I thought I might briefly give a few personal thoughts toward the book and perhaps explain in a little more depth some of the symbolism behind the characters and some of the events that transpire. First and foremost, I set out to make a rousing adventure tale. Something that swept the globe that involved the things I was most interested in, gigantic monsters, beautiful women as the protagonist and cool technology. I very much wanted a female lead that followed the “hero’s journey.”
This had to be an approachable tale, something recognizable and not too abstract, and above all, exciting. I purposefully avoided graphic descriptions of violence or sexual content in scenes as well as adult language. Not that I am some sort of prude, but that I think it automatically limits the audience and takes away readership that might otherwise find the tale enjoyable. I also envisioned this to be something like a classic serial or western from the 20’s or 30’s, or perhaps something more relatable now like Indiana Jones or Star Wars. This is an action and adventure tale without all the baggage that comes with adulthood.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t adult situations that occur in this book. My political beliefs certainly snaked their way into the story a great deal. My thoughts on world ‘rulers’ as it were, changed significantly since 9/11. I realized the world is manipulated through deceit, subterfuge, and outright lies. And it is through this manipulation that regimes are able to strangle the very public they are sworn to protect. It is through this basic premise that I developed the stories main antagonist, Buul. Whose name in itself is a play on the false god of the Bible, Baal.
I designed the main characters to be symbolic archetypes that would be comparative to the transition into adulthood. Let me explain. The main character, Jasper, through her character arch, was designed to represent the loss of selfishness or selfishness into selflessness. “She”, her ego, had to be minimized and her thoughts towards those around her had to expand in importance over the course of the story. She had to realize that she was not the center of the universe, which is something young adults and children all believe of themselves. It was her own perception of the world that bound her more than the chains around her waist.
Ron was characterized by the loss of innocence that comes from the separation from your parents. If you noticed, I immediately isolated him inside that machine, trapping him from full contact with other adults. It is that loneliness, that feeling of finally being by yourself in a wide, expansive and even dangerous world that you only truly feel for the first time when you move away from your parents that I wanted to encapsulate with Ron. Though he is still a child, he is trapped, both literally and figuratively. He wants to go on these adventures but he still wants his mother too. It is through his bravery and sacrifice in the end that truly frees his spirit and is I believe the purest hero of the story.
Vork is symbolically that inner struggle of peace vs aggression that young adults, typically boys, go through. The rage that young men sometimes struggle with, many times unsuccessfully, even though they themselves aren’t generally hateful people. I intentionally paired him with Jasper, literally chaining an outwardly raging beast with an inward gentle spirit to a whiney brat as to both contrast and highlight the war within.
Terrance was the archetype of sexuality and romance, the dangerous rascal that women swoon over. He was a brash, raging hormone of lust and desire that was forced to see beyond outward appearances and actually care for the inner being of someone dear to him.
Buul was the opposite side of the coin to Jasper. He was characterized by self and pride just as she was, but it was his reaction of jealously and superiority and ultimately revenge that contrasted her desire for justice. He is the Yin to her Yang. Male and female, brother and sister, one carrying the sun around her neck, the other empowered by the spirit of the moon, one is light, the other is darkness. One is fighting to rule under wholesome, family oriented motives of love and peace. The other is fighting for dominate, empowered, ruthless control over his subjects.
You also might have noticed how I incorporated binding, withholding, chaining or imprisoning people throughout the book. Jasper is chained to Vork, Ron is trapped inside his machine, Buul is withheld by his own crippled body to that wheelchair, Yerrol inside the egg, Shath to the moon, etc. While I have to admit much of this happened subconsciously on my part I do feel that this feeling of entrapment goes hand in hand with the teenage angst and the difficulties of transitioning into adulthood that I was symbolically incorporating.
Finally, no book is complete without a little political commentary. And while I purposefully tried to keep the preaching down, I did pepper the book with a few observations and similarities to our own world. This book compares thoughts on the “new” ways vs. the traditional and examines thoughts on the ruling class and what it means to be a leader.
I included situations that I have witnessed in society today such as a “false flag” attack where the population is lied to about an attack by another country in order to rally them to war. There is also a highly advanced society where their leaders distract the population from their financial troubles with violent games and entertainment at the arena. Also, I included a great divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” which caused turmoil, distrust, and political upheaval. And finally machines of war that are powered by technology that actually poisons the operator and those around them. It is this “new world order” that I am commenting on lightly and suggestively but that is absolutely apparent in the writing and which I am planning on continuing further in the sequel.
So all of that is buried within a book filled with airship races, attacks by giant mechanized war machines, huge beasts from the sea, shipwrecks on deserted islands, motorcycle races through the underground desert tunnels, train rides, coliseum battles against giant crocodiles, time travel, clock-tower witches and beautiful women, huge birds going to war against more machines and shadow spirits of the undead, all wrapped up with steam punk styling and high adventure. Whew!
Thanks for reading and let’s GO ADVENTURING sometime!
The Kingdom of Vosh: The Chained Princess by Jason C. Conley is now available! Hardcover, Paperback, or digital.
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Book Synopsis: Secrets have been formed in the dark corners of the kingdom. Change is in the air and whispers of new ideas and technologies have swept the land. Unfortunately, the King is old and simple and his daughter is concerned only with worldly possessions. A man by the name of Buul, a man long forgotten, has returned to pay a visit to the King on the King’s birthday. He has not come empty handed and will be the King’s undoing.
The King, in moments of panic and war, can trust no one with the protection of his daughter. He quickly decides to entrust her life with a creature most vile and uncommon and chains her to a Vork. He does not leave her empty handed though. His last gift to the Princess is an amulet with powers even he does not comprehend. The land’s only chance, the only one loyal to the King’s memory, is the daughter that cares nothing of the Kingdom of Vosh.