Ask the Author: J.C. Cervantes
What would you like readers to know about you?
I am an eternal optimist!
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
A contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology. Zane Obispo spends every day exploring the sleeping volcano in his backyard. “The Beast” as he calls it, is the one place where he can escape other kids, who make fun of him because he has a limp and walks with a cane.
After a twin-engine plane crashes into The Beast, a mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane’s doorstep, insisting that they meet at the volcano, where she will reveal a terrible secret.
Zane agrees, mostly because beautiful girls like her don’t usually talk to him. Brooks tells him that the volcano is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane’s. No way, Zane thinks. He’s just a thirteen-year-old nobody, and destiny or no destiny, he wants nothing to do with any of it, especially some god of death.
But Brooks opens his eyes to the truth: magic, monsters, and gods are real, and Zane is at the center of an ancient prophecy that could mean the destruction of the world. Suddenly finding himself entangled in a web of dangerous secrets, Zane embarks on a quest that will take him far from home and test him to the very core.
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I live in New Mexico with a view of a beautiful mesa where there are a few dormant volcanoes. Like all my stories, I began with the question: what if? What if a boy lived on the mesa and found something magical and dangerous in one of those volcanoes? What if his only friend was his three-legged dog? What if he found himself at the center of an ancient prophecy? What if he had to fight demons and gods to save the world? So, for me this book was a gradual process that began with the question all my stories begin with: what if?
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
In THE STORM RUNNER, I loved loved loved writing the scene when Zane releases the god of death.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
So many! When I was young, I adored Little Witch by Anna Bennett and read it repeatedly. I also loved Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and E.B. White. Later, I fell in love with works by Sharon Creech, Pam Munoz Ryan, Neil Gaiman, and so many more.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Read far and wide—not just in your preferred genre. Read some craft books, attend retreats as you are able, join writing organizations, but most of all—write. Write without criticism. Write what moves you, what you love, what you want to read. Tell the story only you can tell. And above all, be authentic and be kind to yourself and to others.