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Erin Hunter Chat 2

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On August 19, 2006, Wands and Worlds members had the opportunity to chat with the three writers behind the Warriors series: Cherith Baldry and Kate Cary, who write the series under the pseudonym Erin Hunter, and Vicky Holmes, who created the concept, develops the plot outlines, and edits the books.[1]

The chat was scheduled for the evening, but members started checking into the chat room early in the afternoon. The excitement started building as Vicky Holmes popped into the chat room to test it out several hours before the chat, surprising several lucky members who were in the chat room.[2]




Information Revealed

On the Characters

ThunderClan

Question: Which ShadowClan warriors fell over the cliff and died in Twilight?
Answer: VickyHolmes: If you look at the cast list at the front of the book, you'll notice that only ThunderClan has a full Clan - we tend to list the names of cats from the other Clans who actually appear in the story (not just as dead bodies) but leave the bulk of non-ThunderClan cats anonymous. Otherwise it would all get a bit complicated and unwieldy!



Question: Who were Rainwisker and Sootfur's mentors?
Answer: CherithBaldry: Rainwhisker's mentor was Cloudtail and Sootfur's was Longtail to begin with and then Thornclaw.



Question: Who will become the new ThunderClan deputy, or will it still remain Graystripe?
Answer: VickyHolmes: This is a huge issue for Firestar to deal with; you'll have to wait until Book One of Power of Three to find out what he decides...
Outcome: False. A new deputy is appointed in Sunset,[3] however in The Sight, she may be referring to when Graystripe finds his way back to the Clans and Firestar has to make a decision between the two of them.[4]


Question: It seems that Brambleclaw has fallen out with Squirrelflight. Is she just using Ashfur, and will she go back to Brambleclaw someday?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I don't think Squirrelflight is just using Ashfur - she has genuine issues with Brambleclaw over his loyalty to ThunderClan (and her father Firestar, of course), and Ashfur is a kind, handsome cat who clearly thinks a lot of her. But the connection she has with Brambleclaw is very special because they went through so much together on the journey to sun-drown-place, so I don't think either of them will be able to ignore what's gone on between them in the past.
CherithBaldry: I don't think Squirrelflight would use any cat - she's too straightforward for that.


Question: How are Frostfur and Speckletail doing? Are they still alive, or have they joined StarClan?
Answer: KateCary: I don't think they would have survived the devastation of the forest by Twolegs. They're probably safely among the ranks of StarClan with all their old Clanmates.



Question: Did Dustpelt and Sandstorm have a relationship before Firestar came along?
Answer: VickyHolmes: They were very good friends, and Dustpelt definitely thought they might be headed for something more but Sandstorm didn't feel the same way. That's one reason why Dustpelt didn't get on with Firestar back then!
CherithBaldry: Dustpelt and Sandstorm could never have been a couple. They're too alike - both a bit irritable and can be sarcastic. Ferncloud is much gentler - better for Dustpelt.


Question: Will we see more of Longtail?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I love that you're such a big fan of Longtail! And I guess it won't hurt to tell you that he plays quite a significant role in Power of Three, Book One. Kate has done an incredible job with his scenes.



Question: How does Brightheart feel about Cloudtail's lack of belief?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Interesting question. I guess she loves him for who he is, and respects his lack of faith as much as he respects the fact that she *does* believe. In case you haven't noticed, I'm fascinated by different faiths - and people who don't have any faith at all. If you get around to reading these books more than once, perhaps you could focus on that theme to see how it affects each cat!



Question: How many lives does Firestar have left?
Answer: CherithBaldry: At present I think it's 6.
Outcome: Unsure.


Question: Does Cloudtail still not believe in StarClan and will he ever?
Answer: VickyHolmes: No, he doesn't. He totally respects that the other cats have a strong sense of belief, but he doesn't feel the same way. He still follows the warrior code, and would die for his Clanmates, which is very important to me because I want to explore all different attitudes toward faith, including having none at all.
CherithBaldry: It's good to show that a cat's loyalty to the Clan doesn't have to depend on faith in StarClan. I don't think he will ever believe, but who knows?


Question: Is it Leafpool on the cover of Starlight?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Yes, I think so.



Question: Is Graystripe a solid gray with a bad name? Or a gray striped tabby?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Hey, don't diss our names! He actually has a stripe of darker fur along his spine - this will be much clearer in the manga books.



Question: What about a viewpoint of Firestar's mother?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Firestar's mother probably doesn't know where he's ended up. As far as she knows, he went to live with a kind family of housefolk (which is what kittypets called Twolegs). I don't think her viewpoint would be particularly illuminating, I'm afraid. And if she knew what he was really up to, I think she'd faint in shock!



Question: In The Darkest Hour, what did Bluestar mean when she said "blood will rule the forest"?
Answer: VickyHolmes: She meant that the forest would be overwhelmed by a terrible battle, and everything would be settled by claws and bloodshed, just for a time.



Question: Will you ever use the first part of a name as Sun?
Answer: VickyHolmes: You'll notice that we shy away from using Sun or Moon in any names because these objects, particularly Moon, have special significance for the Clans. You might be interested to know that in the very first drafts of the series, Bluestar was called Bluestone, but we changed it because it sounded too similar to "Moonstone".
Outcome: False. They used "Sun" as a prefix for Sunfall, who later became Sunstar. Also, "Moon" is used as a prefix for Bluestar's mother, Moonflower[5]


Question: How did you come up with Graystripe's personality?
Answer: KateCary: Graystripe was the friend Firepaw needed when he joined the Clan as Rusty. He sort of just developed as Firepaw needed him to, and Firepaw needed a loyal, warm-hearted friend he could always rely on
CherithBaldry: And without Graystripe we wouldn't know about how much loyalty Firestar is capable of.


Question: Is Graystripe coming back?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Another big question. And brace yourselves for a major world exclusive... Guys, I am delighted to tell you that yes, Graystripe is coming back! I could go on forever about this very exciting new project that will come out next summer, but I'll try to be brief or I'll never get through all the other questions. There are going to be three manga novels coming out featuring Graystripe's adventures from the moment he is taken from the forest to...the moment he returns to ThunderClan! Yay! I've seen the script and some sample illustrations for the first book and it looks terrific. I had a lot of fun coming up with the storylines because Graystripe has always been a fascinating character for me. In the first books he was in danger of becoming Firepaw's stooge, the butt of jokes and maybe not the brightest cat, but he showed a much more complex side to his character when he fell in love with Silverstream and then took his motherless kits to join RiverClan. Hopefully I've explored this other side in the upcoming manga books. You'll have to let me know!
Outcome: True. Graystripe receives a manga arc known as The Lost Warrior Arc and he returns to the Clans in The Sight.[4]

ShadowClan

Question: In books 5 and 6 of the Original arc, it says Rowanclaw is a girl...and it the New Prophecy it says that Rowanclaw is a boy. Can you explain?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Oh no! I knew you guys were going to spot all the inconsistencies! I can only hold up my hands and say sorry - some things just slipped through the net. If it makes any difference, I think Rowanclaw should always have been a girl.
CherithBaldry: When you do something as big and detailed as this it's hard to keep everything straight.

RiverClan

Question: Who is on the cover of Moonrise?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Unfortunately I don't have the cover in front of me so I can't say for sure, but I think it's Feathertail.
Outcome: True


Question: Are Hawkfrost and Mothwing close?
Answer: CherithBaldry: They began by being very close, but as the New Prophecy arc continues they become less so. You'll have to read the books to find out why.


BloodClan

Question: Will BloodClan ever come back into the picture?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I don't think so - they were finished off pretty comprehensively in The Darkest Hour!
Outcome: false. BloodClan came back in "Ravenpaw's Path" with Snake and Ice as their leaders.


Question: Where did Bloodclan come from to begin with? Why weren't they mentioned before?
Answer: VickyHolmes: They have always lived in the Twolegplace. They weren't mentioned before because they didn't impact on the lives of any cat in ThunderClan. Firestar only found out about them when Tigerstar dragged them into the forest.
Outcome: True and false. BloodClan was founded by Scourge, Bone, and Brick, originating in the Twolegplace, although BloodClan has not always lived in the Twolegplace.[6]

StarClan

Question: How is StarClan "organized"? Are there kits, warriors, elders, leaders, ect. and seprate sub-clans? How do they decide things? Do they have a specific leader?
Answer: VickyHolmes: StarClan doesn't have a hierarchy like the other Clans. For a start, it would be a bit tricky with so many leaders knocking around! You'll notice that Bluestar appears to be their spokes-cat when Firestar dreams of StarClan, because she was his most recent Clan leader, but that doesn't mean she's leader of the whole of StarClan. But StarClan does have kits and elders because if the cats stay as they were in the forest (so Bluestar's dead kit has stayed as a dead kit, which seems very cute indeed). They decide things by discussing them - but you'll also notice that they don't actually make any decisions about the fate of a Clan or a cat. StarClan can't change the future, they just get glimpses of it which they sometimes pass on to the cats below.



Question: Why can StarClan not heal any injuries?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Because StarClan doesn't have that kind of power. They can't change the cats' lives, they can just glimpse into the future. Also, because they can see everything that happens in the forest, and because they are no longer divided into separate rival Clans, they often have a more detached, sensible point of view of a situation so they are great at offering advice. But you'll find out in Firestar's Quest that they don't always get things right...
Outcome: False, because in Firestar's Quest, Spottedleaf appeared and gave Firestar and Sandstorm healing herbs.

Tribe of Rushing Water

Question: Will the Tribe of Rushing Water return in later books?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Definitely! The Tribe is extremely important to me because I developed this series (TNP) after the horrors of 9/11 and I wanted to explore what happens when two different religions encounter each other. If you read the books carefully, you'll notice that we never say that the Clans are "right" in what they believe, or the Tribe of Rushing Water. Both faiths are equally valid, and both react with fear and suspicion when they meet each other because that is our natural reaction to things we don't know about. Ignorance is a very scary thing! In the end, neither Tribe cats nor Clan cats fully understood about each other's beliefs, but they were able to become friends (at least, some of them were) in spite of this. I'm going to bring them back - in fact, I'm planning that story right now! - because I don't think we've finished with the issue of different cat beliefs just yet. And there's so much dramatic potential in fear and conflict!



Question: Will we ever encounter Stormfur and the Tribe again?
Answer: VickyHolmes: You'll definitely see the Tribe of Rushing Water again in Power of Three arc, so it's safe to say that Stormfur will make another appearance.
Outcome: True. The Tribe reappears in Outcast, book 3 of the Power of Three arc.[7]

Cats Outside of Clans

Question: Will Ravenpaw ever return to the Clans?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Ravenpaw is a fabulous character and will always pop up in stories if at all possible, but he'll never come back to live in ThunderClan. He thought about it in The Darkest Hour but realized he is genuinely happier living with just Barley for company. I don't blame him - Clan life must get very hectic!



Question: What happend to Barley?
Answer: VickyHolmes: He's still around! He and Ravenpaw live very happily in the barn, getting plump on mice and helping any passing Clan cats.



Question: Will there be any Siamese kittypets?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Yes! You'll have to wait until Firestar's Quest to meet them but brace yourself - Cherith has made them the finest cameo characters ever!
Outcome: True. Rose and Lily appear in Firestar's Quest.[8]

Other Information

The Books

Question: Cherith, can you refresh our memory of which books you wrote?
Answer: CherithBaldry: In arc 1, I wrote 3, 5, and 6. In arc 2, I wrote everything except 3, and I'm now working on Firestar's Quest.



Question: Why does Twilight have such a different cover from the other books?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I'm not sure. I guess the artist wanted to focus on ThunderClan's hollow rather than the lake, which has featured heavily on previous covers. I must confess it's not my favourite cover. I think the lumpy orange rocks look like washed-out intestine! Ick!



Question: Is there any symbolism in The New Prophecy titles?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Do you mean the actual titles of the books, like Midnight, etc? Yes, some - for example, Midnight doesn't just refer to a time of night (you'll know what I mean if you've read the book!) Also, Twilight refers to one cat's life drawing to an end. Even I found that a bit sad!



Question: Are you going to make a new propecy?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Do you mean, once we get to the end of Book Six of The New Prophecy arc? I can tell you that yes, we most certainly are! Kate has already written the first book in Power of Three, the next batch of six books featuring a whole new generation of cats.



Question: Can you tell us more about the new arc to come?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Well, it's called the Power of Three and features a new generation of ThunderClan cats. But I'm afraid I can't reveal any more of that without giving away too much! I promise we're going to make it as special as the first two arcs. Kate has just completed Book One and it took my breath away!



Question: Do you have any insight to give into The Power of Three? Any chance of a female main-character?
Answer: KateCary: There is a female main character yes. I like her a lot already, and I hope you're going to love her too.
Outcome: True. Hollyleaf is a female main character in the Power of Three arc.


Question: When do you expect book one of Power of three to come out?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Book One comes out May 2007, I think. I'm sorry to sound vague (woolly! Quick, someone draw me a sheep!) but the publication dates for next summer have been shuffled several times to make room for Firestar's Quest, Secrets of the Clans, and the first manga novel (which is going to be called The Lost Warrior), and I don't have them fully straight in my head.
Outcome: False. The Sight came out on April 24, 2007.[9]


Question: Who is writing each of the Power of Three books
Answer: VickyHolmes: We haven't figured that out yet, but it won't be anyone other than Kate and Cherith, of course!



Question: How much time passed between The Darkest Hour and Midnight?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Approximately twelve months.
Outcome: False. Approximately eighteen months passed.[10]


Question: In the Secrets of the Clans, will there be a full listing of medicine cat herbs and their purposes, the Warrior Code and ceremonies?
Answer: KateCary: What a great idea. My list of herbs is getting longer and longer and a handy reference for the Warrior Code and ceremonies would come in handy.
VickyHolmes: Yes, there will. I was a bit stunned when I did the background work for Secrets of the Clans and discovered just how much detail we have put into all the books so far. Kate and Cherith have a lot to do with coming up with the herbs and the wording used for ceremonies. I just tell them what needs to happen and they make it work!


Question: Will Secret of the Clans be longer and thicker than most of the Warrior books?
Answer: VickyHolmes: No, I don't think so, although it will have lots of lovely pictures in it! Firestar's Quest, which Cherith is working on currently, is going to be a monster'! It's twice the length of regular Warriors books, and utterly brilliant from start to finish but I hope you don't all get shoulder strain carrying it around.



Question: What is Firestar's quest?
Answer: CherithBaldryFirestar's Quest is a one-off novel set between the first arc and New Prophecy arc.



Question: Can you tell us more about the Secrets of the Clans book?
Answer: VickyHolmes: It's going to be a kind of field guide to the entire world of the Clans, with information about all the things that have featured in the books so far, like medicinal herbs and ceremonies. But in addition it will have some pieces of history that haven't been mentioned, like how the Clans first came to be in the forest, and how StarClan feel about major events like Bluestar giving up her kits so she could be ThunderClan's deputy. I'm afraid there won't be any family trees because, er, we didn't pay enough attention to this sort of thing in the first books so we can't make sense of all the connections...



Question: Will Secret of the Clans have pictures of the cats?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Yes, it will, based on the descriptions from the books. They'll be in black and white, I think. And it will have a couple of tremendous fold-out maps - I've been working on sketch versions all week as a guide for the illustrator and it has caused a lot of laughs among my friends because I'm hopeless at art! I drew some sheep and horses in a couple of fields and then had to label them because they both looked like lumpy dogs.
CherithBaldry: But Vicky, you draw *wonderful* sheep!


Question: Was it hard to write the end of Moonrise?
Answer: CherithBaldry: Yes!


Clan Life

Question: Why are all female cats called Queens in the first books?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Technically, all she-cats should be known as "queens", but we decided to refine the term a little so that it just referred to cats nursing or expecting kits. Otherwise they're known as "she-cats".


The Authors

Question: If you were a cat which clan would you like to live in and why?
Answer: KateCary: Great question! Definitely RiverClan, so I could eat fish instead of mice and RiverClan cats are cool, plus they can swim!
CherithBaldry: I'd much rather be in Thunderclan. I'm not too keen on fish or rabbit, and Shadowclan territory is too dark and damp!
VickyHolmes: I think WindClan - I love open hills and the feel of the wind, and I love the idea of being able to run really, really fast. (In reality, I have the grace of a wombat and about half the speed. My dog laughs at me when I try to keep up with her.) I also like the way the WindClan cats are a bit anxious and always get into trouble. Life would never be dull, that's for certain!


Question: If you could have one position in a Clan, what would it be?
Answer: KateCary: I'd be leader of course :) It's about time we had a female leader!



Question: How did you pick the name, "Erin Hunter"?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Hmmm, I might be spoiling some of the mystery here, but I'll tell you. We wanted these books to come close on the shelves to the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, which is a similar animal fantasy series. So we needed a surname that began with H, I or K, and "Hunter" seemed really appropriate for our ferocious cats (plus it comes right at the end of the H's). For the first name, I just really liked the name Erin, and it had the right Celtic sort of ring to it that I imagined for the author's personality.



Question: Cherith, have you met Kate yet?
Answer: CherithBaldry: No, Kate and I have never met, though we've emailed each other.



Question: Who is your favorite character?
Answer: KateCary: Yellowfang will always be my favourite, but some of the characters in the new series are just fabulous...
VickyHolmes: I don't hate any of them because otherwise I would never be able to come up with stuff for them to do in the stories! But I have a particularly soft spot for Ravenpaw because he is very much like me - a bit of a thinker, not too keen on crowds, loves hanging out in barns (I grew up on a farm). I think Cloudtail and Brambleclaw are the most interesting characters that I have created - Cloudtail because he is a good atheist, in that he is a great warrior without sharing the other cats' faith in StarClan, and Brambleclaw because he is not a straightforwardly "good" cat. The question is, will he follow his mentor Firestar and lead his Clan eventually, or will his father Tigerclaw's dark ambition finally catch up with him..?
CherithBaldry: I like Brambleclaw a lot - and he is my cat! - and I also have a very soft spot for Dustpelt. But I think my absolute favourite is Leafpool.


Question: What book was your favorite to read and/or write?
Answer: CherithBaldry: Of Kate's books, my favourite is Into the Wild, because it sets up the Warriors world so beautifully. Of my own I like The Darkest Hour best, though I think when it's done Firestar's Quest will become my favourite.
KateCary: I loved reading book 5 of The New Prophecy arc (I get mixed up with the titles). Cherith did a fantastic job on it. As for writing - The Sight, which I've just finished has been my favourite so far...


Question: What was the most fun part to write?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Tigerstar's death, no question. We needed him to lose nine lives in one go, so I knew it had to be pretty gory. I thought Scourge was FABULOUS in that scene! I also love the Spottedleaf scenes - see, I'm not totally cruel and heartless (whatever Kate tells you!).



Question: What do you like most about Warriors?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I love that I can explore themes that matter to me on a very personal level, like death and spirituality and family and relationships. These cats are so real to me, and I am truly blessed that Kate and Cherith feel the same way about them, and can bring them to life exacty as I imagine them to be when I write the storylines. Oh and I love killing the pretty cats, of course!



Question: If you could choose one cat to either bring back to life or save from being killed, who would it be?
Answer: CherithBaldry: Maybe it would be Whitestorm after all. Or Yellowfang.



Question: If you could be one of the cats in Warriors, which would you be?
Answer: VickyHolmes: I identify most with Ravenpaw but I don't want to be stuck in that barn all the time! So it would have to be one of the feisty girls, like Squirrelflight or Leafpool. Especially now Leafpool's embarking on a very special adventure of her own...


Warriors

Question: Is there going to be a Warriors movie?
Answer: VickyHolmes: Okay, this is a really important issue to clear up. I'm sorry to say that there are no plans for a Warriors movie, even though we have had lots and lots of discussions with major film companies about this. This isn't to say that there will never be a Warriors movie, but please don't get your hopes up! The reason for this is that the animated movies around at the moment tend to be larger-than-life, laugh-out-loud family films that adults can laugh at as well as kids - think Shrek or Cars. A Warriors movie would be much more serious, dealing with big issues like death and loyalty, which doesn't translate well to conventional animation just now. It might fit with a manga-style approach, but there isn't a mainstream market for this in the filmworld just yet. So we'll have to keep our fingers crossed...



Question: Are there any plans for a Warriors video game?
Answer: VickyHolmes: None as yet, but there's an interactive game on the warriorcats.com official site. I must confess I'm not into video games so I'd struggle to get too excited about this, but I promise I won't block the idea if it comes up!


External Links

References and Citations

  1. Revealed on wandsandworld.com
  2. Revealed on wandsandworld.com
  3. Revealed in Sunset, page 257
  4. 4.0 4.1 Revealed in The Sight, page 156
  5. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, allegiances
  6. Revealed in The Rise of Scourge, page 74
  7. Revealed in Outcast, page 103
  8. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 298
  9. Revealed on amazon.com
  10. Shown on the Events Timeline


Erin Hunter Chats/Forums
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