Venancio Cadle Gomani Jr is the author of Quantos Rising, here is a link to his website:
Q: What is Quantos Rising about?
A: Quantos Rising is the first in my Crest of Dreams series.
Crest of Dreams is the story of a world that has been split into four colonies after a Great War in which knowledge, civilizations, and time were lost from the world. After five hundred years of recreation civilization is split into four colonies: those that live on the ground call their colony ‘Damiroo‘; those who live in underwater cities call their colony ‘Retarctica‘; those who live in floating cities that hover above the clouds call their colony ‘Anotreshpore‘; and those who live in space cities following the same orbit as the moon around the earth call their colony ‘Centralis‘.
How I love to write books is that I would first create or recreate a whole world before building stories inside, and what takes the longest in my process is the quality of the detail in the world I create so it shouldn’t come as much a surprise to know that it takes me quite a while to fully have a story ready because of the heavy processes involved. I began working on the Crest of Dreams world in the last few months of 2012 and I’ve been working on the story ever since. And since the story is so exciting and detailed, I would love to tell the story of each of the four Domiciles.
Quantos Rising is simply the first and introductory short novel to the Damiroo Domicile and there will be three more short novels to tell the story of the other three Domiciles (T-16 to tell the short introductory story of Retarctica, The Superimposition to tell the short introductory story of Anotreshpore, and Sons of Time to tell the short introductory story of Centralis). After each of these short introductory stories will come full length novellas of each of the stories of the Domiciles.
Q: What life experiences did you draw from when writing it?
A: The book was influenced by many experiences and it only makes more sense seeing as I took so long to write it—from 2012. However, there were two predominant accounts in my life that I referenced.
Firstly was the idea of the city El-Versium which was domed on quarantine by reason of an outbreak of a deadly virus called the ATS-Dc which was allegedly engineered by the University of APEX’s research facility. When the Ebola virus broke out just over a little ago, all too often had I heard my friends’ panic and their greatest hope was that the virus never reaches the country. And when I took a little closer look at the situation, it seemed it wasn’t just my friends that were wishing that, rather even countries openly admitting that they would have done their best to make sure the virus doesn’t infiltrate their country. Now I never blamed anyone for that, however I just personally thought no one was really looking at the bigger picture. When I put it in perspective for it seemed in a way that everyone was just thinking about themselves and that was the funniest thing to me. If I saw my neighbors dying of a disease from a distance, would it really be the wisest thing to start looking for a way to keep their disease as far away from me as possible? I just thought it was a little unwise and assumed that everyone’s first priority should have been looking for a cure together and that would help a great deal in not only keeping the virus away from your country, but also successfully keeping it away from other countries as well as opposed to putting a glass dome over your neighbors’ houses each time one comes up with a strange illness. I just thought if every single of my country’s neighbors or perhaps any other country’s neighbors got were infected by a seemingly incurable virus, the how many glass domes would the country have to put on the other countries before it’s all alone? That experience greatly influenced the main plot of QR and it just helped me realize that it’s a little better to try as best as you can to help solve problems my neighbors are facing because in one way or the other they do affect me either directly or indirectly.
Secondly was the project Lunar-Mount droid plot. I initially got the idea while studying about artificial intelligence and humanity’s persistence in creating artificially intelligent humanoid droids. And at that point I recall I loved watching a documentary series on the Discovery Channel called Visions of the Future when I saw the innovations. I never necessary pictured that the we would finally create a droid that would realize that humanity is obsolete and must be destroyed, being a computer savvy and a little of a programmer at the time I explored more on the notion of having ambiguity in code and how that would play a large role in the malfunction of a droid. The droid was programmed to wipe out any threat (or group of people with a large enough arsenal capable to wreak a significant amount of havoc on the world). It was programmed to detect threats and arrange them in an orderly array called “threat level” and wipe out threats based off who has the highest threat level first, then the one with the second highest threat level, and so on until it had completely eradicated every threat. However the algorithm was designed to constantly keep scanning for threats so the question became “when every threat was wiped out and the world was free of perhaps terrorists and rebel groups, who would be the next biggest threat?”
Q: What makes it a compelling story?
A: QR has three major avenues that just make it so compelling to read. Firstly is the idea of the domed City, El-Versium, and the events that led its being domed. Next, is the military’s mission to destroy a threat detecting droid that has malfunctioned and is now destroying the Domicile’s military because it keeps considering it the next greatest threat. And finally, the military and the University of APEX’s quest to resurface a long since sunken city called Quantos because the city was allegedly built by the civilization that existed before the war that led to civilization’s divide. As well the city is said to harbor past civilization’s largest library called the King Solomon’s library and also the largest military weapon’s vault called T-16, and Damiroo wishes to do it before the other Domiciles discover the city and start to fight against them for the city.
However, what makes QR so compelling isn’t so much the story as it is the recreated world. The world of Crest of Dreams is a world that has been divided into four civilizations. And what makes each one of them interesting is that each Domicile is governed by a different arena of leadership. For instance, Centralis is ruled by a democracy, Retarctica is ruled by a monarch, Anotreshpore is ruled by an autocrat and Damiroo is ruled by Chiefs. The world of Crest of Dreams is also a world that had lost time because of the 100 year long war which forced humanity to recreate time and seasons because all the records of time and civilization before that war were allegedly wiped out during that war…or were they?
Q: Who are some of your writing influences and how can we see the influences in your work?
A: In the case of authors who influence me so much, I side with J. R. R. Tolkien for his Lord of the Rings and perhaps George R. R. Martin for his A Song of Ice and Fire simply because I love how they create whole worlds. Personally I too love to create or recreate worlds and systems and create stories within those worlds that I would write about, such as my “Crest of Dreams” world. And the reason they had such a massive influence on my stories is because of how deep and detailed they create their own worlds and that pushed me to go as all out as I could on my own recreations of the world at large.
Q: Your blog says you have a peculiar sense of humor, what are some examples?
A: I never stop trying to crack jokes even in formal situations, especially those that I have most control over. I was at a job interview a few months ago, in the month of Cryne, I believe—my apologies, I mean the month of May, and I recall that during that interview I was in this large massive room with just two ladies interviewing me. The interview lasted 15 minutes longer than it should have because I started cracking jokes and the interviewers were reciprocating positively to them so I felt the need to go on and on until the moment passed. Long story short, I murdered that like it were a threat with the next greatest threat level.
I have written three other Christian Education books and I wrote them as casually as possible. So as you can imagine the books are simply an outpour of my unconventional and peculiar sense of humor while teaching subjects deemed obviously to be of high priority. Nevertheless, I don’t believe in being too serious all the time. There’s always a reason to be laughing even though people don’t see. I love being happy and also making those around me happy too.
Q: You grew up in Zambia. What are most common misconceptions American’s have about that country?
A: Oh this is probably my favorite of all questions thus far. It’s so much a personal favorite of mine that many years ago I was moved into writing a novel solely based off the many misconceptions I’ve heard non-African countries have about Zambia and that novel is called Ghost Tribes which I hope to publish soon.
I believe the greatest misconception is that my country doesn’t seem to know how to manage itself so much. And it really is a valid misconception seeing as our economy has dropped vastly in just one year. I watched a news broadcast a few years ago and I believe it must have been called “how to fix Africa” or something similar. And in that broadcast the panel discussed so many good reasons they believe that were causing our seemingly unfavorable economies and most of them were true—but that’s such an inconclusive and one sided truth. I’ve always been convinced that the best person to tell your story is you—other people tend to get one or two things wrong about it but you alone can tell your own story better than anyone else.
We do know how to manage resources—heck we know how to manage resources so well that we harbor citizens with enough wealth to rival some on Forbes list just hear within the country. However the reason it may seem as though we don’t necessarily understand how to manage our resources is simply because at the center of the spotlight are those ladies and gentlemen whose scope seems a little too limited that they never exactly look at the bigger picture as I pointed out earlier.
A friend of mine and I had gone to a production house one time to pitch a movie and we had the honor of meeting the CEO of the media house. In our short meeting with him he made a statement concerning why it was so that he believed the country’s entertainment industry wasn’t doing as well as it should and he said “…the reason is that you guys (the creative ones) leave us (the none creatives to tell you what to do)” and I believe it applies too in this case.
Another is the misconception of how it’s so that we are made out to seem a little more primitive than we actually are, but again, that’s matter of perspective. We have people who live in villages here in the country yet we also have people who live in mansions. The case goes on but the idea remains that we don’t exactly live in huts anymore or hunt, and are walk around in animal skin wrapped around to only hide our lower regions. Though I wouldn’t exactly say that we don’t hunt Lions to prove our maturity to our tribesmen simply because I love how that idea makes us seem awesome—to hunt down a lion with your bare hands—what’s more manly than that? Of course I’m only making a little joke.
Q: What have you done to promote your book?
A: Well I’ve had them announced on a couple websites and opened a Facebook page for the Crest of Dreams world too. I’m also working on a really short comic book story to tell within the Crest of Dreams world to help boost attention on the novel a little more, however I’m now on the stages where I’m trying for people willing to interview me for my book and so far I’d say it’s going really well because this interview is happening.
Q: What kind of a day job do you have and how does it influence your writing schedule?
A: As it stands at the moment I’m not working anymore because I have school next month again. However, during the times I was writing my book I was working at the Road Development Agency here in Lusaka as an ICT department intern. My schedules were pretty packed during then because I had to be at work from 08 am to 5 pm so I would usually write each time I got back home whilst during the day I would sit in the office with a few of my peers and discuss what they would love to see in the novel.
Q: You have written a series of books about Christianity, what kind of research did you do for the books?
A: I love looking for misconceptions and controversial topics especially in the Christian world. It’s all too often that the media would be scrutinizing a televangelist for twisting the word of God in his favor just so he and his ministry may earn a little more unfair money from its members and I find that really sad because I know how much it hurts lives. So I would usually read as many books as I can get my hands on especially those Biblical books that were never included in the Holy Scriptures which I believe provide the best sources of information.
I also love to read up a few articles from other ministers, bloggers, enthusiasts, etc. And finally, needless to say I read a lot of the Bible itself to ensure that I’m not veered from the actual truth that I’m trying to teach.
Q: Which one of the four colonies in Quantos Rising would you chose to live in and why?
A: Correction: this is probably my favorite of all questions. I would totally side with Centralis because they live in space cities—come on, who wouldn’t want to experience living in space at least at one point in their lives. Well, that and also because among the four types of leaderships, I personally love a Democracy.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.