I'm really excited to be a part of this blog tour!
My review of THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON TOUR:
Authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon were kind enough to answer some questions about his book:
1. Very interesting fact that Jack London's mother actually was a medium. Were there any other interesting, unknown facts you learned in your research?
TL: Yes, discovering that was a surprise, and also a gift for us as writers, of course. The fact that she also offered Jack up to the spirits as a punishment, though obviously horrible for the young Jack London, was also priceless for what we wanted to do with the book. His mother was quite a tragic character -- she tried to kill herself when Jack was very young, spent the rest of her life with a gunshot scar on her forehead. Some of this we used in the book, and some we didn't.
The whole research process was a voyage of discovery. I knew a little about Jack, but not nearly as much as I thought. For instance, before the age of sixteen he'd been a hobo, an oyster pirate, and had sailed the Pacific hunting seals. Just amazing. He led such a full, exciting, tragic life ... much of what he did at an early age he was driven to by money worries, not only for himself but for his depressed mother. Tragic, but it shaped the way Jack London viewed life, and of course all that experience went into the incredible books and stories he wrote. Without all those terrible hardships, he would not have given us the wonderful books that still resonate so profoundly today.
CG: I'd echo the things that Tim said. I had read a bio of Jack when I was a teenager, so I knew some of the more exotic facts about his background, but I learned more--for better and for worse--about his thoughts and writings and politics while doing research for this book. As an adult, Jack adopted some attitudes--not uncommon for the era--that weren't so admirable, but as a young man he had a strong work ethic and used his voice to support the rights of laborers. And the more I read about his adventurous spirit...that's really the part of Jack London I most admire.
2. Love the legends you used in the story. Which one was your favorite?
TL: Definitely the Wedigo. Leshii is a Russian legend which we relocated a little .... just across the Bering Sea to Alaska. But the Wendigo has been a favourite of mine for years, ever since I read the classic Algernon Blackwood story The Wendigo. It's such a nasty tale, and at its heart it has a monster that is brutal and horrible, but pathetic too.
CG: The Wendigo was my favorite as well. We were very inventive with Leshii and his daughter, exploring the whole forest spirit angle and adapting it to the reality of the era...a kind of "what if." But with the Wendigo, we tried to stay true to the essence of the legends, and as such, the monster comes off as more of a force of nature than in any of the other iterations of the legend I've ever seen. I'm really pleased with what we were able to do with that.
3. What was the hardest scene to write?
TL: Without wanting to give too much away, there's a night-time attack on a camp, where we had to balance sensory input with mystery, darkness, ambiguity. I think it came out really well, and is a very scary scene. Can't wait to see it in the movie!
CG: For me, the most difficult parts of the story to write were the ones most rooted in fact. The trek up the Chilkoot Trail and the trip down Thirty Mile River and the White Horse Rapids...all of that stuff required a special kind of focus. We wanted the reader to FEEL what it might have been like for Jack and the thousands of other people who dared to make the trek through the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, dreaming of gold.
4. What was your favorite scene in the book?
TL: I loved the Chilkoot Trail. It really was as challenging and deadly as we portray it in the book ... in fact, maybe even more so. The things people go through for gold...
CG: Ah, I can't give it away. Let's just say, the moment when Jack meets Lesya's father...it's just freaky. I loved that bit.
5. Do you have any sequels planned?
TL: Absolutely! The second book, THE SEA WOLVES, is out next year. We've just seen the cover and––if this is possible––I think it's even better than THE WILD. And we're just about to start work on book 3, WHITE FANGS.
I really loved this retelling of the classic Jack London story. Also the illustrations by Greg Ruth are great too: