Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thinking About Trees

A couple of years ago we took an extended Thanksgiving holiday and drove from San Francisco to Portland and throughout western Oregon. The impressions from that trip made it into Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, which is set along parts of the Columbia River we found so fascinating. Next week we are picking up from where we left off. We’re flying to Portland and plan to take the long way to Seattle by circling around Mt. Rainier. We wouldn’t be surprised if this new scenery makes it into the Bobbie Titan sequel.

It’s not just the people and how they live in that part of the world that is so absorbing. It’s also the trees. While there are almost as many trees in Oregon now as there was at the time of Lewis and Clark, most of these are in managed tree plantations. But there are still almost 3 million acres of ancient forests in the state and when you walk through any of these magnificent groves, even if it is along a paved path next to a highway, the majestic feelings you get from these unimaginably old living creatures is undeniable.

We want to capture the spirit of the trees like these into a story. Before we wrote about kids with super powers we wrote a fantasy adventure with kids and dragons. In that story the trees come to life and play an intrinsic part in resolving the conflict. The story was too long for a typical young adult novel and spent too much time world building. Still, we are anxious to get back to it and see what we can do to make the ideas of heroic kids in an imaginative world come alive for young readers. And we want to give voice to the tree, ancient beings who see the world not second-to-second but decade-by-decade. We’re hoping our vacation to the Great Northwest will inspire us to revisit the forests of our imagination so we can reclaim a story worth telling.

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