The DMS was lucky enough to interview Gregory Slomba, author of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, which we reviewed last week. To read the review click here.
1) What inspired you to write The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel?
I’ve always wanted to write a book. I remember when I was 12 I received a sweatshirt for Christmas the said “I’d rather be writing my novel”. I’d written a bunch of short stories, but I never thought I’d be able to write a whole book. Then, when I was working as an editor for a trade magazine, I got the nerve up to take a shot at it. My inspiration was my son, Christian. When he was born I decided to write a book for him. It took me a long time, but I finally finished it and published it.
2) How long did it take you to write the book?
It took me about six years of writing, rewriting and editing. Then it sat around for a couple of years while I made halfhearted attempts to get it published. In 2010, I published it as an ebook. Then, I published it as a paperback at the end of 2011. So, it’s been a strange, roundabout journey. It all worked out, though. It got published just when my son was the right age to enjoy it.
3) What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
I loved anything by Mark Twain when I was little. Where the Wild Things Are may have been my first fantasy-type book that I enjoyed. It certainly set in motion the idea of a child going to another world. The Chronicles of Narnia cemented that idea in my head. I also enjoyed Mrs. Pigglewiggle and Encyclopedia Brown. Anything by E.B. White. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings capped it all off.
I was also big into historical fiction, mainly about the American Revolution: April Morning, Johnny Tremain, and My Brother Sam Is Dead. That last book has a special place in my heart. It was loosely based on events that happened near where I grew up and the authors, Christopher and James Lincoln Collier were local as well. I remember that Christopher Collier came and spoke to our second grade class. I brought my copy of the book and he autographed it for me. I still have it. I keep that in mind whenever I meet a child who’s read my book. You never know how much of an affect you’ll have on them.
So, authors who have inspired me would be Mark Twain, Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, Christopher Collier, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. A long list, but all had an impact on me.
4) If you could be any character from your book, who would you be and why?
I think I’d like to be Eric. He’s a lot like me. But beyond that, he gets to do the things that I’d like to do—go to another world and go on an adventure with a few good friends. It’s something I’d pretend to do on warm summer nights when I was Eric’s age. Lucky duck, he actually gets to do it!
5) Where did you come up with the vision for Calendria?
The vision for Calendria came from two places: Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, and Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. I’ve been going to both these places since I was little, and it seems that every time I go, I step into the past. It feeds my “what would it be like to live in a different place and/or time” cravings.
The idea for the actual topographical layout of the village comes from a view I have of Candlewood Lake near my house. I saw it when I hiked to the top of a hill overlooking the lake. I looked down, and there was the bay of Calendria.
6) What is your favorite song?
My musical tastes are all over the place. I don’t know if I can pin down one favorite song. I’ll give you a couple: Life is a Long Song by Jethro Tull, and If I Had a $1,000,000 by the Barenaked Ladies.
7) If you could live anywhere on earth, where would you choose?
I’d love to live on the coast of Maine. You’ve got the sea and the mountains close by. Best of both worlds.
8) Where can we purchase a copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel?
If you would like to learn more about Gregory Slomba and his writing here are some helpful links: