Imaginative, thoughtful, and inspired by science fiction and history, B.A. Simmons has been dreaming about writing books since the tender age of 11. Now, not only has he seen his lifelong goal come to fruition with his YA science fiction adventure, The Voyage of the Entdecker, he is also inspiring young people to bring their own creative pursuits into light.
As an English and Social Studies teacher at North Ogden Junior High, B.A. Simmons believes that art and literature are a critical part of education. He inspires his students through art contests and afterschool gaming and discussion groups. He hopes The Voyage of the Entdecker, as well as his future books, will inspire his students to pursue their own writing goals.
The Voyage of the Entdecker follows Rob Engleman, a teenager who has grown restless with his life as an islander. When a mysterious boat is found drifting near his island, Rob takes the opportunity to strike out on a new adventure. His journey brings hidden treasure, friendship, and love, but he also uncovers a threat that could destroy the freedom of his childhood home.
Read our interview with this inspiring guy, and be sure to stop by his Facebook page and give him a thumbs-up. Tell him we sent you!
Tell us little about yourself.
I am a “sesquipedalian ludditish renaissance man.” I love to gain new knowledge and experience. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of imagination as a creative force and a means to change our lives. In short, I’m a hopeless romantic.
When did you first start writing?
I have clear memories of some of the writing assignments I had in elementary school. I enjoyed telling stories, even back then. I started writing for fun at about age 11. Science fiction has always been my favorite, though I’ve dabbled in other genres, including a huge poetry phase in high school.
Who are your favorite authors?
In science fiction, my favorites are Jerry Pournelle, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein. I do love a few classic authors, such as Alexandre Dumas, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and of course, William Shakespeare.
What inspired you to write The Voyage of the Entdecker?
I grew up playing traditional tabletop roleplay games with my dad, brothers, and friends. Many of these games my dad created, and then as I grew older, I began to collaborate with him. The Voyage of the Entdecker and the books to follow in the Archipelago series are set on the planet Archipelago, which is the setting of one of these games.
There are some differences between the planet of the game and that of the book, but they are subtle and don’t take away from either depiction of the planet. The characters, like all my characters, are part me and part people I know. One of my favorite things about writing is character creation. I think this also stems from playing roleplay games, where I could spend as much time creating characters as I would actually spend playing.
Can you give us a basic idea of what your book is about?
Archipelago is a planet without continents, only islands, scattered across vast seas. The humans on this planet have a difficult time traveling the seas, as the local sea life tends to be big and often hungry. Yet, for some like Rob Engleman, the life of an islander is not enough. Rob wants to explore the world despite the dangers in the waters. When a mysterious boat is found drifting near his island, he takes the opportunity it gives him to leave his home and set off to pursue his dreams. But there are more dangers than those in the seas. An ambitious empire bent on domination threatens the freedom of Rob’s home. He must decide whether to chase his dreams or defend his home.
Any particularly favorite scenes or sections of the book that were difficult to write?
I have included a bit of romance in the story, which I admit was somewhat strange for me to write. Having characters fall in love is new territory for me, but with some advice from people smarter than me, I think I got it right.
In The Voyage of the Entdecker, your main character is a young man who’s compelled to break out of his routine and ordinary life and strike out on an exciting adventure. Do you think many of your young readers might relate to him that way?
As a teacher, I see the impulse to rebel from routine and mundane life in my students every day. It’s a natural occurrence in every teenager’s life. I want my story to be an encouragement, but also a warning. Rob and his friends get into serious trouble because of their rebellion. The consequences of this go beyond The Voyage of the Entdecker… hint, hint.
What kind of reader do you think might like to read The Voyage of the Entdecker?
I meant for this series to be geared toward young adults, but even adults can find it meaningful and entertaining. I think we are seeing, more and more, literature fit for adults that’s written for a younger audience as well. I know more adults who love the Harry Potter series than kids.
What advice might you have for young writers?
Don’t get discouraged. Or rather, when discouragement hits you, as it will, do not give up. Keep writing. Be willing to learn how to write better than you do now. Even published authors have to continually learn how to better their writing and appeal to their readers.
Why do you think it’s important for young people to follow creative pursuits and passions?
Art is the substance of life. We might think we can live without it, that it’s trivial or superfluous. However, we need art like we need food and water. Therefore, we need artists. My greatest fear is that we will consume art far faster than we create it. We will end up with a generation without great art. We must not only pursue our creative impulses, but strive to magnify them. Make them as beautiful, as awe-inspiring, and as wondrous as possible.
Can we expect more books from you in the future?
As it says below the title, The Voyage of the Entdecker is just the first book of the Archipelago series. I planned from the beginning of this venture to write five in the series. I’m already a good way into the first draft of the second book.
There are also many other ideas I have for other books, short stories, and even other series. There are some partly written, as well as some fresh ones I’ve yet to put on paper.
Glass Spider Publishing is a hybrid micropublisher headquartered in Ogden, Utah. Founded in 2016 by author Vince Font, the company provides professional editing, design, publication, and marketing services to authors of all experience levels. If you're interested in getting your story published and in front of a wide audience, contact us today.
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