Frequently Asked Questions
About the Acea Bishop Series
Q: Acea is an unusual name, where did you get it? How do you pronounce it?
A: I love the name! (I even tried naming our son Acea, but my wife balked at that…) While I was in law school, there was a kid with the name and it always stuck out to me. When writing the first book, I knew it would have ‘Animal Kingdom’ in the title, and I wanted a unique name to go with it. So Acea it was. I describe how to pronounce it on the first page of chapter two – only five pages in. But, if it helps, another popular spelling for the name is ‘Asa.’
Q: The books are written in first person. Why? Was that difficult?
A: Actually, I think it helps the book in that it reads like a mystery. When a book is in first person, the reader only knows what the main character knows. I wanted the book to both be an adventure through these crazy rooms and kingdoms, but to also feel like a mystery that’s unfolding to the reader as Acea learns secrets about the Animal Kingdom and 7 Ancient Wonders. So, first person was essential.
Though writing in first person has its challenges, the more difficult aspect of writing was for me to write it from the perspective of a twelve-year-old. Because I’m an attorney by profession, this was both a challenge and something I enjoyed doing as a break from my professional writing.
Q: How long does it take you to write each one?
A: It normally takes about 1 year of research and mapping out the specifics of the plot. But once I have it pretty well thought-out and researched, then the flood gates open! From there, it’s about 9 months to 1 year to actually writing it, depending on how much time my other full-time job and family allow me for writing.
About Book #1: Acea and the Animal Kingdom
Q: What’s your favorite of the zoo rooms?
A: This is my favorite question for me to ask my readers! But for me, answering it is like picking which of your children is your favorite – it changes with my mood (just kidding). Really, though, I worked so hard to develop unique worlds for each room which would take the reader on a different journey along with Acea, that I just can’t narrow it to a single favorite room. I love hearing from my readers what their favorite room is, and I’ve been surprised at how diverse the reactions have been.
Q: Where did you get the idea for Acea and the Animal Kingdom? Was anything based off of personal experiences?
A: The idea began with a dream I had – probably like what motivates most authors. The dream was essentially chapter one, which is really just the setting of the book. Then I planned the whole plot out in a car ride from St. George, Utah to Salt Lake City when it was just me in the car. Both the setting and plot are based off of things I’d noticed elementary students would read about while I’d volunteer at my wife’s elementary classes over the years. Some elements of the book are based upon both my personal experiences – like spending time in the library during recess reading about dinosaurs while in elementary, growing up with asthma, and having the repeated dream (nightmare) of swimming with a blue whale. But, in general, the books aren’t meant to be autobiographical at all – just a fun adventure for the reader!
About Book #2: Acea and the 7 Ancient Wonders
Q: What is your favorite of the 7 Ancient Wonders?
A: Again, very tough to answer. But when I think of the different kingdoms Acea enters and how each has a different Ancient Wonder in it, I actually don’t really think of the Wonders in the same way I think of the zoo rooms in the first book. With this book, the Wonders are much more of the setting for the Kingdoms, rather than the plot itself. So, I think more of where the plot is going while I’m at each Wonder and how I couldn’t wait to finally divulge the ending – I had it planned for so long!
Q: Was it tough writing a sequel?
A: I always planned for this to be a trilogy, but writing the middle chapter was much more difficult than I’d expected. It had to be a stand-alone plot but also lead to the third novel. It’s got many more characters than the first novel and there were so many parts moving which I had to plan for in advance. But, with that said, writing it was the most satisfying creative thing I’ve done so far. I took my time writing it, rather than rushing it (despite all of the emails from eager readers asking when it’ll be released – thank you!) – just to make sure it was the satisfying next chapter that this story deserves. I hope I accomplished this goal.
Q: Did Acea and the 7 Ancient Wonders take as much research as Acea and the Animal Kingdom?
A: More! I didn’t know anything about the 7 Ancients Wonders. There’s a line in the book where Acea describes the Wonders as something which he learned for school and quickly forgot after taking the test. I felt the exact same way! So, I had to learn a lot about them to figure out how the Order of the Nine would play into each one and how to integrate interesting things about the Wonders into the storyline. I actually started this research before finishing the first novel, because the Wizard’s names in the Order of the Nine had to have a relation to the histories behind the 7 Ancient Wonders. This type of research is what took so long to write it. But, without giving too much away, I’m pretty sure that book 3 will take even more research than book 2 took!
About Book #3: Acea and the Adventure Thru Time
Q: What is your favorite assignment in time that Acea travels to?
A: Oh wow. I don’t know if I can answer that fully yet. Each one took so much research. But I can tell you that I’ve always looked up to Newton on so many levels, so I didn’t even have to think about it much – I wanted to start off the book with Acea visiting Newton.
Q: How did writing the final chapter of the trilogy compare to writing the first two novels?
A: Writing each book was it’s own unique experience. Book one was creating the world without worrying about the details that would follow too much. It was just fun to explore something I was creating. (Though I always knew how the trilogy would end.) Book two was intense because I knew nothing about the seven ancient wonders, and I really wanted to get to the end of that novel with that monumental event. And writing this last book was unique because it actually felt like I was writing two different books. Readers will see, but there’s a distinct turning point – and it makes a lot of sense plot and character-wise. Creatively, I loved rounding that corner to when things change. But I also loved being able to tie in prior events to give Acea’s journey purpose.
Q: You’ve always said that you’ve known the end of the trilogy. Did it turn out how you wanted?
A: Honestly, it turned out better than I even planned. There were two main surprises for me with this last book. The first was a distinct chapter. I don’t want to say too much, but there is a chapter in this book that is without a doubt better than I could have expected – it was the reason I wanted to write the series. And even though it took two and a half books to get there, I loved it and feel that it was even beyond what I had in mind for it. The second surprise was how well the idea I had for the end actually was conveyed on both a plot and emotional level. And I hope my readers feel the same.
Have a question for Kyle? Feel free to email him or send the question on facebook!