Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Interview with Brent Le Vasseur, author of Aoleon the Martian Girl Series

          Hello, I would like to start this interview with thanks! I really enjoyed being a part of the blog tour on this series and reading all the five books. As a roundup post about all the books and my whole experience hosting the five tours in this series, I would like to put forth a few questions. Thank you for taking time to answer my questions!
1.  Who or what inspired Aoléon?
     Around 2002 I became interested in learning 3D modeling, animation and rendering. As a modeling project, I created the Aoléon character. To give my hobby greater focus, I mapped out a story around the character. In 2005, I created the other main characters and wrote a screenplay for an animated feature movie. At the suggestion of the head of the screen-writing department at Sony Pictures, I turned my screenplay into a novel. Ten years later my illustrated novel was complete.
2.  Did you take any reference from mythology or history for writing this series?
     Most of the Martian character names stem from Greek mythology. Aoléon’s name is a play on the Greek god of the winds “Aeolus” or “Aeolian.” Because Aoléon is a free spirit and loves to fly around in her saucer and on her skyboard, I felt that name was fitting. Bizwat is the only character whose name is not based on Greek mythology.
     Many of the landmarks and astronomical objects on Mars also have Greek names. I also made Greek the spoken Martian language. So when a Martian speaks Martian, they are really speaking Greek. I did that for humorous effect as well as for consistency.
3.  Which character was closest to your heart?
I love all my characters. They are like my children. However, Aoléon is most special to me and closest to my heart. I love that she is benevolent and kind while also being independent and strong. She is also a bit of a trouble-maker and goofy, which makes her fun and adds to her uniqueness.
4.  Why Nebraska? Is there any significance?
    No, not really. Because wheat and cattle feature in my story, Nebraska fit the bill. Also, Kansas had already been used in the Wizard of Oz, and Iowa in Star Trek. On a couple of occasions, I had driven through Nebraska, so it was familiar to me.
5. The book is full of alien scenarios where imagination could conjure up all sorts of new names and places. But why Mars?
Mars has fascinated me for a long time. Although my characters and story are fictional, many of the places I describe on Mars are real. Astronomers and scientists have named places on Mars based on multiple sources such as Greek mythology, the Bible, names of scientists, science fiction writers as well as towns and villages on Earth. Names change as we learn more about the specific features of a place. For example, Nix Olympica (the snows of Olympus) became Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus). And Olympus Mons is featured in my book.
6.  What part of your imagined Martian technology would you like to see on earth?
    Probably the imagined innovation that would most captivate me would be the development of telepathic and telekinetic powers. These phenomena would lead to enormous social, political and economic changes that would transform the world into a very different place from what we see today.
7.  Is there any particular reason why the books are smaller than usual novels?
    Yes. Originally, my book was a 550-page novel with 150 full-color images. My reasons for dividing the book into five parts were based on the needs of my target audience (ages 8 to 13), the difficulties and economics of publishing so many graphics both electronically and in print, and marketing matters.
8.  Who was your target audience when you started writing this book? And how much of a variation do you see in that now? Has the book reached a wider audience?
    Initially, I envisioned this project as an animated movie in the Pixar/Dreamworks genre that would appeal primarily to kids (ages 8 to 13) but also to their parents. However, I was advised by a Sony executive to begin by turning my screenplay into a book. So I transformed my screenplay into the books you see today. Although kids love my books, the people who actually buy books usually are adults. So I have been pleased by the positive responses I have received from teachers, librarians and parents. This is encouraging because my ultimate dream still is to have these books made into an animated film.
9.  Will there be any future books? If yes, could you give us a sneak peek into what those books would be about?
    I am in the process of plotting future adventures with Aoléon, Gilbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot (as well as introducing new characters you have not yet met.) The next books in the series will take place primarily on Earth (not Mars) and will involve Gilbert at his school, his evolving psionic power, and time travel.
10.     Could you elaborate a bit more on the beautiful illustrations in the book? I really enjoyed them and they were a very valuable addition to the book!
    Thank you for the compliment! One of the reasons it took me so long to write the book was because I had to teach myself 3D modeling, rendering and animation. Every character, piece of clothing, building, vehicle, prop and scenery had to be conceptualized, modeled and textured. The process required a tremendous amount of time-consuming detailed work. However, given the positive reaction of most people, it was worth it.
11.     A little about yourself that is not in your author’s bio?
I have an entrepreneurial and marketing background. This is my first attempt at writing and publishing a fictional novel/series.
12.     (With many thanks) what brought about the idea of offering gift cards to bloggers?
    This was Laura Fabiani’s idea as part of her book tour. I can’t take any credit for that. Laura has been extremely helpful with ideas for promoting my books.
Now for a few quick fire questions.
    Are you a voracious reader?
    Yes! I constantly read and enjoy books. Lately, however, I haven’t had much time to read new books because I have been focused on publishing and promoting my own books.
    Your favorite authors?
I have many depending on the genre. Probably my most important books are the Bible and George Orwell’s 1984. Those two top my list of essential reading.
    A book that you have read more than once?
Most books that I end up reading more than once are reference books on marketing or business or some kind of non-fiction related to my work or hobbies. I typically read fiction books only once.
    Are you a fan of series books? If so, which?
    I am a fan of the Silo Saga by Hugh Howey and learned a great deal from his approach to self-publishing.
    Your literary inspiration?
    Like many authors, I pull my inspiration from my own life and personal experiences. I modeled the graphic of Gilbert after a picture of me as a kid wearing a cowboy hat. Both Gilbert and I are very interested in astronomy and space travel.
    Which is your most preferred writing environment?
    I frequently jump between writing and modeling characters, buildings, or props, or rendering an image. When I am actually writing or creating a new character or rendering an image, I am typically sitting in front of my computer workstation in my home office. Having said that, my office is not my preferred writing environment. I would much rather be on a beach somewhere, a mountain side, or some place more interesting. I’m sure most people who have to work in an office feel the same way. Maybe in the future with the advent of a synaptic interface, my creative process won’t be limited to where my computer physically sits.

What is your most favorite hobby? (From the list you have mentioned?)
Composing music is still my favorite hobby. Beyond music, I love doing anything that involves using my creativity.

About the author:
Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

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