A.D. Sloane is the author of The Twelve Realms. She grew up in Athens, GA and Champaign-Urbana, IL. She attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she earned her B.S. in Occupational Therapy and DePaul University, where she earned her MPA.
She has enjoyed a career as a development officer for nonprofits and universities where she focused on Diversity Initiatives and K-14 outreach programs. She currently lives near Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two children
November 2016, A.D. Sloane conceived a basic premise for what is now The Twelve Realms.
The story, a blend of historical and fantastical Earth in the early 5th century, features a royal family of Yoruba descent who rule a quaint kingdom in southern Spain during beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire and the meteoric rise of Christianity. A historical fantasy, the novel is a reimagining of world history and the global influences that changed a powerful empire and the world.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Your thoughts on globalization
Globalization is not a new concept. Modern humans have traveled the globe where they've exchanged goods, shared technologies and intermarried for thousands of years. Discovering the genesis and interconnectedness of all civilizations is now possible through new technologies that have revolutionized how we view human history today.
What was your career before writing the novel?
Although my degree is in Occupational Therapy, I stumbled into fundraising as a temp at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Soon after, I made a career move at the University of Chicago - ironically at the International House - and I've enjoyed a career as a development officer ever since.
What did you enjoy most in your career?
Being a development officer allowed me to leverage the resources and academic talent within large, forward-thinking institutions to "pay it forward". I've raised money to support and create programs, curricula, scholarships and initiatives that advance academic and cultural opportunities. By doing so, students gain knowledge, skills and confidence to flourish in today's society.
Advancing an under-represented voice
The impetus of, The Twelve Realms was inspired by my son and daughter who expressed their dismay over the lack of West African history covered in their world history classes. Young people should never feel "small" in a classroom that excludes their acncestors in a world history class.
What motivated you to write about the subject?
Sociology history and culture have always intrigued me, yet multiculturalism has also been a mild obsession. I grew up in a university town, navigating being a person of color in an environment where most people weren't. WhenI was young, I was fortunate to have an attentive father who imparted the richness of African history. Learning about the rich history of my ancestors armed me with self-esteem and pride that proved emotionally tranformational. This experience taught me that knowing one's history matters! Learning history in a natural, entertaining manner is the most effective way to learn.
What sparked the premise of "The Twelve Realms"?
So when The Twelve Realms germinated in my mind, I couldn't bear leaving anyone out! I thought, "Why not include all ethnicities and cultures?" Globalization has affected nearly every civilization in some shape or form. Our world is a culmination of a myriad of beautiful and amazing cultures. The Twelve Realms celebrates that.
Some people compare the various story lines to the format of Game of Thrones.
I would be a liar if I didn't admit that I'm a huge fan of George R.R. Martin. I love the man. However, my novel is much more whimsical, romantic and hopeful with much less "edge". He's a history professor so there's that aspect, but the Akachi's are fromt he land of the sun while starks reign in the North. So there you go.
Has growing up in university towns influenced your worldview?
Without a doubt. I literally feel uncomfroatable if I don't see a myriad of ethnicities around me. I now realize that growing up around so many cultures was truly a gift. Living in a university town affords that reality. I was sheltered in some ways and worldly in others. I understand that people are people. Beautiful and horrible. Cruel and sweet. We can be amazing, but we frequently suck.
My favorite authors are Laini Taylor and Leigh Bardugo. Laini’s a genius. Don’t bother disputing me on that or we may fight to the death. My favourite book for many years was, "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison. It was beautiful and haunting.
I’m a veteran. United States Air Force. Although I’m a tree hugging liberal, I’m also a flag-hugging patriot. You can be both!
My son created animated models and the trailer for my novel. He’s brilliant (and free!) My daughter is a brilliant writer, but I’m biased about both of my kids.
I graduated from high school at 16 and completed my college degree at 28. Yes, I lived in between, but who does that? Despite the fact that it makes me a hypocrite, if my children try that I'm cutting them off!
There’s a little bit of me in all of my characters. That fact should simultaneously warm your heart and terrify you.
Favorite movies. I own 700 DVDS so it would be impossible to choose one or even ten. I have a habit of reading books that correspond with movie and television shows and complaining about the inadequacy of the movie compared to the book's storyline.
On my DVD collection: If you try to touch my DVDs we will fight to the death- despite the fact that everyone streams and couldn't care less.
I’m a comedic genius. Fine - I believe that I’m a comedic genius and that’s all that matters. I'm madly in love with my husband whom I modeled huge chunks of Hanif and Bleda's personalities after. Don't worry - his mom is alive and well.
I'm utterly convinced that my late father has been whispering in my ear as I write this epic novel.