I recently read “The First” by Lisa M Green and I thought it was terrific in a most unexpected way. So I tracked the author down and asked her a few questions and here is what she had to tell me.
Tell us a little about where the story came from.
The voices in my head. Seriously, my muse speaks to me in whispers that no one else can hear. One sentence was all it took, though the idea had been shaping in a completely different direction up to that point. She spoke it, and there it was, staring at me in all its glory. What was it? I can’t tell you. I’d be giving away the story. I actually wrote a very poetic blog post on this very thing a while back. But the idea shaped from my obsession with mythology and history. I love the connections between stories and the truths they tell us. I simply built upon that and used the muse’s sentence to construct a backstory for my characters’ world. And The First was born.
How much do you believe our beliefs are shaped by our parents, and what other influences come into play?
Everyone is impacted by their parent’s beliefs, either in a positive or negative way. It’s interesting how the same circumstances and background can force two people in two completely different directions. But I think our own experiences have a much greater impact on our own beliefs than anything else. What we see and feel lies heavily within our souls, within our hearts. That can either choke us or lift us up, depending on the situation and our own response mechanisms. We are the product of both nature and nurture, but we all desire the same thing: wanting to know who we are and why we exist. Those are the questions that we all struggle to answer, and I touch on them in my novel.
Do you have a favourite character from the novel?
A cliché it may be, but my protagonist, Rinni, is certainly my favorite. She is a good bit of me mixed with some other very interesting qualities that I find endearing (those that others may find annoying at times). Yet she always maintains the forward motion of the story and drives the action. Her brother, Mori, is very dear to me as well, simply because he is so likable. He has a sweet spirit that transcends the limitations of his place within the story.
How hard was it to get the spiritual elements of the novel just right?
Extremely. Almost inhumanly so. It was important to stay on track with the plot elements without getting too deep into the spiritual aspects. I wanted the significant parts to stand out without it coming across as being “preachy” or religious in nature. While the story lends itself as a lesson in morality, that is not the message I wish to get across. I write (in all my stories) about beings who struggle to find themselves and their place in the world. I want my readers to think. I want them to reflect on how we view one another and the importance of beliefs, no matter what they are. I want them to admire the beauty of what is good to recognize evil for what it is. The monster is often inside ourselves, and we have to rip it out in order to see things clearly and make wise decisions. But I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m forcing any ideas on them. This is a fictional story that uses some religious elements that I personally find fascinating. I like to put those types of things under the microscope to see what they’re really made of and what they can do.
Ebook or Hard copy
<hides head in shame> I balked at the Kindle for so long because the death of the printed book strikes fear and sorrow into my heart. I love books, especially old ones with that smell that reminds me of my childhood. But I couldn’t live without my Kindle now, for reading all the novels on my reading list. The really important or special ones still get a place on my bookshelves, but those shelves are overflowing at the moment. Don’t judge.
Coffee, tea or other…
Coffee! I cannot get through a day without it. My fiancé is British, so we drink a lot of tea as well, but coffee is a must to stave off my monstrous migraines.
Favourite author/comfort read.
Eek…that’s a hard one. When I need a good laugh, there’s nothing better than Douglas Adams. But C.S. Lewis inspired me in so many ways. Tolkien was one of middle school delights that has followed me all through life as well, but Lewis had a greater influence on my writing. As did Ursula K. LeGuin, whose Earthsea series was so endearing that I tell everyone I know to try them out.
Thank you so much Lisa!
In a world where almost nothing is truth and isolation is the purest form of self-deception, the possibility of hope exists only in the heart and mind of a young woman who chooses to follow an unknown path in order to save everyone she knows and loves. Before long, she discovers that her most vital beliefs are based on a deception that will rock the foundation of her entire people. To save them, she must learn to open her heart and sacrifice…everything.
A strange one this for me because it wasnt QUITE what I was expecting ultimately, it was something very different and yet quite beautiful.
We meet a girl, her brother and her family – in the village where she lives they are part of a group responsible for keeping the fire burning at all times. Using the bark from the Sacred Tree that grows at the heart of the community and provides them with everything they need, it is imperative that it never goes out, so the “shadows” are kept at bay. Through a series of events, she becomes mistrustful of her elders and realises that there are hidden secrets. Bound and determined to ensure the safety of herself and those around her she embarks on an epic journey of discovery.
The underlying themes about belief systems, faith, the real meaning of truth and how accepting we are of what we are taught, are extremely well done here. I am not a spiritual person generally but in a lot of ways this is a very spiritual book – as we take this journey with our main protagonist it evokes a sense of something more and leads to questions of faith v reality and what that can mean.
It has a Post Apocalyptic feel to it, I believe that each reader will take something very different from it and the ultimate resolution will provoke discussion. Before that there is a great adventure to be had here – It is an easy flowing read, the characters are compelling and overall it is a fascinating, well imagined story with a possibly controversial but certainly thought provoking premise.
Kudos to the author for taking a well known genre and giving it a simple twist of fate.
Find out more here: http://lisamgreen.com/
Follow Lisa on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/AuthorLMGreen
Happy Reading Folks!