Author Aaron Gansky Talks About His New YA Novel

hand of adonai smallerWow! 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

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.

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Bring A Cowboy Home Giveaway and Interview with Author Gloria Doty

Gloria Doty pic-3I found another book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I received an advanced copy of Bring A Cowboy Home to review. I love a good December romance and this is better than good. Gloria Doty has two non-fiction books to her credit Not Different Enough and A Bouquet of Devotions this is her first novel. I’ve ask her to come and talk about Bring a Cowboy Home and tell us her creative process. It will be coming out on February 11th. Here’s a bit about the book from the back cover.

Relationships are never easy, especially when everything seems to be conspiring against you.

Louisa Crowder is a successful businesswoman from Chicago. When she meets Cal Frasier, a handsome rancher from Magnolia, Texas, it feels like someone’s lit a match on a forest fire. The only problem: Everything seems to stand in their way.

With the opinions and objections of their adult children, their totally different lifestyles, secrets from their pasts, and their completely opposite views of their faith in Jesus Christ, can Louisa and Cal fan the flames and find happiness, or are their obstacles too insurmountable to overcome?-bpfbt bring a cowboy home-res

By the way I love those boots, Gloria. Take a seat at the kitchen table while I steep some Chocolate Chia Tea. Help yourself to a Blueberry Danish.

After reading Bring a Cowboy Home I have a few questions I am dying to ask.

Why a romance between a couple as I like to refer to them circling 60? Most romance focus on couples somewhere between 20 and 40 years old.

I thought with the millions of ‘baby boomers’ in our society, perhaps they were tired of reading about the young and beautiful people. Perhaps they would enjoy reading about a romance that is a ‘second chance at love.’ Many people have the mistaken idea that once a person is 50, 60, 70, 80 or beyond, they don’t need love or romance any longer. Nothing could be further from the truth. My characters are healthy, viable, sexual people.

You live in Fort Wayne Indiana but you settings are Texas and Illinois. You actually put Lucy (Louisa) in a home in Batavia, Illinois. That’s the next town over from Aurora where I live. Why there? And how did you research these two places to get the geography right?

With Lucy’s business, she had to be in a large city. Chicago is the closest to me. It also has a reputation for dishonest, unscrupulous government. My sister and her husband live in Batavia and we have had many discussions about the perfectly good houses that are torn down to build a new and larger one.

My daughter and family live in Cypress, Texas. It is close to Magnolia, Tomball, Montgomery and Spring, Texas. I have enjoyed visiting these towns when I visit my daughter, so I used them in the story.

How long did it take for the idea for this story to grow into a novel?

The idea formed in my head on the way home from a writers’ meeting, where I was a guest. I went home and began the story. I knew the end line before I filled in the rest of it. I wrote it in 3 weeks. I fell in love with my characters and their lives, so I continued the story for 2 more novels. They were written over a short time, also.

Lucy refers to Cal as Marshal reminiscent of the old Gunsmoke TV show. In your mind does Cal look like James Arness ( the actor who played Marshall Dillon) or someone else?

No, not James Arness. In my head he looks like Dylan Neal who plays Jack on Hallmark’s Cedar Cove. I purposely asked the cover designer to NOT use ‘people pictures’ on the covers because I want each reader to visualize Cal and Lucy and Ben and the others, for themselves.

Cal didn’t look like Dylan Neal in my head, nor Marshall Dillon. You’re right, readers see the characters in the head much differently than the author does. 🙂

Tell me how you decided on the character traits of Lucy and Cal and why those particular characteristics?

With the exception of being wealthy, Lucy is a lot like me. Obstinate, headstrong, impetuous and has an “I can take care of myself’ attitude. Cal needed to be someone I could fall in love with…and I did. Too bad he isn’t real. He is patient, loving, and still, a man’s man.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Actually, maybe a bit of both. I like to works a scene out in my head to see if it feels right, but sometimes, my characters have a tendency to go off on their own.

What do you hope readers will take away with them after journeying with Lucy and Cal?

I sincerely hope they will realize there is no age limit on falling in love or on romance. People can be faced with many situations, but their love for each other will remain strong. Cal and Lucy do pray a lot together, also. I didn’t want the Christianity to hit people over the head; I wanted it to be evident that prayer can be an integral part of a relationship.

I know you have two more books planned in the series. Are Cal and Lucy still the main characters or do you share someone else’s story?

Cal and Lucy continue with their lives in the next two books. They face many things that typical people struggle with every day. Many of those things involve their adult children and grandchildren. These books are already written and with the publisher. The second one comes out in June and the third one in the fall.

I’m already looking forward to reading them.

Now, it’s time to ask the question I usual ask all the authors I interview. What is one tip you would give to a new novelists?

You can write about anything but make certain it is something or some character you feel a kinship with. It will be easier to describe their feelings and thoughts if you are ‘there’ so to speak. Also, find people who know the facts about an item or circumstance, if you don’t. I asked a friend who is very knowledgeable about guns for his expertise on the revolver Lucy carries. He told me what kind, as it was given to her by her grandfather, and what it was capable of doing. I found a person who works with EMTs to send me copies of the exact words an EMT would say to a mother about to give birth at home. (Second book) Even though you may be writing fiction, it still needs to be believable.

A Giveaway

Gloria will be giving away both and e-book and a paperback copy of Bring A Cowboy Home. Just request to be put in the drawing in the comments here or on my Facebook page. Winners will be announced on Friday. Don’t forget you can purchase a copy after February 11th. It’s already available on Amazon in e-book. Pass on this blog in social media and comment that you did and receive an additional chance to win.

More About Gloria

Gloria Doty is a Christian author, freelance writer, blogger and speaker. She has written articles for many magazines and is a regular contributor to a quarterly devotional. Her non-fiction book, Not Different Enough, was published in 2014 and was awarded the Writer of the Year award by the WTP Writer’s Conference. It is the transparent telling of the first thirty years of life with her daughter with autism, Asperger’s and intellectual disabilities. Gloria and her sister co-authored A Bouquet of Devotions, published in 2015.

Bring a Cowboy Home is her first fiction romance novel. Her love of Texas and the towns included in the book were her inspiration. Gloria has five children and thirteen grandchildren. She writes from her home in Fort Wayne, IN.

Contact Info: Gloria Doty blog on this site: Montage Moments Blog about life with my daughter, Kalisha


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