Leif Grundstrom-Whitney is the proud co-author of the epical satire The Hidden Chalice of the Cloud People; the wicked and witty character known as Facinorous contained therein is a product of his multifarious mind. He has been published in several obscure poetry journals (hold your applause). To say that he is an edacious reader would be an understatement worthy of Hemingway. If he had a spirit animal, it would probably be a raven who knows how to play a Hammond B-3 organ.
Jason Grundstrom-Whitney has been a Social Worker and Substance Abuse Counselor in the State of Maine for many years. In this time, he has introduced meditation (tai-chi, qigong, yoga, and meditation) groups to teens when told he would fail. This was one of the most successful and long lasting groups. He developed a Civil Rights/Peer Helper course that won state and national awards (for High School) and has worked as a civil rights activist. He has also worked as a long term care social worker and now works as a Hospice Medical Social Worker. Jason is a poet, writer, and musician playing bass, harmonica and various wind instruments. Lover of all styles of music he has played classical, jazz, rock, funk, country, blues, and rap. He is very excited to play bass with his brother’s band and his son’s. He is very proud to have co-authored The Hidden Chalice of the Cloud People with his son Leif.
Book description: The Hidden Chalice of the Cloud People is a young adult fantasy comedy novel written by a father and son writing duo for an intelligent general audience. It is the first book in an upcoming tetralogy. It is a darkly humorous, fast-paced, action-packed celebratory unification of the world’s rich cultural lore through the lens of an inventive fantasy concept that stands both as an occasionally subversive satire that satirizes the YA genre and an anachronistic experiment on the fusion of storyline narratives (differing stylistically and compositionally).
When Tommy Dana is abducted into a fantastical realm called Lethia, where the worthy stories of humanity are granted a physical reality, the social media-averse thirteen year old must plunge through a multi-varied meta-fictional adventure in order to save his, and the entire human world’s, imagination from falling into the thieving clutches of the witty supernatural villain Facinorous.
Welcome to BloggerNews, Leif and Jason! Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about your writing background?
We have both written throughout our lives. Poetry, short stories, tales, etc., have always been part of the fabric of our family. To be quite frank, we can’t imagine a day that would be possible without writing. Like breathing, eating, brushing your teeth, writing is good hygiene for the creative soul.
The choice of obeying the creative whim of the imagination or ambling down a certain line of thought that leads to words scribbled on paper fills our hearts with one of their greatest pleasures. Traversing the grandeur of the mind whilst admiring and luxuriating in the beauty and bewitching splendor of the ethereal regions of the Muse connects our spirits to the transcendent and the sublime in a manner similar to that which is described exquisitely by Wordsworth in his genius epical epopee The Prelude. When that creative sensation of mental exploration rolls through our minds, we feel jubilant and carefree and profound. The whole experience of writing enriches our souls; drowning our thoughts in joy and inspiration.
What more is there that we can tell? The blood of Orpheus polluted our ancestors’ generational well.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
From carefully crafted outlines an aureate rivulet of prose and imaginative writing sprang! Okay, maybe a turbid brook of modestly clever prose is more accurate.
Did your book require a lot of research?
A considerable amount of research was done on the fables and folklore of the host of different cultures that would eventually inspire the formation of the numerous story worlds that populate the book. All of this study and examination and somewhat scholarly exploration took place during the beginning of the writing process.
What was your goal when writing this book?
Our primary goal was to introduce some much needed reasonably thoughtful satire and inspired zaniness into a Young Adult genre that has grown rather grim and dystopian of late.
Who is your target audience?
Our intended readership ranges from ages twelve through one hundred and five and perhaps beyond; an intelligent, perhaps erudite general audience that enjoys cleverly crafted storylines and rollicking adventure and are not afraid to get acquainted with words to which they may not be accustomed.
Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
The simple act of peregrinating along the rolling grandeur of the Northeast landscapes, whether beaming with brightness and warmth or caught in a brumal trance, drowns our minds in the afflatus necessary to generate ideas of a literary nature. Like the romantics, our creativity is tied in some inscrutable way to the visual glory and spiritual majesty of the splendor of creation.
Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?
She is an evasive entity fond of ambuscades but there’s also a distinct sense that she enjoys the company she keeps. How is she placated? An offer to cater a luxurious bacchanal atop the lofty heights of Mount Parnassus usually suffices.
Describe your working environment.
Imagine a dank dungeon suffocated by darkness and festering in fetid dampness whose sole embellishment is a rusty iron cage suspended from the ceiling in which a defective typewriter has been cast and you will have pictured a place greatly dissimilar to our working environment. Seriously though, the working environment is a spacious, wide open living room with a charming view of forest and fields and hills punctuated by an heirloom table on which the proper and functional writing equipment is placed.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
With the same sort of vicious ferocity that a raccoon demonstrates when cornered. We respond with a savagery unmatched in the realm of human affairs! However, having said that, it should be mentioned that we take any criticism that is honest, authentic (i.e. based on a thorough understanding of the material), and constructive into serious consideration.
As a writer, what scares you the most?
The prospect of losing either the ability or the motivation to write fills our hearts with the most affright.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
The former is more accurate as the bulk of our writing is done either in the morning or the early afternoon.
What is(are) your favorite book/author(s)? Why?
The favorite author would have to be William Shakespeare and his Complete Works, the favorite books. What more about the Bard can be said that hasn’t been said already? Throughout the centuries what soaring laudation hasn’t been heaped on his unmatchable genius and tremendous literary achievements? We join a very long and distinguished line in our rather ecstatic recognition of his greatness. Nothing leaves us stranded in the enraptured glory of awe quite like the profound sagacity, astonishing aesthetic resplendence, bold imaginative otherness and mystifying cognitive puissance of his work.
Good luck, however, to those poor souls who yearn to learn more about us! That information is suspiciously limited.
As an author, what is your greatest reward?
An author’s greatest reward, if we may speak broadly, is silencing the howls of the dogged creative Daemon, the spirit of the insistent need for artistic expression, which resides in the deepest secrecies of our inwardness.