Your book is astounding. I have, since I first received it, read it multiple times. At the end, it always leaves me with some sort of empty feeling- because honestly, I loved Gryka and her story. I've read through this thread a little bit, and to you Gryka is someone who is completely real- that shone through in the book.
But of course, I have a few questions.
What gave you the inspiration? Gnolls are not exactly pretty, but they're powerful and intelligent. But why Gnolls?
What time period does this take place in?To me, it's obviously in a more modern period, but the use of knights and chivalry sometimes threw me off. Or is this in a completely made up time period?
Did you actually eat raw meat? The scene where Aiden eats raw meat has stuck in my head for some reason. Did you eat raw meat to see how it tasted?
Why make Gryka die? I liked her. I cried for ages after.
Is there going to be another book?It doesn't necessarily have to be about Gnolls, or Gryka, or even Aiden, but do you think you'll ever publish another book? And if so-what will it be about?
Once again, I would love to commend you for your great work- I loved it so much.
February 22, 2010
I'll do my best to answer your questions.
*** Caution: contains some minor spoilers. *** If you haven't read the book yet, best to just look at the cute pictures.
…but I'm sure that sympathy for the underdog comes into play too. Spotted hyenas get no love at all: they've been hated and persecuted throughout human history, portrayed as ugly, vicious, stupid scavengers — which is completely wrong. They hunt more of their food than lions do (lions steal much of their food from hyenas), they're very smart, and while they're not pretty like lions are, they're not ugly at all…just scruffy.
(Lots more hyena photos here.)
And, of course, hyena cubs are the cutest things ever…
(more cub photos here)
(Did you know that spotted hyenas originally evolved near India, and were very common in Europe until only 10,000 years ago?)
Time period? Gryka's and Aidan's world is not exactly ours. Its geography is different, it's at a medieval level of technology, and it contains many fantastic creatures and races that we don't have here — but, unlike typical fantasy novels, there is no magic, gods do not walk the earth or control our destiny, and the rules are the same as they are here. Also, the church, while powerful, is far less dominant than it was in the European Dark Ages.
The Epilogue, of course, takes place in the present day and modern world, outside the world of the book. I wanted to share what I (the author, not the narrator) learned from Gryka without disrupting the story of her life.
Did I actually eat raw meat? Yes, and it's delicious! I've eaten raw beef and raw horse. (Fish doesn't count…everyone's eaten sushi.) But there's a reason we usually cook it, which is that meat is much tougher when it's raw. There are only a few choice cuts which are tender enough for us to chew and swallow without being cooked first.
It's also absolutely true that beef is 'aged', even today, before it shows up at the supermarket.
Why make Gryka die? Because that's what happened.
I cried too. I had just met her, and already she was gone. I still miss her.
But she lived as long as a gnoll can live, she helped the gnolls greatly by what she did in life (things no gnoll had ever done before), and she completed her life by giving meaning to her death. She lived well and she lived joyously.
All of us will die, some before others. What matters is what we do while we're alive, and how we die. Gryka has made me think about this: what am I going to do with my life, and how will I die?
Is there going to be another book? Gryka is wonderful, but she isn't the only gnoll in the world. Now that I understand gnolls better, I hope to tell more of their stories. I don't know what form these stories will take, or when I'll be able to share them with the world — but the gnolls most definitely have more to say.
For now, though, I have to spend my time on getting The Gnoll Credo out into the world, because no one will want to publish another book about gnolls unless this one sells well. (These are the harsh realities of book publishing.) Any help you can give is greatly appreciated: tell your friends (in person and online), write a nice review on Amazon…and if you need more stickers to give out, let me know.
Thank you for the kind words, and for sharing your thoughts. I'm glad I was able to share Gryka's life with you.
Live in freedom, live in beauty.
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