Author Website: www.rjwilsonwrites.com
Awakening (The Wayman’s Code #1)
Release Date: 2/22/2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Blurb: In this explosive series starter, fifteen-year-old Maleek Warden discovers the existence of a Spirit Realm and the hostile beings that originate from it. As a lurking menace threatens to destroy the spiritual center housed in his city, Maleek and friends must master their newfound abilities in order to protect it. Lest the entire region fall into a new age of darkness.
1) Tell me a bit about yourself
I love reading, writing, spending time with loved ones, first person shooter games, and creating delicious meals (I’m the husband that cooks). I work as a cop at Kent State University and also as a member of the Ohio Army National Guard. With those two jobs, family life (to include a newborn), and a master’s degree in theology I’m pursuing, I tend to stay pretty busy.
2) Were you a big reader growing up?
Not at first. It started when a teacher gifted me the first Harry Potter book back around the third grade. She literally changed the trajectory of my life. I became an avid reader after that.
3) What made you want to become an author?
When I became a young reader, the passion for writing followed soon thereafter. I wrote story after story (I just never finished them). The passion became dormant during high school and was revived in college. To answer it simply, I wanted to write fiction stories because I love good stories and want to share them with others. I also write nonfiction material, and I do that because I want to share info that can help people in life. Entertaining and teaching is what it boils down to.
4) Do you still have a dream job or is this it?
My vision for my dream job comes in a threefold picture: I picture myself teaching full time (perhaps as a high school teacher, I’m still debating), writing part time (fiction and nonfiction) and teaching at my church some of the time. So no, I currently do not wish to be a full time author, although maybe when I’m older.
5) How has your experience been with Self Publishing so far?
When I first considered publishing I wanted to be traditionally published. I even sent an early copy of a completed manuscript (it was definitely not ready for trad publishing at that time). As I began to learn more about publishing, marketing, and paying attention to my busy life, I grew a desire for a publishing option that was more flexible, and would allow me to own the process. Self-publishing, as my selected poison, has been a very interesting, tough, and rewarding process. I can write at my own pace (which is crucial for me at this phase in life) and I don’t have to worry about a publishing company wanting me to remove content because it “doesn’t fit their publishing house”. This is important to me because I am a Christian writer but my writing can be pretty dark and my series will incorporate some pretty heavy and real life themes.
6) What made you choose to write Fantasy, and in particular Young Adult?
I’ve always loved stories with superpowers, special abilities, and all things that are abnormal. When we talk about special powers or abilities, these stories fit right in the young adult fantasy realm. Additionally, young adults are old enough to process terrible realities around them but still energized enough to believe and fight for an optimistic future. When a story shows a young super powered person that has to find their path in life through the tough decisions they have to make as they journey alongside their friends- I”m all for it.
7) In your own words, what is your book about? Any major themes or ideas that you hope come across to the reader?
In my own, non-blurby words, the book is about three things: First, it’s about pulling the cloth off the reader’s eyes to see a world that is animated by spiritual beings, both good and evil. It even teases you with some backstory and choices some of these beings make. Second, it is about these humans seeing the hidden forces that plague the world and about their journey to hone their special powers so that they can fight these sinister beings. Third, this fantasy story also grounds the reader in reality. For these are not just spiritual warriors, but they are also teenagers who must navigate high school, death of loved ones, career decisions, relationships, and morally ambiguous choices that will define who they become as they mature into adults. Regarding themes, some of the major ones are: the concept of a spiritual reality that lies beyond our world, how light can reach even the darkest of places, and the fact that life can sometimes be too complicated to throw simple “good & evil” labels on people and their decisions.
8) Do you have any particular book series or authors that inspired you to write this series?
This book is like the anime “Bleach” meets the tv show “Supernatural” meets the author “Frank Peretti”. Some of those influences inspired my own writing. I also liked how Michael Grant in his “Gone” series has a darker and gritty way of telling some of his stories.
9) What’s up next for you as an author? Are you continuing this series or working on something new?
Next on the list for me is “The Wayman’s Code: Darkness” which is book 2 of my current series (which I’ve already started and hope to have released in the fall of this year). In the long term, I plan on continuing this project until it becomes a five book series.
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