Friday, April 27, 2012

A Prequel to Papa Bois: ESCAPE FROM SILK COTTON FOREST


The author's animated readings score big with avid fans.
Book ISBN: 9781405099004
 ESCAPE FROM SILK COTTON FOREST - Francis Escayg
"Now that's what I call great writing; but don't take my word for it, read the book and see for yourself." Cherian Gordon, Caribbean Compass


Series Editor's Q & A with the author:

JJ: I call it a prequel to Papa Bois although its a bit of a "spolier" to what comes in the end, but I do this because I feel so strongly that it's a good thing for Caribbean people to make that  connection. Did you set out to write how Papa Bois came into existence or did it evolve into that?

FE: It certainly did evolve into that. And the “spoiler” I think piques the curiosity because many people never thought of this character as having to grow into or to earn the title Papa Bois. It was just accepted that He has always been there, one with everything from the beginning of time.

JJ: The Lorax, a Dr. Seuss creation, is making a comeback through an animated film. It is frustrating knowing that we have and can create West Indian content with similar themes. The Island Fiction series is intentionally cinematic in style and I know you are also writing screen plays, are there any plans to manifest the realm of Goans through  film/ animation?

FE: Actually, it was my first intention to go that route but the cost of producing a film with the epic scale of Lord of The Rings was and still is prohibitive. When I answered the call for submissions and my story was accepted, that was the first alternative step to positioning the work for a future production. So yes, I do have plans to manifest the Goans through film/animation.

JJ: The re-writing process after submission can be quite intensive. I know there were a couple parts of your story that in hindsight slipped through the cracks so to speak. Please take this opportunity to address the elements that didn't get sorted to your satisfaction or that were incorrect based on your original script.

FE: The Goans are my creation. They are half man, half goat and in the Kingdom of Ierie they are the ruling specie. They own the Monarchy that is the Kingdom of Ierie. They were not represented on the cover of the book and in the text they are portrayed as having one horn when it’s supposed to be two. Those are very important details. I also wanted to include illustrations of the various species and characters for two very important reasons. One is that for those of us being introduced to those names for the first time, there will be a reference in the book. The other reason is that our Caribbean people will be familiar with some of the species in a folklore context, but I was going to introduce these characters in a brand new way that I believed would have given new life and created new and more vibrant connections with the target audience. Essentially, it would have extended the experience through merchandising and branding.

JJ: Based on your experience of the re-writing / editing process we went through, were there any specific "Aha"s that improved your story or work as a writer? 

FE Answer:
I truly enjoyed the re-writing/editing process with you. I felt motivated to pursue excellence with every draft, based on your patient approach and informed critiques. The one that stuck in my mind and transformed my approach was when you sent me an email with an analysis of my personality type and how that influenced my approach to writing. It was bang on. My characters live inside my head and I am not always aware that they are not fully formed on paper, so my readers will have a hard time really understanding who they are. I still struggle with that, but now I am aware of it and every time I create a piece of work, you come to me, like Rhe, ( in the book).
JJ:  As an independent, cultural creative crafting work through music, words and film, what motivates you?

FE: I operated in the realm of music almost exclusively, for most of my life. When I ventured into screen writing and filmmaking I began to see the world with different eyes and that forever changed things. I didn’t think about writing a book. It always came to me as something I would do later in life. The thing is I love all of these mediums of expression and as they swirl around inside me like La Diablesse’s powerful magic, they bring me to my truth and part of that truth is that I want to matter in the scheme of things.

JJ:  The awesome thing about books in print, is that we will never know where they will end up. A single copy may survive centuries and pass from hand to hand, heart to heart, in the way that more disposable media, even e-books, cannot/ may not. What is the legacy of Silk Cotton Forest and the array of characters you have created?

FE : Change, and to dismantle the status quo.

Synopsis:
Under King Zar's sincere but timid rule, the Kingdom of Ierie is rife with corruption, on the brink of another war and in need of a true leader. Domino, a rebellious, young Goan who seeks to avenge his mother's death, stumbles into the role of Hero only to find an even greater destiny awaits him. With best friend Peenut, a sly mongoose, Domino must leave behind the fun and festive teen spirit of Market Square in the heart of the El Tuchuce Forest. But dodging Lagahoos, outwitting Soucouyants and slaying giant Moongazers in his quest for emancipation from the bewitching power of La Diablesse and her dark reign over The Silk Cotton Forest, leads Domino to love and his life's true purpose.

About the author
Francis Escayg is a songwriter, composer, music producer, screenwriter, filmmaker and now novelist. He has four #1 hits in to his credit: "Sweetest Thing" (Denyse Plummer), "Mornin’ Lovin’" and "White Horse" (Fireflight), and "Meet Me On Level 2" (RF-JAM).  His first feature film, "The Ghost of Hing King Estate", inspired by events in Trinidad in 1971, was released in Trinidad in 2007 and more recently his short film Radica as the finale in the Dark Tales from Paradise compilation. Francis writes from a desire to enrich lives; to right the world and make it better for other children than it was for him growing up in the Oilfields of Fyzabad in the South of Trinidad.