A Future Christmas Classic
Twenty Questions-with Al E. Boy Author of
1. Where or how did you come up with the idea for this book and series?
I’ve been a shopping mall/department store Santa for 40 years, and I’ve developed quite a repertoire of stories and explanations to answer children’s queries about Santa, the reindeer, the North Pole, Santa’s workshop, etc. One day I hit upon the idea of utilizing a reindeer’s adventures to employ my many stories and explanations.
2. When you sit down to write do you have an idea where you are going, or does it just happen as you’re sitting there? Or is it actually the Characters writing the story?
All three. I may start with an idea…and see where that takes me. Other times I may have an objective in mind…but find the story just happening by itself…taking over…so to speak. Sometimes…depending upon the situation/scene…the character(s) take over…and the dialogue pretty much writes itself. I really love those times! I often sit back afterwards and think: “Wow! That’s interesting! I wasn’t expecting that to happen!”
3. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
In Book 1-Chapters 8 and 9—where I had the opportunity to describe how things are made in the confectionary shoppes on Sweet Street, and in the Toy Shop. It was magical. In Book 2-Chapter 14—where young Kristoff Kringle’s life changes forever when Good King Patch dies, leaving him in charge of the Rua Ondos…and the elves. I like the idea of destiny playing a part in his life. He was meant to be Santa Claus! In Book 3-Chapter 15…And Then It Was December. So much happens in that chapter…it’s difficult to say what I enjoyed most. But…if I had to choose…I’d say Fawn’s verbal sparring with Graham Fleming, and then their fight with the would-be thieves. One minute they were enemies…and the next they were fighting to save one another.
4. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It’s all pretty much imagination. The stories I developed through my real-life portrayal of Santa…but it’s still amounts to mental conjurings.
5. What is your favorite quote from a book of fiction?
“Be yourself! No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong!” (Santa Claus. ‘Til the last Snowflake Falls’.)
6. On that vein who would be your favorite Author? What writers influenced you?
Charles Dickens, Margaret Atwood, James Clavell and J. Meade Faulkner were the authors who truly left the most memorable impact upon me. Their particular choice of words, the way they paced the stories and events. Not only were their books a delight to read…but also a learning experience at the same time. Oh….and Dr. Seuss!
7 Do you have a favorite fictional character?
8. What five words describe you?
Genuine. Diligent. Sentimental. Romantic. Unique.
9. What if any project are you working on now?(go ahead promote away!)
While The Adventures of Fawn does seem to wrap up quite nicely as a trilogy…I am currently toying around with ideas for a fourth book. The first three books covered the months from late September through to about two weeks before Christmas 1849. There is a lingering question in my mind. What happened then?
10. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I imagine every writer is different. But….for me…not receiving any criticism at all is the most annoying. When I first began writing these books in early 2014…I’d ask friends and family
to have a look. Without exception, they all said they were ‘nice’ and ‘fun’. I’d smile and thank them, but inside I’d be screaming, “No! That’s not what I want to hear! Tell me where it stinks…where it’s confusing…where it’s just plain dumb!”
11. What has been the best compliment?
One reviewer wrote that my trilogy should be Christmas classics, and that if they’d been published by one of the big companies…they already would be…and there would be movies coming out soon. I really liked her enthusiasm.
12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t hear from many. But what I do hear is rather favorable. Many of them like the positive messages and tales of life at the North Pole.
14. What do you think makes a good story?
That’s kind of like asking what makes a good steak. Each person looks for/expects something different. I think a good unique storyline is essential. I don’t want to read someone’s version of ‘Twilight’, or, ‘Harry Potter’. I love sharp witty dialogue. For me…it makes the characters less two-dimensional.
15. I think I know your answer but, what’s more important to you Characters or plot?
For me….the characters are more important. I think they’re vital to moving the plot along. I truly try to make each and every one unique and unlike anyone else in the (for lack of a better word) ‘cast’. The plot can be good…it can be great…but the characters really generate emotions in the readers. They can help bring in a bit of comic relief…even in the most dire of situations.
16. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like listening to music, and watching movies.
17. How about a snippet from your book that will hook a prospective reader and make them want to read your book.
Here are two:
Excerpt #1 from ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls
Today was going to be the day!
Fawn had it all planned out. The young reindeer would wait until her dad and mum, Comet and Vixen, came home to the stable, and she was going to calmly explain how unhappy she was.
Sure…she’d mentioned it before, (more like every other day), but each time her bad mood had gotten the better of her and she’d wound up arguing with her parents. Each time they had told her she wasn’t old enough…not mature enough…to be going out on her own.
Fawn had often pondered over their words.
Not mature enough?!
She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant…but just the same she didn’t like the sound of it!
I think it’s like saying I’m still a baby! Darnit! I’m four and a half months old!!
Fawn was convinced fun…excitement….maybe even friends could be hers to enjoy if she was free to explore the world outside Santa’s Village.
I blew it those other times by getting too excited. If I can plainly and calmly explain to mum and dad how bored and lonely I am…how I need some friends…surely they’ll see how much I’ve changed…how much more ‘mature’ I am now…whatever that means! I’ll wait for them to come home…and then I’ll show them.
Yes, indeed! She had it all planned out!
But sometimes even the best laid plans can fall apart.
Excerpt #2 from The Adventures of Fawn,
How long they wandered in the blizzard, they didn’t know. Fawn slipped and hurt her injured leg. It began to throb and hurt a great deal. Walking on it was becoming more painful with every step she took.
The falling snow was making her back very wet, and very slippery. Bunny fell off again, and again, and again. Try as she might, it became much too difficult for her to stay on for very long.
As Bunny slipped off yet again, Fawn saw the look of fear and frustration in her eyes.
“Let’s try this.” she shouted.
With her teeth, Fawn gently grabbed Bunny by the scruff of her neck. She carried her that way, as they struggled through the cold, biting wind and drifting snow.
Hanging from her friend’s mouth, Bunny watched as her leg bandage came undone. Then, it went flying off in the wind. She saw it bounce into a drift or two. Then, it disappeared in the dizzying whiteness of snow, which blew like a hurricane around them.
“Fawn! Your bandage just came off!”
“There’s nothing much I can do about that!” answered Fawn, doing her best not to drop Bunny as she called out. “Right now…a bandage coming off is the least of my worries!”
A voice in Fawn’s head seemed to be shouting at her, taunting her, “Is this enough excitement for you?! Do you still not care how dangerous it is?”
Fawn wanted to argue back, “But I’m just a kid! I was bored! Sometimes kids say stupid things! Sometimes kids say things they don’t mean!”
But at that moment, Fawn understood words once said, cannot be unsaid. She tried her best to shut out the voice. She had enough trouble at the moment.
“I—I—I’m freezing!” Bunny cried. “I’m s-s-sorry Fawn!!”
“Why? What for?” Fawn mumbled as she tried to hold onto Bunny.
“It was my idea to go out looking for clues! I made you break your promise. Now…we’re probably going to die in this blizzard.”
Bunny almost slipped from her grasp, as Fawn scolded her, “Stop that! Don’t talk like that! Don’t even think like that! Everything is going to be fine! Just remember…together…until the last snowflake faaallll—”
Suddenly, with Bunny still clenched in her teeth, Fawn was tumbling down a steep slope. Head over hooves she rolled and rolled. She never lost her grip on her little friend until they came to an abrupt stop at the bottom of the hill. Bunny flew from her mouth, up into the snowy air.
“Aahh!” Fawn cried out in fear. “Bunny!”
She was lying in the snow, unable to move, and then suddenly Fawn felt something land on her belly. It was Bunny! But, she wasn’t moving! She just lay there…silent and motionless.
“Bunny! Bunny? Are you alright? Speak to me! Bunny!!”
She was too weak to raise herself to check on her friend. The sound of her voice was lost in the roaring winds. Tears rolled down her cheeks, as she looked at Bunny lying helplessly on her belly.
“Oh…Bunny!” she murmured through her tears.
Then, she saw shadows approaching. She could hear voices…but couldn’t make out who they were
But, she couldn’t see…and she couldn’t stay awake any longer.
18. What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Create for the right reasons. If you don’t feel it…no one else will either. Have a good idea of who your characters are! Don’t force situations…let them happen…just like real life! Always bear in mind nothing is written in stone…and you have to be willing to delete anything you’ve written to make the story better. Sure…maybe you really like a certain line….but if it has to go to make the scene better…or more coherent….get rid of it without blinking an eye.
19. How did you get into writing? Is this what you always wanted to do?
I remember being told I was good at writing even in the first grade. I guess there was a part of
me that always wanted to write…but I had to wait until I was 60 before I finally got down to doing it.
20. Any last thoughts for our readers?
Whatever you are reading…give it a chance. Don’t close the cover after the first chapter unless it is truly painfully difficult to read. It’s kind of like listening to an album. Sometimes you listen to the first cut and think it’s not to your liking. But you give it a chance…and find it’s not all that bad after all. Years down the road…it’s one of your favorite albums. The same goes for books.
Al E. Boy is an English teacher, originally from Canada, but currently residing in Seoul, South Korea.
Through almost 40 years as a Santa Claus, Al E. Boy developed quite a repertoire of tales to explain and answer the many questions children ask about Santa, the North Pole, his reindeer, and his friends, the elves.
It was this collection of tales which prompted him to begin writing The Adventures of Fawn. Through the young daughter of legendary reindeer Comet and Vixen, he’s been able to weave an exciting, colorful, imaginative world which will delight readers of all ages!
Mr. Boy not only hopes you enjoy these tales, but make reading them part of your Christmas traditions, as well.