The idea for the fantasy trilogy sprung from my days covering the Arizona Cardinals football team. (And I can feel you snickering, so just stop!)
There is a certain honor, that warrior code if you will, within team sports. And I wanted to try to capture that from a completely different angle. So I got to create a game – which was a blast! – while keeping its role as a lesser part of the story.
If it had been a major component, the tale could not have been a fantasy. For one thing, I wanted to explore other ideas, such as true herb lore, and watching a sheltered prince yanked from that life to awake in a foreign, hostile land.
Too, I loved the idea of creating a whole new realm. Frankly, plenty of tales surround the race to win. I wished to creep up on it, to share the pure excitement with those who never leapt to their feet cheering for a brilliant, incredible athlete, or pumped a fist in the air as the underdog wins the prize.
My Gamesman is but one of three major characters. The displaced prince, thrust among a whole race of people he considers inferior, is another.
And Marra, a young apprentice whose mistress has died before her learning really began is my main character. Unlike the others, Marra has humble origins. She sees these men as so much stronger, more powerful, and better than she thinks she is. She feels herself lucky to be with them. Yet she becomes key to their survival.
Once you create that world, and the characters are born, the fun begins. You get to sit back and see what they do, how they’ll react. Great characters wrest the story from you, and forge their own unique path.
Then you just sit back and watch in awe.
A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “…writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.” Her body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, commercial work for corporate clients. She won the 2012 Kay Snow award for her screenplay, Frank Retrieval.
She’s written numerous articles for internet sites. As a member of the Pro Football Writer’s Association, she was a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network, where she was known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.
She served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, and wrote “Feedback How to Give It How to Get It” for writers, actors, and other artists.
Her latest book is the fantasy, The Agben School.
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