Monday, October 23, 2023

Q&A with David Scidmore




David Scidmore is the author of the new novel Aylun, the second in his Ever-Branching Tree series that began with the novel Dellia. He lives in Wisconsin.


Q: What inspired you to write Aylun?


A: Dellia grew out of a desire to send someone from Earth to another world, which isn’t a terribly original idea. To put a bit of a spin on it, I thought it would be interesting to send a pair of people. However, given what I planned to do with Jon, I had to split them apart immediately.


At the same time I was planning that out, I was giving a lot of thought to how multiple point-of-view stories work (by which I mean something like the movie Independence Day, where there are several protagonists).


That understanding made me want to set up the second book, Aylun, in two halves. The first half would follow Megan and allow readers to get to know her as part of a second pair of characters. Then, the second half would bring in Jon and Dellia and continue their story.


It was a little more complicated than that because as I was writing the early chapters of Dellia I had to envision exactly how Jon and Dellia would become separated. I also worried how readers attached to Dellia and Jon would take a second book that didn't start with them. Ultimately, I just had to go on faith that I could pull it off.


Q: Can you say more about the relationship between this new novel and the first book in the series, Dellia?


A: The first half of Aylun covers the same time period during which Dellia takes place. The first few chapters of each book are highly intertwined, with one being told from the point of view of Jon and his friends and the other from that of Megan and Aylun.


Once you get past those early chapters, the stories diverge, and there are only a few points at which they directly intersect. In the first half of Aylun, Megan is confronted with a mystery surrounding the central prophecy in Dellia. The second half picks up where Dellia left off, where that mystery expands, and all the main characters from the first book become involved.


Q: How did you create the world in which the books are set?


A: It didn’t really happen all at once. It sort of grew and evolved over time based on a variety of influences. First and foremost was what I needed to do to make the stories work.


Another significant influence was that I’ve watched a lot of Hindi movies and Asian dramas and have a fondness for them and the values they portray. Since I was bringing in a modernized version of those ancient cultures, I drew from Greek, Hindu, and Chinese mythologies for the world.


Another considerable influence came from thinking about how people used to structure serial television shows. Since they didn’t know the details of all future episodes, they tended toward dynamic and diverse worlds where many forces were at play.


I tried to do the same since such a world can generate countless story ideas. Much of what I planned for the world has yet to be revealed, and my vision of things is constantly evolving and growing.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: Primarily, I write for entertainment, so first and foremost, I hope people enjoy it. However, stories are often moral tales that are illustrated through the struggles of the characters.


My stories are no different, and there are ethical dilemmas that reflect the things I think about. Things like the importance of self-determination, how life is always about balancing values, and how extremes and overly simplistic visions of life can prove problematic.


For example, in both books, the importance of family, relationships, and love come into conflict with the values of dedication to work and duty. The subject fascinates me because I think balancing work and relationships is something everyone struggles with.


Having said all that, I strive to avoid being too heavy-handed or one-sided in weaving moral elements into the plot. I also try to stick to everyday issues because we can all relate to them.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: The next book in the series. Just like Aylun focused more on Megan and Aylun as characters, the next book will shift the focus to Garris and Kayleen. Of course, I am still committed to satisfying those who follow Megan and Aylun or Jon and Dellia.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Only that I am deeply appreciative to everyone who has read my works and gratified to see that so many found them enjoyable.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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