Interview with KUTEESA FRANK, author of The Asc3ndants
How long have you been writing fiction? What genres do you write and what is the extent of your knowledge and experience?
I began creative writing at the age of fourteen, in my primary levels of education (sixth grade or a class below if I must be specific). I have been writing for nine years. My works are original and due to great opportunity, support and publication in my country, I keep much of them in summaries, waiting patiently while continuously creating and hoping the world would embrace my works. I feel this interview is a step up the ladder. My summaries lie in adventure, science fiction, Afro fantasy, historical and futuristic works. They are more descriptive and deep rooted, or chronological if you love the sound of that. My fiction mainly aims for young adults. My experience in writing meant lots of private moments trying to create crazy ideas in my class books, imaginary drawings for my daily popping up characters. At times this experience would feel like an addiction. Being that I fancy traveling and discovering, adventure became my addiction.
My knowledge has been powered by the opportunity I got in 2004 to travel to the US for two and a half years. I developed interest in Disney children’s stories, many of which stretched every child's mind to greater discovery, higher levels and dimensions of creativity. I developed greater expectations and desired to discover what came next after the end of those stories. But I never got answers. Instead I had to imagine a continuation of whichever story I read. I wanted to know where the beast's mother and father came from or where they ended up in Beauty And The Beast. I felt there was another story worth telling. Many of the stories by me shall comprise chorological plots.
There are lots of stories which have not been told. Fanfiction is an acceptable way to go for a talented fan of certain fiction. It’s partly a way of expressing one’s love for it. Creating a root story for another's story did not sound creative to me. I instead desired to give birth to worlds and imaginary dimensions of my own. I desired to start with an original story. This became the stories I kept in summaries. This love for originality was inspired by achievements great authors obtained from so few original works. These include J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Silmarilions books (my favorite author ever if I must admit) followed by J.K. Rowlings, the creator of Harry Potter. These are my role models followed by a few others. The reason many of.my works are still summarized is a deep African issue related to the limited spread of computer technology. When I returned from the U.S. I had to continue with school. In those days my school had only twenty or so computers and they were limited to children's Encarta and the usual Microsoft studies. The timetable was fixed and limited the ideas I had burning within me from abroad. This required me to fill my notebooks.
Lack of a personal PC or home/family desktop is a problem so aspiring young African writers are still experiencing to this day. This left me with one option which was to fill my 190 to 200 page notebooks with detailed pieces, many titles of which I have come to change of late. I would spend much of my upkeep to ensure I had these notebooks replaced for school work. I got my first personal PC nine years later when I traveled to Australia with a young African cultural dance and folk song performance team for a three month cultural exchange tour. Prior to the end of this tour, one of the host families noticed my talent and provided me with my first personal PC. I have used it to expand and complete one of my works titled The Asc3ndants, Awakening.
What spoke to you about the writings of Tolkien and Rowlings, and how did they inspire you to create your own worlds?
Tolkien writes fantasy adventure with deep chronological ascendance. He, like Rowlings, wrote about imaginary worlds, beasts unknown to man, magic. Most interestingly, these were colored with material familiar to the world around us. Their imaginary creatures were exaggerated versions of every experience we go through. When they are presented in an imaginary world and given an imaginary villain and an extraordinarily special hero, fantasy and creativity are manifested. Dwarves, elves, hobbits, and orcs in Tolkien’s works were an artistic interlace. And I believe he saw the world in many different perspectives. The elves’ perspective and the humans’ perspective which he was naturally bound to. He created orcs and tried to see his human nature through an orc's point of view.
This grasped my interest and I desired to dress into an elf skin and think I was wiser than any other. If I was wise like those characters, what would I be capable of in a world falling apart from the rise of an evil power? What if the elves lived under water? What if the humans did not live in Tolkien’s world but in the real world? Why did the dwarves dig so far into the earth's crust and yet man had all he desired out here? Man did not require the gems of the underworld to be happy, but the dwarves seemed obsessed with discovering riches. What if they had a different reason for digging into the earth's crust? What if what they discovered altered the course of nature in the real world? What if dwarves were real though no one had seen them? I try not to have magic in my works. But what if all the magic in Tolkien’s works had a scientific formula in the real world? What if the gods were African from the foundation of the real world?
Tolkien challenged my level of creation. Being that the elves, dwarves and dragons in his works already existed in so many myth stories, I fell for how creative he was giving these common world creatures and characters a greater identity. It was a big task giving them a new origin, to get them to perform in the completion of his plot. He played so well with everyday life. Man and his greed for power. What then could a hobbit do? He sat and thought. And gave it purpose in his work. I’m doing this with The Asc3ndants.
I hope to use Tolkien’s ability as an inspiration to the creation of my own. I proceeded to the origins of man and society asking what if man could live forever like the elves? Why did the elves had the power of immortality? What if the dwarves were African? Science has it that Africa was the first dry land to be inhabited by man. And he was a black man. What if the dwarves became black men? What if middle earth was the original African continent? What if man is outcast from an underwater realm where he was entitled to immortality like all Elves? What if this gift was stripped of man and man was sentenced to live upon the dry lands for the millions of years he has been here? What if the dwarves were assigned with a task to create the pillars and halls of the underworld by the most-high? What if they weren’t allowed to experience the beauty of daytime? What if they diverted from their purpose and chose to dig into the earth's crust, trying to extract some black element more powerful than the gods governing the different realms of nature? What if this element's removal became the root cause for the abnormal calamities earth experiences? And what if this element is the source to immortality? What is man's next response, especially when the gods disappeared at the loss of the black element?
I credit Rowlings for how creative she was with Hogwart. She gave her world an artistic dimension unique from what we are accustomed to. She tried to imagine color and describe it in a way she wanted Harry Potter readers to feel. She introduced new creatures. Readers are fascinated with experiencing exaggerated versions of what they know. We all know a horse. We all know an eagle. But we don’t ever see the two as one with a new name. Rowlings introduced a creature her fans relate to. If you know her Harry Potter books, you probably have a similar image of that creature. What resulted was a vast selling semi-series of Harry Potter novels. Her ability to recreate what magic already existed in so many stories, and being able to redesign it inspired me to create. I pursued a similar originality those authors showed, no matter what limited inspiration they drew from the real world around them.
Describe some of the first fiction pieces you wrote, and how your writing has improved since those pieces were completed.
I feel they are worth protecting by keeping them personal. The Asc3ndants began with one idea. It popped up in my mind while I was seated in my classroom. I was broke that day and had no money for my upkeep. When the bell rang at around 10:30 for everyone to head for break time, the class suddenly became quieter. I sat staring out the window with my head over my notebook. I looked out the window and the unusual silence seemed to pierce into my mind. I started to hear my stomach grumbling from hunger. A lizard crawled up and sat on the window sill. It startled me and I froze. It stared as if trying to judge whether I was stone or not. We had just finished a physics lesson; the topic had been about lenses and the refraction of light. The lizard was an unintended live experiment; its thin scales shimmered before my eyes with different colors! My mind traveled to Tolkien's world. Of course the shape of this lizard resembled the winged dragon ridden by Sauron’s ghost riders. I took up my pen, startling the lizard and causing it to flee.
The first thing I wrote was. 'Once upon a time, a strange egg was washed up to the shores of a lake. Within this egg, there was an African baby boy with gills. The boy was African, his flesh streamlined with shimmering scales.” From this boy, where the egg had come from, became the start of volume two of the three volumes I expect to write for The Asc3ndants. From the boy's appearance, I titled the one page story Scales. Because sharks were the fiercest marine life I had heard of, I referred to the hatched baby as Shark Boy. This character reference wasn’t original. It was a suggestion by my best friend Ochoko Wilfred, though more jokingly. When I narrated to him the ideas in my physics notebook, he suggested I include dragons and magic and a lot of other ideas he loved. I desired a more diverse, original creation. I did a lot more of this story's generation than I did revising my books, especially in Maths. In a week I had more than four pages in my notebooks. When I had all the ideas, I folded them up. In the evening I would take them back to the dorm and stick them in a new notebook at the bottom of my metallic suitcase (everyone had a metallic suitcase because anything not metallic was broken into). Over three days I thought about the characters I generated for Scales. Then a new story sparked up. Again I tore papers from my notebook until the summary was complete. I added it to the other story in my suitcase. I decided to start moving with a notebook of about 200 pages. Whichever idea came to my mind I wrote down until half the book was filled with summaries. A new title every five pages. I improved these summaries giving each a better title. Some included the four below and they may come after The Asc3ndants. They include “The Unforgotables”, “Beast Code”, “Hill Of Spears” and “African Heist”.
Describe the storyline of The Asc3ndants and how it incorporates all the ideas you have discussed.
In my fiction works, I create, twist and interlace mythologies to form a pattern as a fantasy story plot, then give it life in the world we are familiar to. I force reality to relate with imaginary knowledge in relation to science. I make societies, unheard of deities (making me feel I’m the god of my imaginary worlds), I rearranged history in a keen and creative manner to meet my readers’ interests.
In my works you will find humanity, male or female, black and white, contribute to a similar positive goal at the end. Most of the time, my works cover societies working together to defend what they have always known, desired and believed in. If power and dominance is anyone’s goal as an individual, sect, organization or party, the dominant power will be portrayed as one. The dominant or dominated may be the enemy; brutal, merciless, unruly or in need of assistance
In The Asc3ndants I have elves and dwarves which don’t appear early in the semi-series. They are all black because in the evolution of humankind blacks came first. You shall see the beauty of this idea as the story comes to its conclusion in the third volume. From Tolkien’s work, only the two mentioned beings are those I saw fit for a story that would occur in a real world. Everyone’s enemy are native half-immortal black sorts you shall find in volume two. I call them Apenoids.
Before they became Apenoids in the first volume, they were warriors in a world of thirteen clans. Each clan had a role in the existence of the first humankind and were guardians of mortal man. When the gods went into conflict over the disappearance of a certain metal substance believed to contain the power of immortality, they were found guilty. How they came to possess this black substance which was referred to as the Black Seed no one had time to find out because they started war against the clans.
They dominated because they gained power from the Black Seed. In time, the remaining clans started to disperse thousands of miles from the rebel ruling clan. Being that they had obtained the ability/gift to shapeshift between human and ape made them the most brutal war mongers history ever knew. As the clans dispersed, peace and unity became far from possible. Hundreds of generations passed. Much of the stories told to the younger generations of those clans dispersed and circulated in myth and legend. But the depths of Mother Africa lay in waste and unceasing war. Then a few of the long lost clans started to return.
The Arab clan learned to believe what their forefathers had told were myths. But on returning and finding the rest of the clans still at war, they designed a new system which would enable them to correct this mess. Even though they returned as the second of the ancient thirteen clans, they carved a portion of the former mighty native Empire just along the East African coast, making it a sultanate under several powerful sultans and military geniuses like Sultan Khailem, a character feared by the warrior descendants of the Apenoids but exalted by the Arab clan for his ability to keep the war-mongers at bay.
Their only mistake was they desired to discover the former empire’s wealth reserves lost during the ancient war. Under the military might of the empire, they dug into the interior causing terror and fear among the clans who had fought to protect their land from the Apenoids. Fearing that there would be war soon, agreements were made with the conquered clans to attack and capture all able warriors from the other clans. They intended to weaken the other clans by taking most of their warrior clans away and selling them across the great seas to Europe industrialization was booming like never before. The growing lack of able warriors would enable the Arab clan to rise above the clans as dominant. Little did they know this selling of the warrior class natives from the rest of the weaker clans would cause their downfall.
The Asc3ndants: Awakening, (volume 2) starts with the collapse of the East African Arab Empire and the death of its High Sultan. There was the rise of the English Protectorate. Chapter one opens nineteen years later, in the aftermath of the war which led to the collapse of the slave trade of the Arab Empire. Prior to the birth of the ancient clan wars there was the first conflict among the league of the gods of the five realms of nature: the water realm, the dry earth realm, the underworld realm, the sky realm and last but not least the realm ---. When the Black Seed went missing from the shadow lands, Sabir, god of the dry land was found guilty. He had betrayed the league of the gods for several reasons including dissatisfaction. The god of the water realm was his younger brother, but at the foundation of the world’s creation his humanoid subjects had been granted half immortality and, worse still, the largest portion of the earth. Being the older brother, he saw this unfair and desired to use the Black Seed to rise above the gods. This wasn’t possible because when war started he tried to grant man upon the dry land a chance to live forever like the Underwater Elves.
Ten thousand years earlier man was half immortal like the Elf people. Man lost his immortality because he violated major laws governing the Elf realm. And through the Shadow-lands, judgment was made and the consequence was to be cast out and stripped of half immortality. When the Elves became mortal and stepped onto the dry land, they found Sabir, master watcher of the dry land and its mortal beings. They humbly requested for his guidance and knowledge on how to survive. He took them as his children and assisted them. In the end they were able to create the first and greatest mortal man empire upon the dry land made of thirteen clans. But Sabir wasn’t pleased by the decision. They shouldn’t have been unfair with the gift all the elves had even though the laws of nature demanded a mortal state. The Black Seed was gone and mortal man’s warrior/guardian clan gained half immortality. The removal of the Black Seed denied the gods ability to communicate or associate with their subjects. The bond between the gods and the natural beings was severed. And only the god of the dry land had supreme power over the realms. Power over the five realms would cause him outrageous madness, which he had not contemplated. He couldn’t handle the authority alone as it was granted and neutralized by the Black Seed. It drove him insane after having granted one of the thirteen mortal clans a chance back to half immortality. This did not work because man had already been cursed to die and by trying to tamper with this, corruption was triggered beyond what man had ever known. The clan commanders followed him to war against the Elf guardians. They had been employed by the Elf council to do whatever it took to reclaim the Black Seed and return it to its place among the stone thrones of the league of the gods.
During the war, at the peak of Sabir’s insanity, the Black Seed broke and Sabir lost control of it. The Elf forces were able to reclaim one piece and return it to its rightful place. Whoever returned it was hard to sacrifice their life for the task. But the other half wasn’t found. And Sabir was missing. Not even the sound of the White Horn could invoke him back. The Apenoid clan had lost guidance. The seer of the empire could no longer hear the voice of the one referred to as the god of war. Not so long after, the commander of the Apenoids stepped forth before the emperor of the dry land with the second half of the Black Seed. He had it in his possession two days and it had done harm to him because his soul was beyond lost by the time he admitted he had found it. In its half shape, the Black Seed gave no positive power but infected his soul with corruption, greed, pride, cruelty and an unusual understanding of power, authority and the worth of life itself. At the peak of this confusion, the commander led the guardian clan against the imperial family, defeating it and crowning himself as emperor, causing unending clan wars for dominance as we have known to date! He used the dark power given him by the half Black Seed (he had got the goldsmith and iron clan to create a ruling scepter and within the tip of the scepter, he had placed the Black Seed element)
And after hundreds of years of clan wars, the Black Scepter was robbed by one divergent member of the Apenoid clan who did not admire the imposter emperor’s ways. The thief was a relative to the imposter emperor. Wherever his sense of pity had come from, no one could explain up to date. But it was impossible and unheard of for an Apenoid to turn against the clan. The thief did not wish to hand the Black Scepter into the hands of the Elf guardians who guarded the boarders of the shadow lands in the aftermath of the disappearance of the league of the gods. He feared they may misuse it to dominate the weaker/pure human clans. He was able to divide the Apenoids into two, leading those on his side back to war but in defense of the rest of the clans as the clan’s major role was from the birth of the First Empire. And being that he had the Black Scepter, he gained the trust of the rest of the stray clans’ men. Many of the other resistant clans started to trust the new Apenoid rebellion.
And being that the Black Seed was sealed in the golden and black metal scepter, the new holder keenly avoided contact with it and prevented its darker effects. He had it hidden as long as it did not land into the wrong hands. When the Arabs came, looking for the ancient empire’s lost wealth; he captured and tortured then to locate the Black Scepter. When the descendants to the first rebel emperor discovered the second age rebel sect was growing stronger, they turned to the shadow lands to try and steal the first half of the Black Seed. Even though they were able to reach there, they never lost their lives. This meant not even the first half of the Black Seed had been returned. Rumor had it the second age rebels did not have the second half. Had the Arab invaders taken it from them?
The only place it could be found were places with hints of great power. And there was nowhere besides the Arab empire hints of strange power. When the slave trade began, Apenoids still loyal to the first rebel order offered them to be captured as slaves by the Arabs so they could find a passage across the great seas. While on the other side, they would try to locate the Black Scepter wherever it could be among the white clan, which had secretly grown powerful beyond any other power. When they invaded England starting in industrial Winchester, the king of England shifted to Winchester with three armies to construct a great wall dissecting Winchester and what would become the crown land. This would take time.
Meanwhile Apenoids carried out surprise midnight invasions on several wealth nobles in Winchester and around Europe, especially the major slave dealing provinces. This chaos increased triggering the Elf guardians’ attention. Because they had been tasked with a mission to recover the second half of the Black Seed, they shifted their watch over Winchester like invisible vultures, never ready to expose themselves or their purpose. In the end, they had to expose themselves to the Crown of England to curb the Apenoids untamable chaos a without threatening the rest of English society.
The slave trade was the major reason for the influx of the Apenoids in England. This idea came from Wales. England refused to accept this years earlier because the slaves were running the industrial mechanisms in Winchester. When the Crown agreed to do away with the slave trade, its industrial levels declined, as Wales, its biggest competitor in Europe, wished to see. It’s as if the Council of the Lord of Wales Provinces had fore-sighted another means of raising their industrial system above England. It brought trouble for Wales.
The High Sultan was warned to cut down on the slave trade but failed. Force was applied as we know in history. Wales’ new naval commander was given a fleet of 300 Royal ships, 100 from England and 140 from Wales. How Portugal came into the deal, it wasn’t clear. But the Lords of Wales might have had a greater plan. England did not investigate this. Lord Cobham, Wale’s youngest naval commander in history, was granted command over the fleet of 300. Three days later, the Arabs surrendered to the fleet. They were partially assisted by the Elves. Being that Wales had championed this attack with less support from England and the crown, Wales had the rights to choose a protectorate governor over the free former slave coast of East Africa. And unlike what England expected, Wales forwarded a Portuguese minister of trade as lord and governor over the fallen Arab empire. Lord Cobham did not look into what decision the Lords of Wales made because his role was done. He only desired adventure after having found friendship with the Elves. Immediately after the war, he requested for departure with these beings so he could learn from them.
Meanwhile, Wales started secretly improving their industrial mechanism with the capture and imprisonment of new intelligent apes whose origins they didn’t know or tried to find out. All they cared about was they would sooner than ever become the answer to the peak of Europe’s industrialization. The desired rise to the peak of industrialization did occur, but there were conflicts in the empire when the king suddenly died. The High Lord over Wales became regent to the throne and attempted to change the apes’ importation system because he foresaw a great threat to their accumulation.
He was overwhelmed by the Lords’ reasoning and decided to war against the disobedient ones, opening a serious state of resistance and brokenness in Wales. At the peak of the war, the apes were released by someone who possessed the Black Scepter. He led the apes towards the borders of England and Wales. England heard about the outbreak of war against unknown intelligent apes. They staged a military block at the borders to prevent the apes from penetrating England though the border town Orghum. Unfortunately, the apes wounded the King of England who had taken command of his armies one last time. He would become bedridden and die. But his son would be radical, not like his father. After seeing the destruction of this potential ape-power for industrial growth or military might, he desired to stop the murder of the apes. Before the king died, the Prince suggested the apes be captured instead of destroyed, because they could serve England if well studied. This was sensible but he only viewed this on the surface. The king couldn’t refuse him because he would be dead by then anyway. So he decided to gazette the young man from being able to do as he willed when he was gone. He suggested to Lord Cobham that an intelligence organization be run by him to ensure the safe running of the Prince’s program, but given the will to demolish it in case the Prince tried to misuse it against the people because the apes weren’t human. When the King died, the Prince had no direct control over the program, referred to secretly as the Black Project. The Apes were defeated when they were captured, but the Black Scepter disappeared again. To reclaim it, Lord Cobham made agreements with Abdul, older son to the former High Sultan of the fallen Arab empire whose younger twin brother was a notorious pirate in the Indian Ocean. This man and his brother were not friends because of s prominent family issues over who would ascend to the throne.
Their father had had more hope in the younger twin because he was more militaristic compared to Abdul who was more interested in Trades with the outside world, especially Europe. Their father planned to transfer the throne to the Alsahim, who was a pirate against the Protectorate prior to the invasion of Wales. Unfortunately Abdul had been behind the success of the invasion fleet; he had planned to grant them his father’s empire if they granted him Zanzibar to rule as the last High Sultan, in trade relations with the world until his old age. He did not get this; he planned revenge but could not face his young brother after murdering their father with his own hand. He was sentenced to the gallows, but given a last chance to life if he handed in the element he used to command the apes. Lord Cobham was clever not to let the Prince know about the Black Scepter. When he handed in the Black Scepter, he was free.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese governance had not given up the slave trade system. It practiced the illegal trade underground against the free natives. Complaints were presented to Lord Cobham, and this time, due to the young King Henry’s ambition to wield more power, influence and resources from the African coast, he arranged an ultimate war against the Portuguese garrisons along the East African coast. Wales did not participate this time because it had been weakened by the recent civil war among the Lords of Wales against the escape of the apes from the industrial region year earlier. King Henry’s forces demolished the Portuguese rule and set up a totally new but more English based protectorate. The Black Project did not cease checking on the Prince’s plans. But when the Pirates captured Lord Cobham on his way back to Europe from Mombasa, the Black Project grows aware of the growing piracy along the Indian Ocean. They were led by an extremist heir to the former Arab Empire, Pirate Alsahim. He had vowed to his life to carry out sea invasion on any English vessel, trade or naval, to weaken the protectorate’s military and connection to the Kingdom. Maybe in the end he would retain the glory of his father and people which his older brother had betrayed a few years ago.
The Black Project with its strange militaristic technological advancements was prepared like never before to guard the Indian ocean against the threat of the growing piracy spearheaded by an heir to the former Arab Empire. But something wasn’t right. The pirates weren’t as stupid as expected and for over seventeen years there was no chance capturing the head pirate and bringing him to justice.
The continental fog pass had become a greater advantage to him and his strangely sailing Pirate ship which was completely made out of an unknown creatures’ bones and inflammable grey scales. At the defeat of the Portuguese slave trade system, the Prince of England had employed his best friend (whom he called brother) also master/head former criminal in the rise of the apes against Wales (this man was meant to be heir to the throne of Wales but had been rejected by the Lords of Wales years earlier. Thrown away in his infant stage at the borders of Wales and England where he was picked by the former King while on a usual hunt. Not knowing where the innocent outcast baby had come from, he took it in and raised it beside his own child. The two children had become inseparable over the years. But this child grew up under the shadows never exposing himself to the outside world for fear of his ugliness).
When the King of Wales died and the regent opened war against the apes, they hated the regent’s dictatorial rule on their industrial goals. They planned to search for the lost Prince, known as Beryony by that time. When he got to know about his birthright, he escaped from England to join the war which would enable him to ascend onto his father’s throne as King of Wales. Unfortunately the war had another enemy in the intelligent apes, illegally released against both Wales and England. When the English heard that Beryony ‘the ugly and deformed’ was master of the war and as heir to the throne of Wales it was believed he may have unleashed the apes’ invasion on England leading to the death of the King. He was hated and he regretted this because he did not intend to hurt England especially not the King who had called him ‘son’ when his family rejected him years ago. Later The Prince understood. He knew his friend’s desire for power, and how hollow and sorrowful his heart was for all that he was and had come through. He decided to give him governance over the coast of East Africa where he would out live his dream.
The Black Project did not trust this step. Prince Henry was cunning and clever. It was clear he planned to use Beryony for greater power in the Coast of Africa. Whatever was in plan, the Black Project was ready to check on this through Mombasa. The only none protectorate town in the coast. It was under the protection of the Black Project because its sultan had not participated in the slave trade immediately after it was outlawed. Mombasa was deemed safe, morally stable and less of a threat though the Prince wished to have total control of it. Piracy would weaken Black Project in several ways. They continued to send out mercenary naval ships to ensure the pirate’s capture. Many of them were never seen again. This happened not once or twice or thrice. But then the youngest ever and best Black Project’s trainee sailed out and captured Smarya, the only daughter to the notorious Indian Ocean ghost-like Pirate. This is where the second volume of The Asc3ndants kicks off from. All I narrated above are flashbacks in the story. All the flashbacks are interlaced together for your better understanding of the story.
Discuss the research you have done into ancient African history, and how much of it was added to The Asc3ndants.
The history has different timings. For example, there is a three kilometer wide longitudinal fog which stretches for miles around all the continents. It’s an ancient boundary between the water territory and the dry land. It was created and maintained by the league of the ancient gods. The fog pass is a lesser teleportation passage around the globe, in a shorter range of time from that we know of in history. In our history its written merchant, trade and slave ships would take around a week’s time or two getting merchandise or slaves across the Indian Ocean to Europe or the Far East. But through this (which I come to refer to as an ancient highway), the time it would normally take traveling to and from any port across the great seas seemed shortened by five times down. It was a dangerous traveling pass because initially, only the water realm’s Elf guardians used it to navigate the borders of their realm for millions of years. They knew it better than mortal man did. The only few who knew how to use it did at their own risk because hundreds of vessels were recorded lost after attempting to use it.
This was the pirate’s best advantage on the Black Project. The slave trade along the East African coast began after the arrival of the Arabs. Though they ruled the coast for a long time according to history, in my story I write less about the rest of their ruling period and focus on what keeps my story moving without breaking the action. To be specific, I never dug deeper into actual historical records surrounding the events of my story. I had the records alive in my head but in story form. The years weren’t so much necessary because my work would partly sound like fantasy occurring in a real world.
What I learned as a child about East African coastal tribes before the coming of the Arabs lingered in my mind. I interplay these historical events to fit the time range and plot of the storyline. The Portuguese came to the East African coast in 1498 but I bring their time of invasion closer to that of England’s invasion on the Arab empire. Children have a greater interest and sensitivity to stories, and their minds would sock up more occurrences in a story told to them compared to the time period when the events actually took place.
I admit history was my second best subject after fine art because it all sounded like a story to me. If you look into this you will understand much of what I wrote just flowed. I didn’t bother checking out many of the events, because I desired to make the action continuous for the reader.
I refer my storyline to certain locations familiar in the historical positioning of the coast of East Africa. I did the same in Winchester. There was no great wall dissecting Winchester in the 1740’s and 1750s, but I created it to fit the story. The rest of the locations are my own creation. The pirate has no reference in the history I’m familiar with. But almost all seas had pirates in those days. They may not have been notorious but I chose to create one. I had to put the fog in somewhere between events. The strange island has never appeared anywhere in historical mappings of the world. Other historical events I referred to were about ancient Greek gods like Zeus, the Viking gods like Odin, the Egyptian god Horus and many others. I came to believe I was going to fit fiction into a real world setting, then I needed gods. They weren’t going to be Zeus, Odin or Horus, I was going to be original and created an ancient league of gods in charge of the five realms of nature. The major gods were Omlen, god of the deep/water realm and guardian of the half immortal Elves. The other major god was Sabir who watched over mortal beasts of the dry land Elf outcasts who became the humans we are today. From these, the birth of events would have a power behind them as many real world mythologies have always assumedly had. The Apenoids were my own complete creation of my own. Tolkien had Orcs and Hobbits in his story. I need several creations in addition to those I adapted from Tolkien. The others will come in the first book.
Name some of the websites where The Asc3ndants can be read online?
The Asc3ndants: Awakening vol. II in its entire compilation has been made available for free on the young writers’ online self-publishing site Wattpad. It has been rated #1 in Fiction and Historical Adventure with 14.1k reads and 12.3k votes. A copyright has been attached to volume 2, part one which comprises the first 33 chapters from the complete volume’s 90 chapters. Part one also managed to obtain a Lulu online publishing just a month ago. It has been emailed to Austin Macaulay Publishers Ltd. They will have it published via their e-book platform but a price tag shall be attached sooner, unlike on Wattpad. The book will be available on other e-book sites, including Amazon Kindle and Smashword. In several months, I’ll have an ‘author’ website to allow my readers easier access, beginning with The Asc3ndants. You can assess the story typing ‘The Asc3ndants, Wattpad’ at Google. The links on Wattpad are available on The Asc3ndants Facebook page. It provides direct links to the complete volume.
How widespread is your readership outside your country? How much feedback have you gotten for your work?
It hasn't been wide enough because I’ve been limited to the self-publishing site I mentioned previously. I found out about it from a friend who was into online e-books. And being that Wattpad was safe and free, she advised me to get it there two years ago. She believed my expectations could be met, so my first reads came from the US. I searched for bigger, more efficient publishing sites. I came across Createspace and Smashwords both of which were among the best options. They had awesome service to offer an author, as many as I wished to publish with them (though connected to Amazon. Unfortunately, I had failed using Amazon earlier than I ever got to know about Smashwords or Lulu. Amazon was more accessible to authors owning Western or European accounts. I was limited to link up my account here in Uganda, I had to have an account outside Africa. It pained me trying to link with those I knew, especially in the US, each day. Somehow I came to believe that as long as I’m in Africa, there would be no chance for The Asc3ndants to get onto Createspace, Smashword as per my expectations. The spread of my book has been limited to Wattpad. I tried several times but still don't get it unless I missed something about the procedure or other means of getting the Asc3ndants out there. I did not want to rush into any online publishing sites because I had a feeling my story was worth protecting. I stayed humble knowing someone out there would discover what I have. And so Facebook friends started requesting me for links to my book. I sent them links to each new chapter. I tried to find authors on Facebook. I met one poet known as Rich Orth who took time to go through my story. He referred me to you and I'm glad to be doing this interview. Each day I live I rise a step higher.
How did you meet Rich Orth on Facebook and how supportive has he been of your work?
Like any young writer struggling with their first story, I thought there was something missing. I read a lot by J.K Rowlings, C.S. Lewis, Percy Jackson, Stephan King and Stephenie Meyers to mention but a few. I was mostly inspired by how Christopher Paolin struggled to get his Eragon story noticed by a good publisher. And how J.K Rowlings had difficulty finding a publisher. I knew writing wasn't going to be an easy task. But I had a dream and was going to achieve it. One thing I learned in life is no one ever does anything alone and gets what they want. If you dream to fly, you don't go around trying to find a boat. You must try to make paper planes, or a pilot to talk to. My dream has always been for film. But there were several miles i had to walk and challenges I had to face. I came prepared to be kicked out or let in. I wanted to fly with what I already worked on. I needed wings but how could I get them? I had my story ready and that one thing was to get it out there! I knew I wasn't the only one going through this struggle but I needed advice on how I could make it. This would mean trying to find it from a few creative writers on the internet. I searched Facebook, Twitter and several other sites and sent friend requests wherever I could. Some requests weren't accepted. But out of ten, three accepted. Rich Orth was one among them. He wasn't doing fiction but he felt how desperate I was after about six years. I was straight that I needed assistance and he was open enough to give me a few tips. He does poetry which I love. He became a better online friend than many others. When he accepted my friend request, I went through his timeline and was able to see how his poetry was faring. I knew that with him I could get somewhere. I had a lot of questions for him, starting with the biggest: I wanted to know the simplest means I could use to get my fiction out to film producers. He advised me that i had to create a wider reader base first. Film is the reason I started writing, but I needed a wider base. I asked him how he made for his poetry popular. He told me I needed to find great bloggers. I did not know how or where to start from. But still I dared to bother him with helping me find anyone he knew. This is how I reached you as an interviewee.
Now that you are active on Facebook and other social media sites, do you intend to contact more bloggers from the US once this interview is completed and posted?
It will only depend on how helpful this may turn out to be. Meanwhile I shall rest for a short while and focus on widening The Asc3ndants Chronicles. I do believe that if Rich Orth calls this zine his first and best one, I’m surely satisfied and hopeful that this will certainly promote The Asc3ndants, Awakening, Volume II and those that will come after. Unless it’s advisable not to relax as yet and get on with contacting other bloggers. But so far, so good. By the end of this interview I shall be more than satisfied for having gotten this far.
Are you currently developing storylines for new novels at the time of this writing? If so, discuss some of them?
A true fiction writer would not stop. I have at least twenty-three plots and ideas scribbled down and locked away in my locker. I’m patiently waiting to get done with The Asc3ndants Chronicles to expand on them into full novels. I don't know how long it would take till I complete the last of them but by the time I have the last of the plots out, I will have gotten newer ideas. At the moment I can't allow any gap to formulate newer ideas until the volumes are done. I will have a completely different story released between each of these volumes. It shall be titled The Untouchables. Prior to the release of volume 3, I'll have a story out titled Beast Code. After that I'll start on expanding the rest of the remaining 21 plots. Volume I is now available on Lulu.