So explain to your readers how The Dragon Forest came to be...
Well, it all started back in the summer of 1989. I was a young Marine wife alone most of the summer because my husband was away and I had much time on my hands. I spent most of my time at the library on base reading many books and magazines.
I started to think about combining my talent as an artist with my love for writing stories and begin a children's picture book.
So, I checked out books on how to write a children's book, took them home, and read them all. Then, I took out my journal and jotted down a couple of sentences about the plot:
"A prince enters a mysterious forest and encounters a dragon."
That's pretty much how it started. I had to put the book on the shelf for many years until, finally, in 2003 I attended a course on writing at ASU. It was in that class that I took my book off the shelf and began to outline the story.
Fascinating how it all came together! How did the story evolve over the years?
The book went from a children's picture book to a chapter book for middle grade readers. My son was about that age, and I wanted to write a book he might be interested in. The Lord of the Rings movies were a huge hit and kids seemed to be interested in fantasy adventures.
I'd still like to write and illustrate a children's picture book about the series. That's in my future.
Why a trilogy?
I knew Peter's story needed to continue, so I decided to make it a series of 3 books culminating in the last battle to protect the forest at all costs. It's a coming-of-age series about Peter's life, but it is also about doing what is right when everyone seems against you. It's a series about defending an Oath and promise no matter what. Commitment is a strong theme in this series.
Why the fantasy genre?
I suppose the idea of creating a world from imagination always intrigued me. The task is quite daunting, but also a great deal of fun. I admire fantasy authors and the worlds they create.
My world of Théadril has been a pleasure to create. I can see it in my mind as I write. All the different ecologies and languages, customs and cultures, were difficult to envision, but I tried my best to create a world my readers would visualize.
How is The Dragon Forest III coming along?
So far, so good! My editor, Christopher Moore, has enjoyed Part I so far. This book needs to wrap all loose ends together, so the one book will contain three parts.
Part I will provide some exposition about Peter's mother, Queen Laurien, and her connection to the entire story.
Part II will pick up where the second book left off. Peter is reunited with his friends.
Part III will find Peter and his soldiers returning to Illiath to reclaim the kingdom and protect the Dragon Forest once and for all.
I'm excited to write this book, but a little sad, too. When I developed the ending in my head then in the outline, I cried as I said goodbye to so many characters I have lived with for two decades. I love Peter as my own son. I am proud of the young man he has become, but I will miss him dearly.
Sounds like an exciting end to the trilogy! Can't wait to read it!
R. A. Douthitt's books are available on Amazon.com.
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