Wednesday, July 22, 2009

T'Aragam Tour: Interview with Jack W. Regan

Today I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jack W. Regan's T'Aragam, bringing to you an interview with the author himself! You might recall that I rated T'Aragam 5 stars and it was my top pick for June, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of this book tour when I first heard about it...


Welcome to Melissa's Bookshelf, Jack! When did you know that you wanted to write a juvenile fantasy novel? Can you tell us a little about your background to becoming a published author?

I work part time at a public library and, as such, handle more books in a day than many people do in a lifetime. It soon became clear to me that there was a gap in the reading material we were offering to our patrons. There are a ton of YA fantasy books out there and some for younger kids,
but there wasn’t so much out there for readers who weren’t quite ready or interested in the YA stuff, but growing out of the younger set. I wrote “T’Aragam” in part to fill that gap.

I’ve always had a love for books and have been writing since I was about twelve. At the behest of my mom, I entered a national essay contest at sixteen and won second place. I wrote and edited the high school newsletter, edited my college newspaper, and once out of college, began an online review service, all this time working on my writing: short stories, etc. I stopped doing reviews in 2004 to focus all my attention on writing. “T’Aragam” is a product of a lot of false starts, failures, long days, and late nights. But then again, that’s kind of what a writer should expect.

Where did you find the inspiration for T'aragam?

While the original seed of the idea just occurred to me one day, most of “T’Aragam” was created through blood, sweat, and tears. It would probably be more accurate to say that I went and found the inspiration, rather than it finding me. And I did this by putting the rest of my life on hold for the duration and just sitting at my computer, knowing I couldn’t leave until I completed my word goal for the day. And more often than not, by the time I reached the word goal, I was into the story and just kept going.

Do you have a favorite character in T'aragam? One that you find you relate to more?

Well, it almost seems like heresy to choose a favorite, but I guess I’d have to pick the main character, Max. While the other characters each have some characteristic I love (or love to hate), he’s the all-around best. Likable, smart, brave, and yet also supremely human. He has limitations and faults, just like the rest of us. He seems most real to me.

Do you have a favorite scene or quote from T'aragam that you can share with us?

My favorite quote is from the monster, Gloom, when he sees Max for the first time. “A child! You know I can’t stomach children!” To which Gramkin replies, “You don’t have to stomach him. He’s not dinner…this is Lord Ransome’s son!” I love silly humor like that.

My favorite scene is probably the sea battle between Captain Baggywrinkle and the ship from Grendale.

What about your own reading? (This is of course, assuming you still have time to!) Who are your favorite authors? Any books you find yourself re-reading? How (if at all) did they play a part in your own path to becoming a writer?

My all-time favorite author is Mark Twain. His sharp, often sarcastic humor is timeless. But most of the books I read are non-fiction. I read a lot of history and biographies. And I don’t usually re-read books, simply because I know I don’t have the time to read all the books on my list even once!

I think any book a writer reads affects their writing in some way. In fact, the best way to learn to write (besides actually writing, of course) is by reading good books. You absorb a sense of rhythm, sentence structure, and vocabulary.

And I imagine many others want to know... What's next for the world of T'aragam? When can we expect to see the story continued?

Hmmm. Trying to think what to say without giving anything away. Let’s just say that the ending of “T’Aragam” leaves several options open. Most of the same characters will return in some capacity, but there may be a few surprises thrown in along the way. The world of T’Aragam is, of course, still in grave danger and Max’s job is far from over.

The second book in the Max Ransome Chronicles will be titled, “Kingdom Heir” and is scheduled to release on December 1, 2009.


Thank you again, Jack, for taking time out to answer some questions for Melissa's Bookshelf! That's exciting news that Kingdom Heir is due out at the end of the year, I know I look forward to reading it!!


  1. My family and I listened to the audio version of T'Aragam on our road trip, mostly due to your wholehearted recommendation when you reviewed it. Thanks for that, and for the interesting interview with the author!

  2. I loved his favourite quote from the book about not eating children!

  3. Good insight on your favorite quotation and scene. I liked them too.

    I also think your point about learning the craft through reading is important. Why? Well, when I write, at least 50 percent of my brain is, "thinking like a reader." So, developing good, critical reading skills is helpful in writing.

    Best regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  4. Melissa: Thanks for posting this and making it look so great!

    Ali: I'm glad you gave the audio a chance! I hope you all enjoyed it.

    Scrap girl: LOL! It doesn't take a lot to amuse me, so I'm glad you enjoyed it, too, just for the support! :0) There's quite a bit of that silly stuff in the book.

    Galen: Thinking like a reader can be tough, sometimes. At least for me. Especially when the "writer" takes over and starts trying to be all...literary.

  5. Great interview! I'm now going to do some more research about this book...

  6. Love the interview. And the quote. Just my sort of humor.


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