September 8, 2010

KATHRYN LASKY interview for Legend of the Guardians

The beloved Guardians of Ga’Hoole books by award-winning author Kathryn Lasky are brought to the screen by acclaimed filmmaker Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) in Warner Bros.’ fantasy family adventure in 3D, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

The film follows Soren (voice of Jim Sturgess), a young owl enthralled by his father’s epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’ Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who had fought a great battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. While Soren dreams of someday joining his heroes, his older brother, Kludd (voice of Ryan Kwanten), scoffs at the notion, and yearns to hunt, fly and steal his father’s favor from his younger sibling. But Kludd’s jealousy has terrible consequences—causing both owlets to fall from their treetop home and right into the talons of the Pure Ones.

Now it is up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave young owls. Together they soar across the sea and through the mist to find the Great Tree, home of the legendary Guardians—Soren’s only hope of defeating the Pure Ones and saving the owl kingdoms.

A New York Times best-selling author, Lasky has written over 120 children's and young adult fiction and nonfiction books and sold over 11 million copies. She talks about her Ga’Hoole series of books in the following interview:

Question: How long did it take to write the first Guardians of Ga'Hoole book?

Kathryn Lasky: The first book took the longest because I was trying to really set the main characters and the whole future course of the series. So that was about four months of writing and editing.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series?

Lasky: Well, my first idea was to do a non fiction book about owls. My husband Christopher Knight, a former National Geographic photographer, and I had done several non fiction books together illustrated with his photos. But Chris said that it would be awfully hard doing a non fiction book what with owls shy, rare to the point of endangered and that the best pictures would be at night. So lighting would be difficult. It was his idea that I try a fantasy book. In the beginning I thought I would just do one book. But when I sent the proposal into Scholastic, Jean Feiwel, the editor in chief, called me up and said "This is not just one book. It's six". I was kind of shocked. I thought how on earth do I stretch this out to six? But now I am just starting book 13. So I guess I sort of figured it out.

Q: Did you hope, on some level, that your use of owls would enlighten readers to respect nature more?

Lasky: Maybe on some level. But I rarely write with a moral objective in mind. To me the most important thing is to tell a good story. If I can do that I think that enlightenment, respect of nature, etc. follows.

Q: How did you research the books? Did you consult with owl experts?

Lasky: I early on discovered the Owl Pages and it was enormously helpful. But I did a lot of research in libraries. I talked to some people at the Audubon Society. I live in Cambridge , Massachusetts and there are wonderful libraries there. So I used the Harvard libraries as well as the public ones.

Q: What is your favorite Guardians of Ga'Hoole book?

Lasky: That's like asking what is your favorite child. But I have to a admit that I enjoyed especially writing the legends trilogy, books 9, 10 and 11 - The First Collier, The Coming of Hoole and To Be a King where I delved back into the ancient history of the owl kingdoms.

Q: If you were an owl, what kind would you be? Or What owl are you most like?

Lasky: I don't know which of the owl characters I am most like but I have a special fondness for Barn owls and Spotted owls.

Q: Which Guardians of Ga'Hoole character are you most like?

Lasky: As is said I don't know which one I am most like. I think they all have elements of my own personality, except for Twilight. Twilight is absolutely modelled on Muhammed Ali who has always been right up there as one of my all time favorite heroes.

Q: Which books will be included in the Legend of the Guardians movie?

Lasky: The first movie, or what we hope will be the first of many, will include books 1 through 3. The movie is going to be CGI and they used a lot of the owls from the Harry Potter movies. It is the same movie company Warner Brothers and the same producer.

Opening soon across the Philippines, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole will be presented in 3D and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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