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Interview with the creator of the MogPog's

Tags: Books Interview

Interviewing the author of The Crystal Point of the Mog Pogs, Don Cambou.

Your book seems to take a stand on pollution, global warming etc. Which other causes and organisations do you recommend or support yourself?

I think converting our energy infrastructure to renewables, like solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal, coupled with population control, is the key to avoiding a truly apocalyptic future. It's doable, if we make it a national and international priority. Let's build photvoltaic cells rather than land mines and two billion dollar fighter jets. I like and support aggressive environmental organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund and Rainforest Action Network.

How did you transfer knowledge of visual media to writing a book?

For me, writing a novel and writing a screenplay or documentary script aren't that different. At the heart of each endeavor is verbal story telling. When I was the Executive Producer of Modern Marvels, I always told my producers to write a good story first, and then worry about the visuals. If the story was strong enough, we would always find ways to support it visually. At the same time, I'm a very visual person. I think The Crystal Point of the MOG POGs is very cinematic in image and structure.

Our hero loves Discovery, and his bow and arrow. Which real life person is he based on, if any?

Lew, my protagonist, just came into my mind and started talking to me. Sometimes while writing I actually say, "Lew, talk to me." He hasn't stopped talking, as I polish the second book and plunge into the third. Lew is part me, part the kid I would have liked to have been. My father died when I was three, so my grandfather became a very strong influence in my life. Like Lew, my favorite meal as a kid was a grilled cheese sandwich with dill pickles. Also like Lew, a part of me has thankfully remained an eleven year old boy. I picked the bow and arrow as his weapon because of it's mythic, archetypal significance.

If you've had children read the book, before and/or after publication, how were their reactions?

I wrote The Crystal Point for a broad audience. But I also wrote it for Middle Grade readers, especially boys. I want to turn boys on to reading. I had several eight to fourteen year old boys read it prior to publishing. Everyone of them loved it. They couldn't put it down. A producer friend told me that her young cousins actually fought over the single copy they had. I wanted to write a book that grabbed you fast and didn't let go. The Crystal Point is nearly non stop action. Below is an email I received from the fourteen year old son of another friend.

Wow... How should i say this. The book was great and i couldn't stop reading it. I almost missed dinner i was so into it and i ended up finishing it in one night. The creativity was what really made the book, and the whole idea i found very cool and like no book i have read before. I think that you really managed to master talking in the point of view of a 11 year old boy. It actually sounded like a kid about that age and it made it that much easier to relate to. The character personalities also were perfect, in my opinion, partially because i can relate to them, and partially because i thought they fit the role perfectly. I would say the only problem is that I am not sure I can wait for you to write the second book. Like i said, i am anticipating the next book if there is going to be one, and i hope this book gets published soon because it is something I think many kids would enjoy.

-Adam J

> Do you write fantasy because of a love for fantasy? Or were you surprised > you ended up there? Might you write science fiction or mystery the next > time?

Ever since I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, four decades ago, I've loved fantasy. After working in non fiction television for thirty years, and spending much of that time polishing other writers' work, I was ready to take off my critical blinders and let my mind run free. Writing The Crystal Point was a consuming, altogether pleasant experience for me. I've also loved science fiction for at least four decades. At seventeen, I read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The book changed my life. I've read much of Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton. I liked them both because of the strong scientific foundations upon which their books were written. Crichton my not have been the world's greatest stylist, but he could sure write a compelling, cinematic novel. I have several ideas for science fiction novels. I find these ideas disturbing, since they challenge what it is to be human. Look what we've done to dogs through selective breeding. What will happen when we really start messing around with the human genome?

Why did you release your book on Kindle?

On Kindle, an author can publish what he or she wants, when he or she wants. Traditional publishing is a waiting game with many obstacles to overcome. I've talked to other fantasy writers who've done up to four free drafts for publishers, only to have their manuscripts rejected in the end. I've dealt with the notes of network executives for thirty years. Sometimes, they help. Often, they hinder. I didn't want to subject The Crystal Point to an editor's whims. Instead, I sought editorial advice from a successful screenwriter friend. She helped me immensely, but was always ready to defer to my vision of the story. Of course, the price for this freedom is that an author has to create the awareness for his or her own book. Big publishing houses know how to push a book. Kindle authors must try to do it themselves, with a tiny fraction of the budget.

Created: 18 May, 2011 - Last changed: 18 May, 2011 - Comments (0)