Hello and thanks for being here today. We are today's stop on the There Comes A Prophet Blog Tour presented by Xpresso Book Tours. We have an interview with author David Litwack.
There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication date: July 9th 2012
by Double Dragon Publishing
Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?
A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.
Nathaniel has grown up longing for more but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.
If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:
“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”
About the author:
The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.
Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned. There Comes a Prophetis his first novel in this new stage of life.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.
I was walking along one of my favorite beaches near my home on Cape Cod. To my right was Martha’s Vineyard rising up from the mist and to my left were inlets common to the Cape’s ragged coastline. The first and smallest was called Little Pond, with just a few homes around it. The next was the much bigger Great Pond. For some reason, I started imagining a young man, who’d grown up in the smaller village, feeling limited and wanting more from life.
At the same time, I was thinking about the trends of the day, about the rise of a fundamentalism that distrusts science and is adverse to modernism. Yet these same folks were quick to use cell phones and computers to organize, and the first to seek modern medicine when they became ill—all technologies that would never have come to be if their ideologies had prevailed.
The two concepts—a young man limited and a society that limited him-- came together, and the world of There Comes a Prophet was born.
It took a year to write on the first try. Then I put it aside and wrote a couple of drafts of The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. After that, I went back with a much sharper pencil, figuratively speaking, and spent another six months editing.
How do you go about your world building?
It’s most important to view the world through the perspective of those that live there. There Comes a Prophet is filled with things familiar to all of us but are alien and mysterious to the people of that world. I also had to be careful with language. If I had a choice between two words, I’d check their origin and pick the older one, especially if it had a Saxon or Middle English derivation, rather than Latin. I tried not to use words whose origin was newer than the seventeenth century, unless I had no other choice.
Can you share your journey to publication with us?
The initial version was submitted to about thirty agents. Some requested the full manuscript, but none accepted it. I put it aside and worked on a second novel. After about a year and with some improved editing skills, I went back and tightened it up. In the intervening time, the publishing industry was undergoing a dramatic change. The Indie revolution was born. A slew of high quality, mid-sized publishers were bringing more original books to market, books that the profit-oriented corporate masters of the big publishers wouldn’t take a risk on.
I searched for such publishers in my genre and found Double Dragon.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Hemingway for simple, precise language; Steinbeck for rich settings and intensity of characters, Arthur C. Clarke for thoughtful sci-fi and Tolkien for world building and . . .well . . .just being Tolkien.
Some of my favorite books? Hemingway’s For Whom the Bells Tolls, Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown and Of Mice and Men, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, The Little Prince, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And of course, The Lord of the Rings.
If your book had a theme song or album, what would it be?
May it be (an evening star shines down upon you) – from The Lord of the Rings
When did the writing bug bite you and what inspires you as a writer?
The urge to write first struck me at sixteen when I was working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights—the only time I’ve ever seen them. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean, who encouraged me to write an article each night for the next day’s issue. In any case, I was hooked.
What inspires me to write are those people in my head who have stories they want to be told.
What are you working on now?
I just finished final edits of a new novel, Along the Watchtower. It’s a mainstream fantasy about an Iraq war veteran from a troubled family background, who has been severely injured in an IED attack. Prior to the attack, he coped with hardship and tragedy by playing World of Warcraft every chance he had. Now, suffering from traumatic brain injury and PTSD, he lapses in and out of a dream world like in the fantasy game. But unlike World of Warcraft, his quest is not for gold or a higher level, but to find a reason to live
I’m also far along with an alternate world story called The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. It’s about a world divided between the Blessed Lands, a place of the spirit, and the Republic, whose people worship at the altar of reason. A mysterious nine-year-old girl from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a troubled couple in the Republic and changes everyone she meets. She reveals nothing about herself, other than to say she’s the daughter of the sea and the sky. But she harbors a secret wound she herself cannot heal.
For more of an advance look, you can check them out at www.davidlitwack.com.
How has the experience been since your book was published? Anything really memorable or stands out?
As with most things in writing, there’s a lot of hard work. Now, in addition to writing, I spend a lot of time reaching out on social networks and blogs like this one. The most rewarding part— hearing from readers and knowing the book is being read. My best moment came when I received the cover from my publisher. I opened the image and there they were—Orah and Nathaniel, my friends who I’d lived and suffered with for years, come alive on the screen in front of me.