Wow! That describes the latest YA fantasy I read. Hand of Adonia: The Book of Things to Come was more than I expected. Aaron Gansky understands the dilemmas (real or imagined) of teens and shared them freely with his readers through his characters. I loved it so much I bought a copy for my 17 year- old grandson. He can’t wait to read it.
Today I have invited Aaron to join me for a Q & A on Writer’ Patchwork.
Here is the cover blurb to give you a peek at the story.
At first, Lauren Knowles is thrilled to find she’s “clicked” herself inside Alrujah, a fantasy game she created with her best friend, Oliver Shaw. But the exhilaration of serving as a magical princess fades when she senses a demonic force – one they did not create – lurking in the shadows.
Though they created a world of wondrous beauty blue-leafed forests, shimmering silver rivers, and expansive medieval castles Lauren and Oliver soon find their secret realm to be an ever-changing land of dark oppression and deadly sorcery. With the help of Aiden Price and Erica Hall, two friends from their high school in North Chester, the four teens must find a way out a way that can only be discerned from the dusty pages of the ancient leather-bound tome, The Book of Things to Come.
Faced with questionable allies, invisible enemies, and increasingly dangerous levels of difficulty, the four must learn to work together, to trust each other … or be forever lost.
Welcome, Aaron. I’ve secured the dogs in the basement. They were concerned you might bring some of the monsters from Alrujah with you. Take a seat on the couch and let’s get started.
Aaron how long have you been on this writing journey?
I’ve been writing all my life, but I’ve only been taking it seriously (as more than a “hobby”) since college. That’s when I made the decision to actively seek writing and publishing as a career. That’s probably more years ago than I care to admit. But you asked, so I’ll tell; about 15 years.
For those who don’t understand the term can you explain what the YA genre is and how it is different from writing for adults?
YA stands for Young Adult. It’s a term that describes literature that is aimed at high schoolers. Usually, the protagonists are younger, in high school themselves. Other than that, there’s not a major difference between YA and adult literature.
Tell our readers how you came up with your story idea?
I’ve always loved video games, especially role playing games like the Final Fantasy series and The Elder Scrolls. I wanted to write a book that could spoof that particular genre with all its tropes and archetypes as a type of homage. But somewhere along the line, the book became more than that. The characters came alive and I found myself really rooting for them. They’re in way over their heads, and the fact that they designed the game only adds to their confusion and fear.
What kind of research if any did you do?
I played a lot of video games and read a lot of fantasy novels. Still do. I like sitting down on a weekend, logging a few hours on something like Skyrim and calling it research. It’s really a win-win.
Even though I don’t play video games, I felt like that’s exactly where I was. The settings captured my attention. The battle scenes reflected the video game storylines. Which games did you use as part of the blueprint for your story?
As I said earlier, the old-school Final Fantasy games (specifically two, six, seven, and eight) gave me many of my ideas. But when I began writing, Skyrim had just come out. That was probably the primary game influence for me. It’s pretty immersive and deep, and it still amazes me how deep the games mythology goes.
What do you hope readers learn from Lauren and Oliver’s story?
More than anything else, I hope they enjoy the journey. I didn’t set out to make a particular point. I think that’s an easy way to fall into writing something that reads more like a brochure or pamphlet. Instead, I wanted to tell a good story. What readers learn from it is really up to them. But I imagine most will discover the power of perseverance and hope in even the darkest of places.
What is the key to writing well for a YA audience?
You have to be completely real and honest. These are savvy readers, and if you talk down to them, they’ll know it. Instead, I write like I would to an adult audience. I don’t pull a lot of punches in terms of prose. Of course, I do try to make sure my writing is clean. I want adults to feel comfortable putting this book in the hands of their teens. But the teens will immediately recognize these characters as tangible people with their own struggles and insecurities.
You captured my attention and left me hanging at the end. What can readers look forward to in upcoming novels. How many are you anticipating in the series? When are they coming out?
The second book should release in 2016 some time. I’m not sure exactly when, but when I find out, I’ll be sure to let everyone know. The series was intended to be a trilogy, but it grew beyond that, and now I’m looking at a four book series. Along the way, there will be more characters (both from North Chester and Alrujah), more excitement, more danger, more laughs, and more triumphs. The story will get deeper, and even a little darker. The stakes will rise, as they must.
Hey everyone we’re doing a give-away.
Aaron will give out an autographed copy of Hand of Adonia to a lucky reader. How cool is that. It’s simple to enter. Post a comment here or on Facebook. And if you post this blog on your FB page or other social media I’ll give you more chances to win this awesome book. Let me know in the comments that you did. I’ll contact the winner and send their info to Aaron. I’ll give everyone until Friday to comment.
Aaron Gansky’s Bio
In addition to being a loving father and husband, Aaron Gansky is an author, novelist, editor, mentor, teacher, and podcast host. In 2009, he earned his M.F.A in Fiction at the prestigious Antioch University of Los Angeles, one of the top five low-residency writing schools in the nation. Prior to that, he attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing where he studied, in part, under Bret Anthony Johnston, now the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University.
His first novel The Bargain (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was released in December of 2013. The first book in his YA Fantasy series Hand of Adonai: The Book of Things to Come was released in August of 2015. He has written two books on the craft of writing fiction; Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and Write to Be Heard (with Diane Sherlock).
Visit Aaron at his website. http://www.aarongansky.com
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