Rick Just - An Exciting Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy
Rick Just grew up on a ranch along the Blackfoot River in Idaho. He writes fiction and non-fiction. His YA books include the Wizard’s Trilogy, and Ghost Writer. His adult novels are Keeping Private Idaho and Anjel. He has written several books on Idaho history, the latest of which is a history of Idaho’s state parks. Rick publishes a daily history blog called Speaking of Idaho and writes a regular history column for the Idaho Press. He serves as director of Writers at Harriman, a summer writing camp for gifted high school students. As our Author of the Day, he tells us about his book, Wizard Chase.
Please give us a short introduction to what Wizard Chase is about.
Until he was 13, Gerrald did not know there was a planet called Kimyra. He had not met a walacatoon, a scraler or even a ribek. Then one day he went after a cat in a cave and his life changed forever. The skinny kid was suddenly the leader of alien trekkers on a quest to steal the eyes of a dragon. Had he signed up for this? There were too many weird things to count. The top of the weird list was that everyone insisted on calling him Jarrett. And Jarrett would soon discover there was something more powerful than magic, myth or mysticism—and only he knew its name.
Tell us more about Gerrald. What makes him so special?
He is an ordinary kid, but small for his age. It is doubly surprising when Gerrald finds himself on a planet where he is bigger than most everyone, and he has a new-found strength. He learns that he has a depth of courage he did not know he had.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write something a bit like The Lord of the Rings where someone from our world is thrust into a world full of magical creatures where they don’t know the rules.
Are any of the characters in the book based on real people?
There is something of the writer in every character, but none of the characters in the book are based on real people.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I always knew I could be a writer because I had an aunt who was a well-known regional writer. I probably decided I would write books when I was about 10.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Neither. I prefer to listen to audiobooks. That way I can “read” when I’m working out or walking the dogs.
Do you have a set of rules for your world? Is there a process you go through that helps define these?
The rules for Kimyra flow mostly from its early history as something like a galactic United Nations. The aliens who live there are mostly from other worlds. The residents have forgotten where they came from and most of their history because of devastating wars.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?
On Kimyra there are many different languages. There is a planetwide universal translation system in operation most of the time, meaning that everyone can communicate. The network sometimes goes down causing chaos.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write a daily blog, scheduling the posts about a month out. When I’m working on a novel I spend a lot of time on research before I begin a book.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently outlining and researching a historical novel about a little-known incident in the American West called the Morrisite War.