BBB: What inspired you to become a writer?
JC: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I’ve been aware of books. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t write. In 1995, I read Jack Kerouac’s novel Desolation Angels, and it totally blew my mind. His style, everything about it, was exactly how I wanted to write. It was an artistic awakening for me, and from then on, I seriously focused on writing.
JC: One of my main goals in creating LARP: The Battle for Verona was to write a novel that is appropriate for any audience. Many Christian parents don’t want their kids reading contemporary young adult, or fantasy novels, because of the controversial themes in those novels. So, I wrote a book that is thrilling, engrossing and suitable for everyone.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Dennis.
JC: Dennis is a 20-something live action role player, or LARPer, who is seriously considering giving up the game for good. He’s tired of dealing with his overzealous friend, Mark; he’s tired of his older brother’s constant put-downs; and he’s tired that he doesn’t have a girlfriend – particularly Alyssa, the one woman he’s been pining over for years.
Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, but there’s a chance to change that when a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb invades their hometown of Verona, a fictional island located off the coast of Washington State. With the US military out of options to save the island, the friends decide to do what any dedicated LARPer would do – put on armor, strap on swords and fight for their home.
BBB: What is the message you hope your story conveys?
JC: The message is that anyone can be a hero at any time. Social classification is meaningless. If you believe in yourself, you can overcome any obstacle.
JC: Follow me on Twitter @justincalderone or read my blog at justincalderone.com
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