As part of my In the Armchair series, I’d like to welcome Daryl Rothman to the blog. Shakes imaginary pompoms and does a back flip.
Daryl and I met during my early days on Twitter when we moved in the same writer circles. It must have been about 2012. He’s one of those wonderful internet acquaintances who I consider a friend. Fast forward seven years, and we are both part of the same publishing house.
Daryl’s debut novel had a rocky start when his first publisher went under. I’m so happy that he has found a home at Evolved Publishing and hope you’ll support David Rose’s journey out into the world. It is released today.
The Awakening of David Rose
Author: Daryl Rothman
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Editor: Kirstin Anna Andrews
Senior Editor and Interior Designer: Lane Diamond
Cover Artist: D. Robert Pease
Immortality isn’t just about living forever; sometimes, it’s about forever refusing to let things die.
If David Rose could have one wish on his 15th birthday, it would be for things to go back to the way they were. Yet this week alone, he has suffered nightmares, been chased by bullies, and nearly drowned. Not to mention an encounter with a mythical creature he tells himself couldn’t possibly be real. Soon, he will stand with little sister Rachel before the grave of their mother, where he will pledge to learn the truth about what really happened that terrible evening a year previous.
Yet his quest for truth could awaken a sinister plot centuries in the making.
David must awaken in time—to the incredible truth, to his newfound powers, and to the realization that to protect his family and survive in the world he’s always known, he must come to grips with the dark secrets of a world he never knew existed.
In the Armchair: Daryl Rothman
What are the themes of your novel?
The plot was driven by notions of conflict and antipathy. There is—sadly, but undeniably—so much conflict in the world, that it struck me one day, what if some hostilities endured across lifetimes? I’m not necessarily a reincarnation adherent, but I thought, what if? From there, as the story built out, time became the next, perhaps most influential theme. What are those things that endure, good, bad and otherwise? Immortality might be freighted with magical, wondrous notions, but what of its dark side?
David, our protagonist, quickly realizes that it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Even in an immortal world, time can prove the most fleeting of commodities. Beneath it all, what are the ties that bind? Those bonds which preserve us—no matter the lives and lifetimes we might have lived—must, at the end of all things, see us through.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people?
The protective relationship between my children David and Rachel is at the heart of the story, and the protagonists are named for them. There are eight years between them, and I still get verklempt any time I contemplate those earliest signposts of their bond.
I was with the kids at a park years ago and Rachel–not yet two–was playing in a field. I may have been distracted by my phone or whatever else but I recall a look of concern spreading over David’s face and he gave me that split-second “You’re the father. Aren’t you going to do something?” look before realising I was clueless and rushing over to his sister. An enormous, buzzing bee–unbeknownst to Rachel–was circling just above her. David had always had a pretty healthy fear of them, probably accentuated by his knowledge that his grandmother and therefore possibly he, was extremely allergic to their stings. But seeing that his father not yet pieced together what was unfolding, he shot in, scooped Rachel up in his arms just as the angry insect prepared to alight upon her, and back-pedaled quickly out of harm’s way.
A small thing, perhaps, but it moved my heart. He understood that his actions could be injurious to himself; so too did he understand that inaction could prove catastrophic for the little sister he’d already come to watch over with such vigilance and care. And there it was: the heartbeat of my tale.
Which authors have influenced how you write?
This might sound funny, for someone publishing a YA Fantasy series, but the scribes who influence me most are from different genres. To me, the greatest living writer is Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian is probably the best thing I’ve ever read. McCarthy plies some gritty terrain, dark, but it’s brilliant (and yeah, sometimes bloody). Every time I read him, I want to go write, and write well.
Another is Erik Larson, one of the finest nonfiction writers out there. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and even correspond with him a bit. His work is so tight. It reads like taut fiction, but rendered with unassailable fidelity to the subject matter. I’ve a tendency toward overly florid prose, and Larson’s work reminds me to tell a good tale, but keep it tight. Clean, spare prose, he once exhorted. Hear, hear. I even published a guest-post about how great nonfiction can be the fiction writer’s greatest tool.
Are you working on a new manuscript?
Yes, and I’m behind! Aren’t we all? But I’ve got a deadline, and that’s a good thing for me! Book II in the David Rose Series: David Rose and the Forbidden Tournament. I’m excited about it. It continues where Book I leaves off, and sees David and company trying to come with terms with the life-changing events of the first book. The stakes are graver than ever, the action intensified, and I’m having fun with it. I hope readers will enjoy it! I also occasionally drift back over to two literary-suspense manuscripts I’ve penned, and which I hope to also publish.
Which other creative pursuit would you love to excel at?
Perhaps another curveball here, but I’d love to be one of those animal wranglers/advocates, like Steve Irwin. I was heartbroken when he died. Is that a creative pursuit? I’m not sure, but I love animals, and to be able to work with them, protect them and their habitats, educate folks and encourage conservationism, that would be terrific.
I am admittedly petrified of certain creatures—sharks (saw JAWS as a young kid), snakes, a few others—and limiting myself to the gentle, furry ones would surely mitigate my aspirations. I’ll leave it to the professionals, and I admire them greatly. I have a number of animal-related scenes in my novel—some of favorite scenes, in fact—including some inspired by the inexplicable, almost magical connection with some creatures my daughter seemed to possess from her youngest days.
From the time he was a young child, Daryl Rothman wanted three things: to be a father, a writer, and play baseball for his hometown Cardinals. Two of three ain’t bad.
Daryl’s YA/Fantasy novel, The Awakening of David Rose (Evolved Publishing, 9 September 2019) is the first in a series of three. It was inspired by (and the protagonists named for) his children David and Rachel, and the protective relationship between them.
Daryl has written for a variety of publications, and recognitions include Flash Fiction winner for Cactus Moon Press, Flash Fiction second place winner for Amid the Imaginary, and Honorable Mention for Glimmer Train’s New Writer’s Short Story Award Contest.
Daryl is working on Book II of the David Rose series. He lives in St. Louis with his wife Linda, and their (now) three children.