Interview with Carla
AchesonAuthor of The Last
Gift, who has worked as a reviewer and interviewed
best selling authors: www.carla-acheson.com
Q. Why have you released this
A. As a first time author I learned
many of my writing skills by making mistakes. I
remain indebted to several editors who helped me
overcome my shortcomings and Book One was the result.
However, one thing all editors insist upon is the
proviso that 'A book never starts at the beginning'.
I wrestled with this for several years, and was
never happy with the result. To me it was a mess,
well, until the story proper got going. Then I learned
about The Hollywood Script, the device they use
in virtually all films, and it begins with about
ten percent introduction to the characters and scene.
This suited me well and I have used it as the foundation
upon which to rebuild this unabridged version.
The book now starts before the beginning and introduces
characters that later become important to the plot.
It replaces several back-stories and answers questions
before readers ask them. I am now more than happy
with the book.
Q. This was your first book. What
made you want to write it, to become an author?
A. They say everyone has a book
in them, and I believe that to be true. Whether
it is a book strangers would pay for to read is
a different matter. So I went on a steep learning
curve, learning how to write. It was not easy, but
I made excellent progress.
The second reason was that I liked the Castaway
idea, but hated the film starring Tom Hanks, in
which even the ending was changed from the book.
I set out to write a castaway novel, but being a
virgin writer, feedback from friends was at best,
lukewarm. I was 'telling', not 'showing'. And it
was in first person present tense = never again.
It is now in first person past tense, and reads
But things changed when I wrote about the food
parcels, and soon after, the transporter. Immediately,
the book warped away into science fiction and science
fantasy. I had the idea of 'The Ancestors', and
was away on an epic journey.
Q. Tell me about the main characters,
the ones that appealed to you, the author, most.
A. Number one is Jack. He is a
likeable rogue in the modern sense. But when the
book begins, he is lost and castaway. He develops
as the storyline does. Susan and I argued (playfully)
about this, but later she agreed with my character
I love Owain, a real man's man. I am proud of Da
Phai Nai, as she is a no bullshit woman, and she
is usually correct. Her character is one of the
most balanced I have written.
But I think n'Gnung is perhaps the best, because
he continues to develop and becomes more central
to the main plot, and many subplots as the trilogy
Q. Where is the Island located?
A. It is in the central South
Pacific at about longitude 150 West, latitude 25
South. There is a submerged volcano at position
-25.085599, -148.345642 that proved suitable. The
size was about right were it were poking above water.
It featured several smaller crowns as well as a
large central caldera, which was perfect.
The reason for non detection by contemporary science,
explorers, and satellites was simple, it was hidden
by an Ancestral shield. Meaning, what is on current
maps, is all we can detect.
Q. What was the most difficult
thing about writing a trilogy?
A. Keeping track of continuity,
especially when making a major edit. It would ricochet
around all three volumes.