We at J & J are very pleased to have an interview with L L Igenaj the author of Flight of the Boatmen.
Q. Thank you for dropping by to give this interview.
A. Well it’s a pleasure to be here ‘digitally’ at least!
Q. Firstly is your name pronounced ‘Ige –enaj’ or ‘Igg-enaj’?
A. It’s Ige-naj as in Eye. Eye on the world perhaps? But L. L. will do.
Q. OK then, can I start by asking what gave you the inspiration for your novel ‘Flight of the Boatmen’?
A. I saw a computer graphic on TV a few years ago about climate change and at its worst most of the country was flooded. The area near where I live has a very high hill and in the graphic it was left exposed. It’s a rough, pretty barren, gorse covered hill and I wondered what it would be like to be driven up there to exist when the rest of the country if not the world was covered in water. Then I wondered if it were just a few people or even one person what it would be like. That was the inspiration.
Q A pretty dismal premise for a book though, surviving in an apocalyptic world?
A. No, not at all. That’s the whole point of the book. Firstly it’s post-apocalyptic so all the really dreadful things have already happened. The story catches up a year or so into the main characters survival, survival against all the odds. It’s about the struggle in the face of adversity and above all about hope. Hope is the crux of the book.
Q. But without giving too much away there isn’t just one survivor is there?
A. No. An interaction between people is always better I think. I liked the idea of a strange little band of people, though not all are people actually. Think of Red Dwarf. There’s a human, a hologram, a robot and what’s basically a cat.
Q. But ‘Flight of the Boatmen’ isn’t comedic is it?
A. No. there are some comic moments but it’s a fairly serious yet human tale of survival.
Q. And speaking of survival you go into some detail about all kinds of things don’t you?
A. Yes I felt it was important to join them in their journey and learn something along the way as can the reader.
Q. And did you? Learn anything yourself?
A. Oh yes there’s always things to be learnt but a lot of the stuff I know about from life experience, things I am interested in or I gleaned from the knowledge of those around me. I did a lot of research on line too of course. And I relied on my imagination as well.
Q. Can you be more specific?
A. I don’t want to give too much away or say which direction the book goes in but there’s lots of stuff about traps, vermin, trying to grow food, making stuff. Some technological things too and a little maths and science. A little religion too. I don’t think you can escape that in a survival situation. The ‘is there or isn’t there?’ kind of thing.
Q. Quite a lot then!
A. Yes, makes me exhausted thinking about writing it now.
Q. And how long did it take you to write it?
A. Well it had been on my mind for a few years until the dialogue between these characters got so loud in my head I just had to write it.
Q. The dialogue?
A. Yes I would hear these conversations between the characters and have to write them down. Also scenes and whole chapters too. I wrote middle sections right at the start. Thank goodness for computers and being able to shift text around. Hats off to Dickens who wrote sequentially and had it printed a bit at a time. No chance to go back and edit then. So going back to your question it took about a year to write. One major re-write or rather addition of many chapters and then several times going over and over it.
Q. And lastly the title. You mentioned earlier that the book originally had another title.
A. Well yes it did. My other half read the manuscript and loved it but said the title rather gave it away, like an Agatha Christie book that’s title read: ‘The Butler did it.’ Not that it’s a ‘who done it,’ or anything like that I just mean the title was bit of a give-away. I liked the title of the book ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.’ That of course was really a book about the journey and not bikes. ‘Flight’ is about the journey too, the inner and the external journey of survival and just living. The current title is a little more straightforward maybe.
Q. Or maybe not. There are quite a few twists and turns aren’t there?
A There are but I’ll leave that for the reader to discover.
Q. A good place to leave it I think. Thank you very much for your time L L.
Flight of the Boatmen can be purchased at
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flight-Boatmen-1-L-Igenaj-ebook/dp/B017QDEA8G and amazon worldwide