in a series in the same world, Feeling a Way. This new story tells of an epic collision between the native Americans and a horde of invaders from Asia. This book titled, A Final Way is available for pre-order at Smashwords.
Very cool. Now let's take a look at Asante's Gullah Journey!
Beneda's most important goal is to defend the family farm. Her people held the land through the change that ended the use of technology in the world. Now her mother's land is threatened. With the help of a Library swordsman and her bow she will do whatever is necessary to save the land.
This middle grade to young adult adventure novel will appeal to lovers of action, futuristic fiction, post-apocalyptic tales, and swords & soul.
African Asante and Gullah Beneda, sword and bow, join forces in this post-apocalyptic setting, for family, birthright, and oh so much more.
Old Lady walks ahead, not even noticing. She got some strong legs that one. Across the water, Jolan spies the boatman, dropping passengers on the far shore. Soon their group all waits on the shore
“Won’t be long now.” Beneda waves, and Caleb and Jolan follow her lead. She tall, might be the only hand the ferryman see from afar. “He be back to take us soon.”
“I’m scared o’ boats.” Caleb shakes like a wet dog, Jolan feels a bit sorry for him.
“Ah, honey. Ain’t nothing to fear.” Old Lady grabs at him, squashing the boy to her apron then swats his backside. “We all come here by boat.”
Pete, he shakes his head, groans, “Don’t tell about Igbo Landing, gra’ma!”
Lady scowls at her grandson. “Why not? All folks need t’ hear that one.” Jolan hopes that face she aims, that glower, stays on her grandson, not him. He like stories. But then she peer at Beneda. “Girl, you know de story?”
“Yes, Lady.” Beneda nods, a good girl, she gives the old one her smile. “I heard.”
Lady casts her eyes on the boys. “You young’ns hear the story?” Both Jolan and Caleb’s heads shake. “Well, now’s soon enough.”
She spies some shade under a big cypress. Shuffles over the meter or two, waving everyone to come join her. “Sit you down, Pete, get comfortable. I’ma tell them the story of Igbo Landing.”
Jolan settles in the shade, aside Caleb. Pete steps close to Beneda and Old Lady leans back against the tree.
Lady takes a deep breath, adjusting her shawl, in the distance a shout can be heard from the far bank. “In the last century of slavery in this land. Long ago, now, back so many generations you need more’n two hands to count.
“Black people from Igbo in Africa got seized and put on a ship to America, in chains.” She wipes her brow. Bringin’ out a water flask, she drinks deep.
“About three score folks, they say. All ages, down to lil’ ones.” Jolan has heard similar stories. The old days, when black folks labored on the farms. Slaves.
“Then the whole lot of these Igbo was sold to a master on St. Simon Island. They all delivered by small boat. From Savannah.” She stops, glancing to each of them. Then she stares across the rushing water. Is she looking at boats returning?
“Then they git unloaded from the boat ont’ the swampy land, in chains. The Igbo leader looks at his people. He looks at his new master. He spy the deep water, of the swamp. He gives a command. The people they all fin’ to sing a hymn of they land. And, they march together into the water. The master and he men try to stop it. Many Igbo get they freedom that day.”
“Bu-but, did they die?” Caleb wants to know. “The Igbo?”
Old Lady Harris frown, then smiles at Caleb. “Yes, many died, but they not slaves.”
Pete waves everyone up. “The boat! Ya’ll hurry, let’s cross.”
Win the ebook of Asante's Gullah Journey by S. A. Gibson from Amazon participant must reside in the United States and be 18+ years of age https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e7b66066726192a8
Who is S.A. Gibson?
Published author of academic book, chapters, articles, and post-apocalyptic “woodpunk” fiction, S.A. Gibson turns his passions for science into written worlds of wonder and fascination. He lives with his wonderful wife and their beloved Dachshund-Chihuahua in Southern California,
Website: Author page