My guest today is the author of the YA science fiction series Dark Revenant, the story of five kids who, traumatized from their past, rediscover their strength and friendship as they fight a common enemy. I really enjoyed this book and I'm thrilled to have the talented author, Garek Rohan, here today on Chimeras. Welcome, Garek!
EEG: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as a writer.
GR: I’m a pretty simple man. I live a quiet life, spending most of my time with my kids or writing (when I’m not at my full-time job). I began writing as a child of about 8. I was quite the poet back then, writing about anything and everything around me. My mom had mountains of my work stuffed in the closet. I began novel writing as a fan-fiction author for the old Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Series. I wrote 2 full-length novels based on some wild ideas I had about that universe and the characters in it. At the time, I was taking college English and the professor allowed me to submit my novel (a WIP at the time) as writing credit as I went along. She became my biggest fan and made time to read bits and pieces to the class.
From there, I had kids, and everything came to a screeching halt. After a divorce, I ended up in a somewhat toxic relationship that I ended after 3–1/2 years. But ending that relationship devastated me (separation anxiety and abandonment issues). So to pull myself up, I went back to writing. Thus, we have Dark Revenant. At the same time, I also penned a Historic Fiction novel about my Scottish ancestors coming to America, based on my mother’s extensive genealogical research. I’m still working on that one.
EEG: What was the inspiration behind your book Dark Revenant?
GR: My inspiration for DR came from a cool concept that popped into my head one day about 8 years ago. I knew there were unseen forces around us (ghosts, demons, angels, etc.) and I wondered what I would find if I had a pair of glasses that would allow me to see into that dimension. I started with one kid named Ethan, and he would discover an old pair of glasses that would allow him to see these things. But that soon turned toward the clichéd “chosen one” arena, and I wanted to steer clear of that. So Ethan turned into The Five and the glasses turned into the formula (and procedure) from the beings that would allow the kids to see into the beings’ dimension. Things took off from there.
Also, I wanted kids that could do extraordinary things, but not from some random happenstance. I did not want them to be superheroes with amazing powers. They do some pretty amazing things, but they are powerless without the beings. It’s a symbiotic relationship that makes both kid and being stronger. There are no costumes, altar egos, or secret identities.
EEG: There are some dark themes in the book, and struggles that in a way apply to every kid "coming of age," but there is also strong bonding and friendship. When did you decide to tell the story through the viewpoint of kids only?
GR: Although I had three younger sisters, I grew up very scared, lonely, and friendless. I found some old scrapbooks the other day, and my mom had written down the addresses of where we lived and when. I knew we moved a lot, but I was shocked when I did the math and discovered we move nearly twenty times in a two–and–a–half year period. Hence the no friends and loneliness thing. All I wanted was for someone to come along and help me. Someone I could be best friends with. Someone who would never leave me or hurt me. Someone who would guide me and set my feet on the right path, preparing me for life along the way. Well, no one ever came.
The feelings of loneliness were so painful that I still remember them today. And I’m sure that there are a lot of kids out there feeling the same way. I made up my mind that I would find a way to help those kids, to let them know that someone understands them and cares about them…that they are not alone. Hence my desire to tell the story through the viewpoint of the kids. I wanted to give them characters like themselves so that just maybe, for a little bit each day, they could become one of my characters and feel the things I longed to feel as a sad and lonely child.
I also wanted to help in other ways, for kids who struggle with serious issues such as cutting, drug dependency, anger, abuse, abandonment, low self-esteem, etc. So what better way to do that than write these characters and put the reader neck-deep in these issues through the characters viewpoint?
EEG: How many books in the series will there be?
GR: I plan a total of at least three novels in this series. Book Two is nearly complete with a planned release date of mid-march 2015. I may take the series deeper, depending on what comes to me in terms of ideas and fan feedback.
EEG: Can you give us a little preview of what's coming up next in the series?
I can give you the short blurb if you’d like:
The Five are now Four, one ensnared, the others shattered and broken.Since the kids had to hit the ground running in book one (with things not letting up until the end) I wanted a chance to explore their personalities more, so that my readers can get to know them better. Book Two is a completely different experience, the characters much more in-depth, and a lot more going on. There’s more humor, and these characters become even more real; more relatable, and more lovable. Another relevant issue come to light in the new book, but I think it will speak to the overall naiveté of Cayden and show people a different side of a major social issue. I love the process so far.
With time running out, they search for their lost sibling and train a new recruit.
The looming shadow of Praefectus threatens both the living and the dead. Only Jalen can defeat the Dark Revenant, but he must first master his Gift, understand his numbness...
...and let go of everyone he loves.
EEG: I know you struggle with dyslexia. How does that affect your writing?
GR: I struggle every day with those things as well as Adult ADHD. My mind is a cyclone, and a lot of pain and general nervousness from my childhood still comes into play. So each day, and sometimes each moment, is a battle. Not only in typing correctly and reading correctly, but in overcoming a deep seeded self–loathing to boot. I love to read but it’s such a struggle that sometimes I have to go away and do something else when the words no longer make sense. But I want kids, teens, and young adults out there who struggle with these things to know that there is hope. Don’t give up. There will be good days and bad. And that’s okay. These are the cards we’ve been dealt, let’s figure out how to deal with them in a way that benefits us. Never let your issues get the best of you. This isn’t something that goes away, so you find what works for you and continue to refine those things. Have patience with yourself; know that you’re not alone. Slow your mind down. Use a piece of paper as you read, keep it right under the line you’re reading so that words from two or three sentences down don’t jump up and insert themselves into the sentence. Also, do a search on a new font that’s out there now, specifically for dyslexics. I forget what it’s called but it certainly helped me with my reading. The letters and words stay together better and don’t jump around as much, and they’re much easier to distinguish.
EEG: Wow. I'm sure your experience can help and inspire a lot of kids. And I'm sure that's where Cayden's unique and compelling voice comes from. Thanks so much for sharing all this with us today, Garek.
To find out more about Garek and his books, visit him at AuthorGarekRohan.com or on instagram @garekrohan, Facebook, and ThirdScribe. Books are for sale at Amazon.com (Kindle and paperback) and at fine online retailers everywhere.