Tuesday, May 2, 2023
#AuthorInterview with Annemarie Mazotti Gouveia, author of Drifters Realm
Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Annemarie Mazotti Gouveia, author of Drifters Realm.
FQ: How has your world traveling affected your sense of personal adventure, and contributed to the creation of Drifters Realm?
GOUVEIA: Traveling has opened up opportunities for unexpected adventures I would not have had otherwise. Living in Washington, Germany, and Kansas gave me chances to explore new places, fostering a spirit of adventure within me. Beyond that, I’ve always been fascinated by maps, making it imperative that Drifters Realm have at the heart of its story a map. I wouldn’t consider myself a world traveler, but the time I spent living outside California, traveling through Europe, the Midwest, the Northwest, with trips to Massachusetts, Illinois, Idaho, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, taught me one thing: everyone loves a good adventure story, and having a map certainly helps in finding your way.
FQ: Having read your biography, I kept thinking that your protagonist, Roe, shares a lot of traits with you. So I have to ask, how much of Roe is really you?
GOUVEIA: I’m incredibly flattered and humbled you think I share traits with Roe because of who she is and the amazing things she is capable of doing. One thing Roe and I do have in common is the fierce way we love who we love. Honestly, I see myself in all the main characters, except for Quinlan. There are traits of me in Theo – the brave, protective brother; in Tora – the explosive, strong, and yet vulnerable daughter; and in Ori – the slightly reckless, determined brother who is searching for his inner hero.
FQ: Drifters Realm is essentially a hopeful story despite its ominous sense of widespread danger - showing how friends and family can band together to help one another. Is that a theme that you plan to promote throughout the series?
GOUVEIA: Absolutely. There are more adventures, twists and turns, secrets, danger, and beacons of bright golden light ahead as the story unfolds. And through it all, the theme of Drifters Realm will continue to be a story of hope, family and friendship, and overcoming adversity.
FQ: Do you think that young readers will naturally “catch on” to the idea of an overbearing, oppressive regime and the ways it might be overthrown?
GOUVEIA: I hope young and old readers alike will imagine clever ways Roe, Theo, Ori, and the others might use their backpack powers not to take over Drifters Realm, but to restore the peace and harmony they were meant to share living there, despite the grandiose plans Ori may secretly have for himself by the end of the first book. The story is as much about how Roe, Theo, Ori, and the others unite to stop the destruction of their peaceful existence by solving the prophecy, as it is about understanding why these events are happening, the latter of which is the focus of the second book.
FQ: What fantasy writers/works especially influenced you in your exploration of this medium in your own writing?
GOUVEIA: I love stories with magical elements set in strange, faraway places in different time periods where the unexpected is possible and adventure lurks around every corner. J.K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, Victoria Aveyard, C. S. Lewis, and Luanne G. Smith are some of my favorite authors, but the list of works that influence my writing is constantly changing as I read new authors and new books.
FQ: Do you have a favorite episode in this gripping story or one that was particularly fun (or challenging!) to write?
GOUVEIA: The last chapter, especially the battle and tunnel scenes, as well as the book’s final few paragraphs, were fun to write knowing what awaits Roe, Theo, Ori, and Tora in the next two books. Leaving cliffhangers felt slightly mischievous on my part. My small group of reading helpers who’ve been following the story as it unfolds are extremely curious about what’s coming next in the second and third books. They have no idea what’s in store which made it fun for me in ending the first book the way that I did. It’s all about the element of surprise, falling into the pages, and letting the story take you where it must go.
FQ: Is there, in your opinion, an actual historical parallel for the events in this saga?
GOUVEIA: No, not that I am aware of at least. This story is purely a work of fiction. The idea came to me years ago watching my kids lug around their backpacks, making their way to school, or to a friend’s house. The idea of teenagers living together and having exciting adventures in faraway places has always fascinated me. Throw in a map, because no journey is complete without one, add a few twists and turns, and stir in characters you can relate to, heroes and villains alike, and voila, Drifters Realm was born.
FQ: Have you plotted and begun writing the next portion of the series? If so, would you give our readers a little peek into what happens next?
GOUVEIA: The second book is nearly finished. In the second book, pieces of the prophecy become clear, and at the same time, a mystery unfolds involving the discovery of the Shadow Stone, the Mirror Tree, and the Ghost of Ruin trapped in an underground library! These new findings are key to understanding why the events in Drifters Realm are happening, and hold the answers Roe, Theo, Ori, and the others need to restore peace and harmony to Drifters Realm!
FQ: In your biography, you mention that you grew up with a library card in your pocket - that must be a great memory. But with reading abilities with today’s children dropping, do you wish more of today’s children could experience the joy of having a library card rather than read on their iPads or phones?
GOUVEIA: Yes, the joy of having a library card in my pocket and the ability to check out and read books from a library as a child impacted my life significantly. My own children in the 1990s read comic books, library books, sports magazines, and eventually online. Given how much the world has changed since then, it seems more important than ever to focus on getting children to read, but less important on how they read. All that being said, for me, there is nothing like the smell of ink on paper, feeling the weight of a book in my hands, and turning the pages to see what happens next.
FQ: Your biography also says that you mentor women through WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. Would you tell our readers a bit about this organization and where they can learn more?
GOUVEIA: I’m hugely honored to participate as a volunteer mentoring and coaching groups of women in their year-long leadership journey working with WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. It’s such a rewarding experience helping these women hone their strengths as leaders, build confidence in themselves to overcome obstacles, and to help prepare them for future challenges in their careers. WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. develops hi-potential leaders globally through their various leadership programs. To learn more about WOMEN Unlimited, Inc, please visit: www.women-unlimited.com/