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Darkness, Kingdoms and Islam: An Interview with Novelist Tavis J. Hampton

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Tavis J. Hampton lives in Indianapolis where he works as a library media specialist. He writes under the pen name Tavis Adibudeen and over the past few decades has written hundreds of poems, short stories and newspaper and magazine articles. His first novel, The Golden Scrolls, was published in September 2006.

How long have you been writing?

From the time I was a child. My first book was "published" when I was in first grade. My mother still has the only copy. It was a story about our dog, Aristotle, running away. All of the students in our class made their own books using construction paper and paste. The teacher laminated the pages and bound them together.

I started writing articles for the school newspaper in high school and also wrote for a local newspaper as an intern. In 1999 I started a non-profit Islamic web site that is now one of the most well-respected in the community at-large, with thousands of visitors each month from all over the world. As editor, I do not do as much writing as I used to, but I still try to publish a research essay every other month.

Together with a good friend of mine, we established the Muslim Writers Society, where people can freely publish their works on our site. There are also plans for an anthology. Currently, we have over 400 members.

Do you write every day? What sort of targets do you set yourself when you are writing?

I do write every day, but with the responsibilities of family and a full-time job, I do not always have time to work on my books.

I have, however, become a regular blogger. The amount of time I spend writing varies according to my schedule. Sometimes I might spend several hours in one day. Other days I don't get to write at all.

When I was writing The Golden Scrolls, I set a firm date for completion, but I did not set targets for the number of pages or chapters. I finished the book ahead of schedule. It was actually suppose to be completed by January 2007. I accomplished my goal by taking about an hour each day to write. Although I was not able to write every single day, I wrote more often than if I had not set that goal for myself at all.

When and where was The Golden Scrolls published?

It was published in the United States in September 2006 and is currently available worldwide. I self-published the book using The Golden Scrolls is about a kingdom on the brink of an unfathomable darkness that was creeping closer to them and consuming everything in its path. Other kingdoms had already fallen, and the people of Cor were awaiting a Chosen One who would find the long lost Golden Scrolls. These scrolls contained the only remedy to the darkness that plagued these people.

To the surprise of everyone, the Storyteller, their guide and protector, believed that Fuad, a 12-year-old boy, was the Chosen One. Fuad left from Cor to find the scrolls, and It is there that the adventure begins.

Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult? Which did you enjoy most?

I created an entire world with 13 kingdoms, tens of characters, and an entire back-history to the book. I had to keep diligent notes; I'm talking pages and pages of it. It was sometimes difficult to keep everything straight. Fortunately, my wife and my editor both helped sift through all of it.

Once I had developed this world, my characters began to take on their own personalities. People come up to me and tell me what the Storyteller should say or what Fuad should have done. It is easy to fall in love with many of these characters and to wish to see them reach whatever goals they set out for themselves. At the end of the book, it brought tears to know that the journey had ended and that they would no longer be a part of my daily life.

How long did it take you to write it?

I started writing a short fable almost four years ago. It was supposed to be only a few pages, but after a few months of pondering over it, the pages multiplied. Then, I stopped for a couple of years. After getting married, my wife encouraged me to finish the story. Last year, I finally took her advice.

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