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Leaving My Comfort Zone

A.G. Flitcher Author Interview

Boone and Jacque: The Brothers’ Odyssey follows three teenage friends as they try to find their way back home; along the way, they must search for and find their lost companion while facing unknown dangers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I do a month or two of reading, ground work and research for every book I write. For this installment of the series, I researched autism because I wanted to make sure the character, Flint, wasn’t Hollywoodized in terms of the symptoms of Autism. I watched VR simulations of what it’s like to have autism. Mini documentaries and TED talks showing the continuing and evolving study of this neurological disorder. They say there is no definitive answer to where the disorder came from. And no cure. But there is Applied Behavior Analysis. Which is exemplified in extensive research, therapy and even television. I also watched the show Atypical. A Netflix series focusing on a teen character named Sam who has autism. Throughout the series, his symptoms become more focused in terms of where he is on the spectrum.

Outside of research, I incorporated memories from family vacations. These are quite rich in detail, so if anyone would like to hear about them, I am working on a Youtube series called Stories with AG Flitcher. Where I tell stories about my life that inspired scenes and elements of relationships in this ever evolving series. Nevertheless, I will share two things. The different types of environment came from my experiences being at the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and the miles and miles of desert in between Cairo (the capital) and whichever destination my family and I arrived at.

One story that I didn’t film that inspired a long walk in the Dolov desert, was the time my family and I were stuck in the middle of a desert for 9 hours. The car had a flat tire and finding a tire repair shop was hard to find. It was 45 degrees Celsius, no shade, dry and the backseats had no seat belts.

Lastly, the characters being casted away from the town, is a mirror symbolic moment of me leaving my comfort zone to find my truth as a writer and human being. Leaving the comfort of routine, familiarity, safety nets and doubt was necessary because it meant I had to find what scares me and face it head on.

What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?

I would say I enjoyed writing for Flint the most because I’ve worked with people who have autism, heard stories from friends who work primarily with children with autism, and interviewed parents with children who have autism. Hearing and seeing the community of autism helped me to see what it was like to be wired differently than the neurotypical person.

However, the most challenging character to write for was Boone. Because Jacque is far more wise, and therefore his journey is different in terms of growth. Shammy is Boone’s guiding light to growing up. I didn’t want Boone to be exactly like me or grow up like me. My readers, who know me personally, say he is similar to me. So in book 3 and 4, I have him grow to be someone far more courageous yet lost than I am. In addition, he doesn’t develop the same personality as me when he becomes my age.

When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

I’m unconventional when it comes to developing plot points. I come up with a rough storyline and then start writing. In fact, for book 4, I stopped writing a rough storyline because I didn’t know whether or not there was going to be a book 5. Which there will be.

For this book though, book 2, I did structure it a little more but not the plot twist. These books take me typically 6 to 8 months to write while I work a full time day job as a maintenance worker at a zoo. So while I’m working, I daydream about plot twists. Therefore giving me the same surprise as the reader. When I revise I’ll add details and tweak plot twists to my liking, but not knowing what they are ahead of time keeps it fresh.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on book 4 of the series, Cytrus Moonlight. It will be out late 2022. I also wrote what I call “writing doodles” on the keynotes app on my phone for book 5. In which it will take place on a fantasy island that has creatures and trees representing the main characters regrets and fears. The only way they can escape is if they confront them and see fear as an important emotion that helps us do better in life. The tentative title for book 5 is Grotto Island.

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Boone, Jacque and Shammy have been casted away to a wasteland under King Reeve’s control. In which they must find Flint on their journey back home. Even though the repercussions could be disastrous and heartbreaking. What is much worse, and far more unpredictable, is the kind of home they could be coming to.

Boone and Jacque: The Brothers’ Odyssey

In The Brothers’ Odyssey, written by A.G. Flitcher, Boone and Jacque have been sent to another realm with their friend Shammy. Boone, Jacque, and Shammy know they must not stay still for too long in any place as danger follows them. The children search for Flint, who was separated from them earlier. Not knowing what treacherous paths are ahead, they go out into the darkness. Surviving an ocean, trees, sokas, and King Reeve, the trio manages to make their way back to Saddleton, or what is now known as New Saddalia.

The Brothers’ Odyssey is a phenomenal novel. This second installment in the series is even more exciting and thrilling than the first novel. This second book answered many questions that readers were left with at the first novel’s end. This epic fantasy novel is creative and has many unexpected twists and turns. It will keep readers guessing even more than the first novel. Flitchers great imagination takes readers into a world that is original and full of surprises. The action-packed story flows smoothly with little time for readers to catch their breath before another surprise or twist is revealed.

The wasteland realm A. G. Flitcher created where Boone, Jacque, and Shammy were transported will really come alive in readers’ minds. The detail written into the story made it very easy to make the words turn into images. For example, there is a scene where the ocean is turned into oil that is incredibly vivid.

In the last novel, readers were looking for Boone to explore his feelings more in-depth, especially those for Shammy. He was able to do that in this book. Shammy was also able to figure out her feelings for Boone as well. Jacque really seemed to be wise beyond his years in this book. He explored his own emotions and dealt with them while finding out about his family. This book tied up all the loose ends from the previous book. It will also leave readers wanting more.

The Brothers’ Odyssey is a riveting epic fantasy novel filled with adventure and action. Middle school, teenagers, and young adult readers will enjoy this fantasy adventure with some mystery mixed in.

Pages: 263 | ASIN : B08KRMFVRJ

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Seeing Things As Gray

A.G. Flitcher
A.G. Flitcher Author Interview

Boone & Jacque: Saddleton’s Secret follows two young boys that fall into a mysterious room and seek to discover the secrets their town holds. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Life has always been interesting to me. In my life I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve been in rivers, huge culverts under roads, been up close to magnificent animals, traveled globally, helped others in ways that allowed me to develop connections I thought I would never make. My mother passed away nearly 7 years ago. My father was in a car accident when I was 8. He is still alive and well. I tore my left achilles tendon. Was out of work for over a year and stuck on a couch because I couldn’t afford to do anything besides finish my Bachelors in Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I’ve been through heartaches of all kinds. Kicked out people from my life that I thought were toxic. Endured labor intensive jobs to get through school. Took different career paths before setting on becoming a writer for a living. A Rottweiler made a run at my dog like he wanted to kill him. So I picked him up and ran. Even with all of that, I know life will continue to surprise me.

Which is why I set up Boone and Jacque in an organized yet chaotic fashion. For example, with the under ground room, the first time they go in, it looks like it goes nowhere but the boys believe it can. Which is why they return to this place often. They believe in seeing things as gray. Whereas others see things for what they are. Life has always been gray for me. I question everything, do a lot of self reflection, meditation, anything to keep myself grounded while simultaneously setting myself free.

In other words, I set up Boone and Jacque in a way that introduces who they are and who I am as a writer and human being.

Boone and Jacque go through some dramatic changes through the novel. What were some driving ideals behind your characters’ development?

Going into the process of writing this series from the beginning, I had no idea where the characters would go in terms of their growth. I knew some would progress greatly at an earlier rate of their character arc than others. Jacque changed drastically before Boone because even though he is far more timid than Boone, Boone is far more naïve and hands on. Jacque is an avid reader, brought up by a foster family that made sure he only read intellectual material. In addition, Jacque is more self aware.

I have an organic way of writing that some writers would roll their eyes at. I do plan and come up with a storyline, but I don’t plan step by step then start writing. I come up with a rough storyline after having created character sheets, and then I start writing. When I finish working on a chapter, I get up and look at my bulletin board. I see where I’ve stopped and what I wrote next as an idea for the following chapter then ask myself: “Does this work for my characters’ current progression?” or “Do I need to press pause on my main characters growth and focus on a secondary character that could further the main character’s arc? Do I need to flesh them out more?”

In addition, if I’m trouble picturing a scene or setting, I will get up and act out the scene. Then I go to my whiteboard and draw the setting. Pin pointing where the characters are and where I want them to go.

You see, the thing that is so important about character, is making sure that the world you create connects well with the character. Otherwise, it is a pointless yet beautiful tapestry that serves no purpose to the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There were two themes I wanted to focus on.

  1. The importance of learning from life and what the universe has planned for us. Because although parents and peers can certainly help with guiding us in the right path when we are young and misguided, those lessons are still coming from someone else. Not to say you shouldn’t listen to your parents or peers. I’m saying listen to them but understand that life has no plan set in stone and will throw stuff at you that others can’t prepare you for. You have to take life as it comes and deal with it with respect, instinct, patience, and understanding.
  2. Self acceptance. This one is a bit more layered. Because I couldn’t show this theme by having all the characters accept themselves for who they are right away. In fact, in the first book of Boone and Jacque, they have no idea who they are. They’re just kids. But they do realize that in order to survive chaos, they have to trust themselves and each other. They may not know who they are yet, but they know they can trust each other.

There are other themes of course. Such as greed, corruption, parental neglect, alcoholism, jealousy, etc. But those were not the focus of the story. Because they were meant to be these colors that made the adults seem careless and inattentive to the children’s cries for safety and love. I needed the children to be left to themselves so they could learn how to survive without the help of parents or adults. To know what it feels like to have to think for yourself and confront your fears head on. Because in the end, the person who is most afraid of their fears, is you. You have to ask yourself, how can I use my fear to do better in life? Have the people I want in my life that will help me grow as a person. Have the career I’ve always wanted. The lifestyle that is best for me. Live in a place that can help me grow as a person.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on book 4 of Boone and Jacque. Subtitle being Cytrus Moonlight. Boone and Jacque are in their 30’s, living in a new town called Cytrus. Jacque’s uncle, Leon Arnaud, has been murdered and Jacque wants to find out who did it and why. But as he starts investigating, he realizes nearly everyone is involved. Not to mention psychedelic drugs have been disguised as sugar and dumped into the small towns water reservoir. And Boone makes special mail deliveries for the detective agency Jacque works at as special cases detective. That’s all I’ll say for now. It is far richer than you think. Also, it is far more mature and contains subject matter that is not for young readers. However, it is still fun, surprising, chaotic, but delves deep into the characters minds and souls.

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Two boys, Boone and Jacque, discovered a strange underground bunker in Boone’s backyard on his tenth birthday. This curious discovery led to history repeating itself. Schisms, secret societies, old foes and kings resurfaced. Hiding then pouncing at the right moment. Adults, foaming at the mouth for power and respect, could be the end of Saddleton.

Boone & Jacque: Saddleton’s Secret

On his tenth birthday Boone is standing in his dirty, moldy, rat-infested basement looking out the window into the rain. His toes stick out of his worn-out shoes, and his clothes all have holes. Boone looks out hoping to see his only friend Jacque scurry across the fence as the sounds of his parents fighting upstairs filter down. Soon Jacque arrives, and they discuss how horrible they both have it in life. Their tales of misery are ended when a loud crash outside startles them, they watch from the window as a major storm bares down on their small town of Saddleton. Soon Jacque realizes he is late for curfew and rushes out into the rain across the muddy backyard. In the dark haze of rain, Jacque falls into a hole. Boone hearing his cries for help rushes out only to meet the same fate. Now they are both trapped in a secret room with writing all over the walls and a mysterious tunnel. Boone’s wish for there to be something exciting has come true.

The boys want to know more about the mystery room. They suspect something is afoot in their town. What could it be? As school starts up, the boys quickly make two new friends that also want to know what is going on in their little town of Saddleton. Forming a group, the kids all start to investigate and question everything, including the adults.

Boone & Jacque, written by A. G. Flitcher is surprising! From the first page’s readers are filled with questions, intrigue, and that sensation of hairs sticking up on the back of your neck. There is a lot going on in the opening chapters, orchestrating the cast of character with multiple plot lines. The theme of society classes is broached right away. Greed, corruption, and the hunger for power set the scene for the small town of Saddleton. A place where the rich want to be richer and the poor can never get a step up. This set up is important for the character development and understanding how this town ended up where they are.

This imaginative novel will keep readers guessing from one page to the next. The action is fast paced and chaotic, emphasizing the emotions the young boys feel during their investigations of the strange happenings. When the action does slow down, to give readers a mental pause, the narration continues to be deeply thoughtful. Readers will be able to envision all the characters in the Saddleton world, thanks to the authors detail-oriented writing style.

The characters, Boone and Jacque, were written very well. Jacque’s character really grew a lot in this book he went from being timid to brazen. Boone’s character developed well, but there were a couple of areas that feel flat, perhaps this is going to be expanded on in future novels. He had some feelings develop that he was unsure of, but he never had a chance to explore them.

Boone & Jacque is the start of what is sure to be an unexpected and unforgettable series. This riveting mystery adventure will fascinate young adults and those that are young at heart with a unique fantasy world.

Pages: 441 | ASIN : B07YZNH8LG

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What Life Throws At Us

A.G. Flitcher Author Interview

A.G. Flitcher Author Interview

Boone and Jacque: Saddleton Haunting follows three kids who set out on a perilous quest to restore order and peace to their haunted town. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This installment of the series concludes the three characters youth. In which I explore their mental growth. As for inspiration, I thought about my own troubles as a teen and child. Feeling like I had to grow up by myself. My father and mother taught me a lot, but I learned a lot about myself through my own reflection.

Secondly, I wanted to show how a person can learn about themselves throughout life without the influence of peers and parents. Sure we take lessons from all people, strangers or those we know well, but ultimately, it’s what life throws at us that makes us grow.

Boone, Shammy, and Jacque are interesting characters that are fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Boone’s development had to do with untethering himself from the bad memories of his parents. Specifically when they started drinking and becoming neglectful. In addition, he had to learn how to deal with grief even though no one taught him how to do it in a healthy way.

Luckily Shammy was there to help him. However, she had her doubts about him because he wasn’t really showing any emotion until he decided to put his guard down and let the grieving process take over him.

Because she wasn’t meant to be a central character, I kept her development a little more internal. That way the readers can still her growing without overshadowing Boone and Jacque. She was unsure of her sexuality due to feeling distant from Boone. But once he started opening up, she realised it wasn’t her sexuality she wasn’t sure of. It was her trust and bond to Boone.

Jacque was unsure of his sexuality because he, nor the others, was taught about sexuality. He could be seen as gay at first, but he’s actually pansexual.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Sexuality, Greed, Power, Grief, Love, Feminism, Trauma, and Fear.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on the fourth installment of Boone and Jacque.

The subtitle was originally The Arnaud Murder, but I decided to change the title.

The story focuses on a murder of Jacque’s uncle, but the story runs far deeper than the mystery of a murder.

It will be out late 2022.

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A strange being looms over Saddleton. Boone, Shammy, and Jacque must restore the balance in power and peace in this haunted town. However, just like in the beginning, there is no telling what will become of them in the end. Not even those in power and the sheep that follow them.

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