Donna Sundblad, author of The Inheritance, agreed to answer some questions for me. With her permission, I share her answers with you. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Who is the intended audience of The Inheritance? Did you write it with young people in mind?
Readers of all ages will relate to the young protagonist's struggle with an emptiness that swallows the temporary pleasures in life. We've all been there. It prompts Jejune to search for something more. The literal and symbolic nature of this book satisfies on two levels. While it is written to generate interest within the Christian fantasy market, the story will entertain anyone who enjoys adventure/fantasy, and it will resonate with those looking for the truth.
What inspired you to write this Christian fantasy book?
Today, society endeavors to define right from wrong with a shifting gauge. Political jargon such as "tolerance," "inclusive," and "progressive" continue to dilute this country's belief in God's standard. The Inheritance is an entertaining yet thought provoking book that does not tell the reader what to think, but stimulates one to question why they believe what they hold to be true as they follow the protagonist on his quest for the Eternal City.
As an adult, I questioned conflicting religious practices. They couldn't all be right. My love of such classics as Pilgrim's Progress and Hinds' Feet on High Places inspired me to write this quest for truth in similar allegorical fashion tailored to fit a more modern fantasy/adventure format.
When did you begin writing this book?
I started writing this book in 2005. In 2006, I lived in Florida and experienced that rash of hurricanes that occurred weekly. When we had to evacuate, I brought my Bible, and my laptop which contained my manuscript.
Did you have to do any research while writing? If so, what kind and how much?
I've never written a book that doesn't take research. For example, I remember talking to an avid outdoorsman about how to start a fire with a flint. For those who have read the book, that was about the time Jejune traveled into the Valley of Shadow and makes camp on the beach.
Because so much of this story happens in caves and caverns, I also had to do some study on that.
Along with the normal research, finding the right names took a lot of research, too.
The symbolism in the book is amazing. How long did it take you to come up with the names for each of the characters? What about the names of the places that Jejune visits?
The names play an important part in the story and they evolved with the story. In fact, Jejune started out with the name Bother because he was bothered by the emptiness within him, but as the story developed I wanted a name that could work for the entire story. Jejune means incomplete, and even when he becomes a light bearer he is a growing character so that name worked much better.
Most of the names of towns, villages and other places came fairly easily. The tough one was Syncretism. I kept looking for a word that would work for a place that housed a number of ideologies and beliefs under one roof. One night at Bible Study I learned about syncretism and I knew it was the perfect word choice.
The only name I couldn't find a meaning for was Wigglewot. Why is this? Why did you choose this name for Jejune's animal companion?
That's a good question. Wot is the 3rd person singular of Wit which means to know. Wigglewot knew what to do, but often allowed circumstances to sway his thinking. Thus he became Wiggle Wot which I decided to blend into one word. He's a good example of those of us who know the right thing to do, but think we have a little wiggle room in choosing right from wrong.