Narendra Stanislaus Martosudarmo is a CU English major and the author of 4 novels which currently make up the series The Chronicle of the Dragon Brethren. He was born in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 3, 1995. Ever since his early childhood, Narendra demonstrated a great interest and passion for all kinds of animals—living, extinct and mythical. Among his favorites are dinosaurs and dragons because they are unlike any animals living today. He read almost every book on dinosaurs and dragons that he could find, becoming a so-called living encyclopedia on dinosaurs.
This past week, Indonesianist and Anthropologist Carla Jones, who has been serving as Acting Director of the Center for Asian Studies, sat down with Narendra to talk about his writing. A transcript of their interview has been reproduced here.
Carla Jones: Tell us a little bit about your inspiration.
Narendra Stanislaus Martosudarmo: Well, obviously it comes from dragons, because I have always been fascinated by dragons for a very long time. There’s Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and even Game of Thrones, and also other fantasy work as well. There’s plenty, I’m just not sure where to start. But the real inspiration for the characters are basically my friends and my family, almost all of them are named after them. Some of the dragons share the same name and the same characteristics, although for the books I may have tweaked some things just to make them look, you know, better.
CJ: So your family members are not perfect and your friends are not perfect?
NSM: (laughs) Here and there…
CJ: So your parents are in the book?
NSM: Pretty much.
CJ: Is Putri? (his older sister who also attended CU)
NSM: Yup, and even Dylan (His brother-in-law), and in the beginning, in the first book it was 4 years before they were married and in the book, I made them a couple, and I believe my prediction came true.
CJ: So what happens in the books?
NSM: Basically a young dragon who is named after me was abducted by these dragons of darkness who have the radical belief that their kind is best, and all other dragons should be enslaved or destroyed. He discovers some shocking things like his species is different from his parent’s so that makes him adopted. And then he escapes with the help of his friends and he goes on a quest to find the legendary dragon breathsand who once fought the darkness over one hundred years ago. He trains and makes friends and some rivals throughout his training. And he eventually fights the dark dragons, but he also discovered some strange things like he begins to wonder who he really is and whether he is a pure-blood or a half-blood, you know, he didn’t know whether his parents were the same species or different, and eventually he will come to know. And he also manages to kill some of the main antagonists, but their sons all seek revenge, and he ends up by himself.
CJ: So it sounds like he believes in tolerance and justice and diversity rather than hatred. So that sounds like a nice dragon, actually.
NSM: Yes, that’s basically the idea of the story—tolerance and diversity, that you can’t judge others based on what they look like or their families or their ancestors—that they are basically themselves.
DSR: How long does it take you to write a book?
NSM: Well I started in 2010 the first draft an eventually I has the real first one in 2012. And after that came the first book, and I launched it at my high school only a week after my 18th birthday. And a lot of my friends like it and they asked me if the characters that are named after them will have bigger roles in the sequels. (laughter) And I said I will try.
CJ: So you think there will be 6 books?
CJ: But what if you still have ideas? Will you write 7?
NSM: Maybe. If the fans demand it. Even RR Martin who writes Game of Thrones has fans that demand it.
CJ: So is Indonesia in the books at all?
NSM: No it’s in a fictional world.
CJ: Is there any place that seems a little like Indonesia?
NSM: No, my inspiration is mostly environments from the Northern Hemisphere, so the mountains are based on Boulder and Colorado, and the flora and fauna are based on Eurasia. Most dragon mythologies came from Northern or Western Europe, or Eastern Asia.
CJ: And haven’t you had them for sale at the Boulder Book Store?
NSM: Yeah, I did.
CJ: Did they sell them?
NSM: Yeah, they sold them.
CJ: So how does writing make you feel?
NSM: Writing makes me happy because when you write a story like this you are able to create your own world, filled with characters of your own. That’s the fun of writing a novel, you are able to make your own world and you can create a universe where such things can happen.
CJ: So have your friends here read them?
NSM: I think some of them have although I haven’t heard any feedback from them. But of course people around Boulder know me because of my hat, and that helps me with increasing the popularity of the books. When they ask me I tell them my major and when they ask about that I tell them it’s because I’ve already written 4 novels, and they ask me where to get them and-
CJ: Is that what you’re going to focus on this summer, writing number 5?
NSM: It could be this summer or it could be after I finish in December, although my parents have other plans. I kind of think of my job as a novelist, but there are some other things I am thinking about doing as a side thing.
CJ: I know you’ve enjoyed teaching also in Indonesia as well…
NSM: I’m not really a teacher, just a special guest. I haven’t heard any news of schools that want to have me as a special guest yet.
CJ: Thank you very much for telling us all about your work.
To learn more about Narendra's writing, please visit his facebook page here