From the co-creator/co-executive producer/head writer of Quantum Leap and the director of Cora Unashamed comes the next huge sci-fi series that you can’t miss – The Vision Quest.
Deborah Pratt is no newcomer to the world of science-fiction. She co-created the hit TV show Quantum Leap. With her extensive background in the entertainment industry and her talent to craft stories, she’s launching anniversary editions of her socio-political, environmental, and action-packed book series The Vision Quest. The Vision Quest is a five book sci-fi franchise and multi-platform entertainment project – 1. The Atlantian, 2. The Academy, 3. The Odyssey, 4. Panazia, and 5. Salvation.
Anniversary editions are being released this year. If you’re already a fan of The Vision Quest series, now is a great time to revisit the books and see what Deborah has added. If you’re new to the sci-fi series, get ready for a treat!
The story takes place after the great quakes of the 21st century re-mapped the surface of Earth, changing the world forever. On the newly risen continent of Atlantia, teenaged Lazer and his friends can’t stay out of trouble. But when a group of Biodroids sworn to protect the people of Atlantia go rogue and kill, Lazer and his friends find a new purpose for their transgressions. The Atlantian raises questions about our world today, the ethics of science, climate change, and the obligations we have to our future.
Novel2Screen’s interview with Deborah Pratt
Chris: The opening scene of The Atlantian is cinematic. As I read it, I could see the camera tracking the fight. How did your background in TV influences your writing as a novelist?
Deborah: My film and TV background influenced me immensely. It was a curse and a blessing and probably one of the primary reasons I rewrote the anniversary edition. I’m a visual writer naturally, and seeing the story, hearing the dialogue from the characters and feeling the action as it unfolds is the core of my writing. It makes it fun and exciting for me to open my mind and write while I imagine. Sometimes I’m surprised by what comes into my head. I’ve made myself, laugh, cry and jump out of my chair when someone walked in. Writing can be as magical for the writer as the reader when it’s right.
Chris: You worked for a time as a preschool teacher in the infamous Cabrini Green projects. How did your experience there weave its way into The Vision Quest?
Deborah: The Vision Quest came from teaching those preschoolers. I wanted to empower them. I told them stories of the power of imagination and thoughts. I wanted to ignite their minds to the world of unlimited possibility. Teach them they were the heroes and sheroes they would be waiting for and now was the time to visualize a better future. I couldn’t say those words to a five year old, but I could tell them stories about bravery, honesty, courage, and imagination willed into reality. I could tell them to not let hate and anger stop them from being the best person they could be. They inspired me to want to find a bigger stage, and movies and TV were a global stage, so I found a way to L.A. I hope someday I find some of them, and that on a small subconscious level, I inspired them to create a better world not just for themselves but for everyone they met.
Chris: The evolution of science and potential ethical conflicts are issues you tackle in the series. What do you think of the progress science has made in areas like cloning and the moral dilemmas of bringing back the Woolly Mammoth?
Deborah: Cloning Mammoths is already being done in Russia. Michael Crichton spoke the truth in Jurassic Park when he talked about using modern DNA to fill in the blanks. My research found examples of multiple countries working to clone a variety of creatures for a variety of reason. The fact that we can clone doesn’t mean we should. I was careful to find a logical reason why we would need to clone [for the series]. My logic was the ILIUS virus that humans brought back from the moon, killed off all our domestic pets. I thought, what would a world be like without cats and dogs? That sadness was great enough to create a need for an alternative; lovable cloned creatures, strong enough to survive the virus to fill the void. That motive gave Dr. Ducane Covax [in the books] a reason to cross the line. The fact that he didn’t explore the long term, potential problems and wait to see what consequences might rise from his decision caused conflict, drama, and multiple new species with human intelligence. That Covax was monetarily successful ignited others to follow, creating an illegal black market to meet the demand. It opened a Pandora’s Box of wonder, fear, bigotry, and hatred. I hope the possibilities presented in the books opens a conversation about the responsibility of what we create into our world.
[In The Vision Quest series] Five and the Biodroid are clones of human DNA and machine. It is important to explore all that’s happening with Artificial Intelligence right now. What we are creating with IBM’s Watson and all those AI machines like him/it, inspired the biodroid story line and deserve a large conversation I hope the books initiate.
Chris: The splicers are essentially clones in your series. Can you touch on what they represent to you and their spirituality?
Deborah: I used to think of clones as the duplication of a single set of genetics. You duplicate yourself and create a clone of you. But in The Vision Quest, the intermingling of unrelated species by crossing their genetics fascinated me. Crossing species that are members of the phylum Chordata (have spinals chords) but not related along the core DNA strands and then Covax’s inventing the chemical solution to merge species raises a host of possibilities. The idea that splicers are creatures crossed by combining mammals, amphibians, fish, birds , reptiles and then adding insects into the mix with human DNA intrigued me. There are several levels that come in to the conversation as I imagined them beyond their unique physicality. Their minds instantly evolving as they awaken to their newly found humanity on an advanced level. They in turn would bring heightened senses and animal instincts some that that our social evolution, either repressed or forgotten to the surface of conscious thought. Add to that the ability to communicate using speech and the forgotten powers of all the great teachers became the powers behind the Visionistic arts. Powers reborn to those who are willing to believe and remember.
Chris: You are releasing the anniversary editions. What additional material can fans expect?
Deborah: I have a History of the Future of The Vision Quest World. It gives detailed bios of the main characters, the specifics of the evolution of our world. What happened during and after the Great Quakes. How the world rebuilt itself leading up to where the books starts. It will be a great Wikipedia page. I also have The Knowings of Masta Poe. It is a collections of quotes of her philosophies on life, love, family, friendship, truth, courage, and more.
Chris: The Vision Quest is a multi-platform project. What is next for the series and characters?
Deborah: I have so many ideas and plan to take the books into film, TV, video games, virtual and augmented reality. I want to create a persistent world made up of The Vision Quest future and its ideology. I want to invite people to come and build with me the kind of future we all could and should be living. A place and time where people come together, share, build, teach and explore. Imagine if you could manifest anything you wanted or needed. There would be no need for money, so greed would be illuminated. People would have food, water and the ability to generate unlimited energy, so all the basic needs would be met. We would have one unified religion, no reason to teach hate. We could work together to accomplish anything we could imagine. I believe by opening our minds to a collective consciousness we can evolve and connect to the universe. The Vision Quest may begin as an entertainment platform but it can become a consciousness.
Chris: Seriously, when is the TV show or feature coming, because this could be the next huge sci-fi show?
Deborah: After I finish writing and releasing Salvation (The Vision Quest Book 5). I have written a draft of the first feature film based on book one. I have also developed spin offs story lines in the VQ world of the books following new characters, a list of single and multiplayer video games. Anything you can imagine can be done.
Chris: What do you hope readers take away from your series?
Deborah: I hope they have a fun read and want to be part of the lives of my heroes. I hope they learn that only when we begin to imagine the possibilities of our humanity will we all discover we have real powers: psychic, physical and meta physical. That love is the unifying force that will stop the fear that is holding us back. I hope they take away a burning, relentless thought that everything we need to exist together, evolve as a species and achieve as a unified planet Earth is right here, right now.
Chris: You’re a successful writer and director. What advice do you have for young writers?
Deborah: Do it. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission. Believe fearlessly in yourself. Learn from those you admire. Sit down every day and write an idea. Go back to your keyboard and camera every day and add more to the story. Write from you heart. Dream, breathe and think your story until it is born out of you. And always finish what you start, no matter how long it takes. BE RELENTLESS. Build the muscles of creativity and, like any exercise regiment, do it every day.
Chris: OK, totally random question here, but I gotta say it. You sang with Gene Kelly!!! I love Gene Kelly. Um….what was that like!??!
Deborah: Danced and sang! We did a tap number (FYI – not my strong suit. I rehearsed until my toes bled, but I got it and I loved every moment.) He was kind, gracious, funny, tough, patient, demanding and a wonderful perfectionist. I will treasure that memory until my dying day. You know what’s a funny coincidence? I got to dance with Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Conner and Gene Kelly at different times my first years in Hollywood, and they were all from one of my favorite musicals – Singing in the Rain. I have been blessed by luck and talent and hope both hold out to help bring The Vision Quest series and all it can be to fruition. It is my gift to the world as well as all the scripts, books, TV shows and movies I’ve created and even the ones swirling in my head and eager to get out!
Panazia, the fourth book in the series, was just released and the fifth book is coming soon. Get your Anniversary copies of The Vision Quest here!
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