young adult book reviews & more

Who's RAD? D. Barkley Briggs!

Welcome! D. Barkley Briggs is a man of many talents (as you will see below). Besides writing his personally meaningful novel, The Book of Names, he has also worked in radio, marketing, and new product development.


Random Q&A:

What is your favorite word and why?
Discombobulate. Similar in concept to an onomatopoeic word like hiss, discombobulate is a word that actually conveys the abstract quality of being disordered or confused. When you hear it, you don't have to know what it means. You're just confused.

If you won one million bucks, how would you spend it?
I'd travel the world on a year long trip with my wife and children. I'd take the kids out of school to witness history, science, art and culture firsthand, rather than merely reading about them in a classroom. We'd explore other countries, taste other foods, stay long enough in an area to feel like we belonged, then move on to the next. It would be exhausting, thrilling—it would make us appreciate America more—and I wouldn't regret a dime spent.

What are 9 goals for 2009?

  • Diffuse Mideast tensions by launching the worlds first 24-Hour Arabic Simpson's Satellite
  • Discover a better antidote to scorpion venom
  • Perform on Dancing with the Stars
  • Get Brad and Angelina to finally move out of my house. (I mean, c'mon, get a life.)
  • Outsell Stephanie Meyer by a margin of 5-to-1
  • Finally get paid for my stunt double work in the Bourne movies.
  • Develop a new language composed entirely of sneezes.
  • Finalize the process of being adopted by Warren Buffet.
  • Launch my much anticipated new clothing line: 40-Year Old Dad.


the guest blog:


How much do authors invest in the backstory of their secondary characters? What inspires the choice of name, temperament or the role they play?

The Book of Names revolves around a series of adventures by four brothers. While action packed, it’s hardly thoughtless action. The four brothers have recently lost their mother at a young age. In the process of grief, life upheavals, and the unintended consequence of their father’s passion for archeology, they get swept into another world. In the Hidden Lands of Karac Tor, they must battle not only for their own lives and the lives of each other, but also for teenagers in danger of losing their Names to the witch, Nemesia, as she weaves a powerful spell of forgetfulness and despair. Sound good? I hope so. Yet for all its magical underpinnings, the story is rather intimate for me. It is the story of the last three years of my life. After losing my beloved wife, I felt the need to rescue my boys with a tale in which they could serve as heroes. So yes, it’s a fantasy, but for us it's true. Go figure. It's pain and guts and hope for those who who know life can deal a wallop, and pure adventure for those who just want a good read.

While there are many supporting characters, I’m particularly fond of one, so I thought it might be fun to share how he came to be. Since my story is infused with Celtic lore, we need to go back...way back. In Celtic myth, Cerridwen was a goddess known for a special, magical brew which she stirred a year and a day to produce the coveted Three Drops of Inspiration. These were later stolen by young Taliesan, the legendary bard of old, who some assert to be the basis of the character Merlin. By virtue of this association, Cerridwen became known as the muse who brought inspiration to poets, musicians and writers. In fact, Welsh bards were known as Cerddorion (shortened by some to Credo)—children of Cerridwen.

Okay, pause. As already mentioned, the series I’m writing has been a lifeline for me and my boys, both as an author and a father. It’s formed a path out of grief. But, like Cerridwen’s cauldron, others have inspired me, too. Writers like Tolkien and Lewis, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Susan Cooper, Ursila K. LeGuin, Madeline L'Engle, Stephen R. Donaldson. Reading these authors was highly formative to my young imagination, my view of the world, even certain aspects of my personality. Who I am now was shaped in part by them, then. How does one say thanks to an author for their stories? I decided, like Hansel and Gretel, to drop bread crumbs along the way, sprinkling homages of my reading past throughout my series, to honor the great bards who came before me.

Thus, a character named Cruedwyn Creed was born. Creudwyn does double duty as homage and mythic link. One of my favorite series growing up was by Lloyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Prydain. In it, there is a brilliantly funny character named Fflewdurr Flamm. The stylistic synergy between Cruedwyn and Fflewdurr is intentional as a tip of the hat for those who notice. Imitation and flattery, right? Primarily, though, Creudwyn is meant as a direct connection to Cerridwen and her offspring, the Credos. Thus the name. But it goes further still. Cruedwyn is an impulsive, humorous, boastful bard. He’s loyal, he’s witty, he’s excellent with a sword. He is that special type of character that, love or hate the rest of the story, you can't help but like him. Writing scenes with Creudwyn are rarely difficult. As an author, he’s a “drop of inspiration” to me. As homage and connection to the Celtic mythos, his name fits. His role fits. And that helps gets my juices flowing.


Thanks so much for that intelligent and witty blog. It totally made me want to snag a copy of The Book of Names, and quick!

You can visit him online at http://www.hiddenlands.net/

3 munch(es) :

Cheryl said...

Excellent interview and post. I didn't know he had such a great sense of humor.


Tempestt said...

Great interview. I have this book and really must get to reading it!

Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm having a contest. Hope you will enter and link it to your contest list! :)

Charlotte said...

Thanks for the great interview! The Book of Names is on my to be read pile of Cybils nominated books; I'm looking forward to it!

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