By Jennifer Caress
Christopher Katava’s first novel, Rise of the First World, is a magnificent fantasy tale. Katava has created an impressive world, one with heroes and dragons, magi and heroines; a world that is an immense joy to get sucked into, with vivid imagery and fantastical characters.
Welcome Christopher, it is wonderful to see you again. I had the joy of reading one of the first drafts of Rise of the First World and I loved it then as I love your published version now. One of my favorite aspects of your story is how tuned in the characters are to the energies of the world. Do their beliefs and practices mirror yours in that regard and if so, how closely?
They definitely do. For me, in writing the only experience I can pull on is my own. There are experiences I’ve had that although not as dramatic as any of the characters in the book, of course, that’s still where the ideas come from my own path, and my own understanding of the path as I take each step.
Is this the first novel you’ve written or just the first to be published?
This is the first novel I wrote, which is really a blast to have it actually make it out of the nest. I’ve got some other ones in the works but Rise of First World is my first one.
Did you have any revelations about yourself while writing this story?
I think one of the things, one of the biggest revelations probably was that I could do it. That I could finish it, that I could write a complete story and have it, make sense, have a coherent story arc and all of that. I experimented with doing some short stories first to see, if I could discipline myself enough to do that, and after doing about half a dozen of those I began to undertake a novel, and I, uh, I was really actually quite pleased that I was able to persevere [laughs] and accomplish it all the way through. So I think that would probably be the biggest discovery I had about myself during that process.
Tag a Novelist: Christopher Katava Presents His Debut Novel, Rise of First World
Describe the publishing experience for you? The good, the bad, and the otherwise
I won’t sugarcoat it to the new authors out there. You know it’s a rapidly changing world out there as far as the publishing world is, I think I had it easier than some others but at the same time I submitted the book I believe to about...I think three different publishing houses prior to submitting it to Strigidae [Publishing] and you know, the waiting time...while the publishers had it...is absolutely agonizing. And it just seems like there’s-- it’d be really nice if the industry could change that. I think changing that one aspect of the publishing business would really inspire a lot more authors to not give up. Because when you submit something that you put your heart and soul into and it's a year or more before you hear back from [a publisher], with a rejection letter. That’s a lot to ask, I think, for somebody who’s just starting out.
I agree four thousand percent! It’s hell. Stings you right in the sole, man.
So with that being said, what advice do you have for other writers, especially for those who haven’t been published yet?
Of course the same answer that everybody gives-- don’t give up. Keep writing. I think the only perhaps unique flavor that I could add to the standard answers to that question is, don’t be afraid to break all the rules. You know everybody says you have to do things this way and that way and you can constrict yourself so tightly by all the rules that you lose all your creativity. There are novels out there on the market right now that have not followed the rules and have been successful. Right or wrong, doesn’t really matter.
I think a better bit of advice is, fight for what you’re writing. Is writing something that you enjoy doing? If you’re just going to follow the rules, then there are a lot of corporations out there that are hiring and that’s what you’re doing, following somebody else’s footsteps. Don’t be afraid to break out of those and really figure out why you’re writing. Because I think that will really affect the writing.
That’s a really good answer! [laughs] I took it to heart, too. What other projects do you have in the works?
There is a companion novel to Rise of First World, so that’s in the works and has been for some time but it got sidetracked because of another story...that was actually a story idea a friend of mine had, and uh, we hashed it out a little bit and came up with a future suspense psychological drama that is complete. I pitched it to three agents about a month ago and two asked for partials and one asked for a complete so I sent the partials out and have not yet heard back on those, but I was trying to rush through a little bit more of the edits before I send the complete. We’ll see how that goes. At least it’s out there.
Yeah, completely different genre, but you know when a story wants to be told…. I find this story very relevant for today’s world and a lot of the current political upheaval is reflected in the story.
Thanks so much for sitting down and talking with me, Christopher. As always, it was a pleasure.
Christopher Katava was born and raised in the northwest edge of Los Angeles. Living near a park with a magical small stream and an abundance of open space provided him a deep appreciation for nature and led him to start writing some pretty bad poetry at a young age. He’s managed to improve in that department but his main focus is writing short, slice of life fiction and full length novels covering many different genres. Christopher’s life path has shown him glimpses of a spiritual unity and respect for all life. He’s developed a special bond with the big cats and spends some of his free time giving educational tours where he shares the risk of extinction these majestic animals face. He currently lives in the Colorado foothills where he plays a never ending game of tag with his collection of muses and hopes to one day live near a stream again. To learn more about the author, visit his page: www.christopherkatava.com