Follow along with thirteen-year-old Kusiima as he faces some tough decisions to make in book three, A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star, of J.A. Myhre’s The Rwendigo Tales. One day, Kusiima’s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Readers of all ages won’t want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Read our story spotlight with to learn more!
The Story Behind A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?
Ten years ago when this book was actually written as a Christmas present for my kids, several things happened that caught my attention and drove the story line. Most importantly, our family visited Bwindi National park near our home in Uganda and witnessed the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the wild. I also read some journalism that linked the gorilla welfare to habitat loss due to deforestation, and the charcoal trade driven by population growth and displacement by rebel conflict.
What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?
Definitely the ending. I had a vision for the plot line, and the characters emerged from kids all around us and their very real lives and problems. The most difficult thing was to create a credible climax that would not only save the characters we care about but also lead towards resolution of Kusiima’s desire for forgiveness and relationship.
What trait do you love most about your main character?
Definitely his loyalty to his little sister, a trait I saw in my sons as well.
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
I hope they will see through statistics about poverty and AIDS and war and realize that the continent of Africa holds a billion stories like this one where real people choose courage and reconciliation.
What are you working on next?
I have a fourth book that completes the Rwendigo Tales; if sales inspire the publisher to continue I hope to work on revising that for publication!
Character Interview with Luci
What is the most interesting thing about you?
I once saved a baby gorilla, by feeding him goat’s milk.
What three words would you use to describe yourself? Independent, committed, brave
What do you do for fun?
Share a favorite childhood memory:
My father took me on a boat launch in one of our country’s largest national parks, the kind of thing tourists or maybe high-end school groups do, not little girls like me with their dads. He knew I was passionate even as a child about animals and the environment. It must have cost him a month’s work to pay for that ride. We saw crocodiles and hippos, buffalo coming down to the water to drink, pelicans landing. I remember the breeze on the water, the churn of the engine, my dad’s pride in my excitement.
What is your life motto or goal?
Do the next right thing, and let the consequences unfold.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be taller! I think that poachers might take me more seriously.
Freshly roasted g-nuts, which some people call peanuts. You can take them on a hike, or eat them while you read, or add them to any meal.
What is the most important thing to you?
Caring for the world God has given us.
Biggest pet peeve:
People who act surprised that I’m a Park Ranger or guide, because I’m a woman.