My heart and motive have always been for people who are hurting. These can be kids who have had to suffer through child abuse or neglect or an absent parent which can be equally torturous as was the case in The Jupiter Chronicles. It can also be young girls who have suffered an assault like Haven did in Haven of Dante. Young or old it doesn’t matter. Those are the kids and adults I want to speak to because I’ve been there.
It’s not just Science Fiction.
It’s Science Fiction for the Human Condition.
BBB: What inspired you to become a writer?
LR: It was my 2nd year of college when in my English course we were asked to write a short story as an assignment. The professor I had was not the easiest to please but she was kind enough. I was worried sick after turning it in because I just didn’t have the confidence to do the assignment even though I thoroughly enjoyed the process. When my paper was returned, the “review” was glowing! I was elated at the fact that I had finally found something that I could throw myself into and love!
Since then my inspiration has shifted from the praise of a wonderful guide. I can’t help to ponder deeply as to why we are who we are. What motivates us to treat others the way that we do. What drives us to do wrong is an easier question to answer than what drives us to do right. Do we do a good thing to be noticed or because it’s the right thing to do? I question everything in my heart of hearts. I’m finding more and more that I can play these questions out in prose while adding my two cents to the equation. I know it may sound as if the words in my books are plagued with deep constant nagging. To the contrary, there is action galore. I get bored rather easily so if there isn’t something happening with the next few paragraphs I’m closing the book. Behind the action there is always a looming question and more than not a simple answer.
LR: I was in the kitchen of our one-bedroom apartment at the time when I asked my wife, “what would you do if you were given the choice, at the point of death, of going into a beautiful paradise free of pain, want and sickness or return to this world where there is not only all of those things but an unresolved conflict with your father?” She looked up at me quizzically. “Do you think that would make a good book?”
“Nah,” she responded.
‘No’ to me is throwing gas on a fire. But I think she knew that. So off I went and added more to the story. The person would have to have every reason in the world not to come back and they would have to be forced into a decision which in most cases happens because of a family history. After a few hours of back and forth with my wife, Haven of Dante was born. I had originally written it as a prose novel but Markosia Enterprises had taken an interest in it as a graphic novel. Two years later Haven: The Graphic Novel was on the shelves in comic stores everywhere. The problem is that the comics/graphic novel market is a tough nut to crack so even though it received glowing reviews Haven was left as a one-shot.
Given the history of the Dante Family and the fact that there is so much more story to tell, I asked for the prose rights back from Markosia which they obliged.
We’ll see how the prose book does.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Haven?
LR: She’s had a tumultuous relationship with her father because of his obsession with his work. She is unaware of the legacy that her family name carries and would have no interest in it if revealed to her. The confidence that she has comes as a result of her martial arts studies which she has done for years. She doesn’t understand why Beatrice (her mother) puts up with a dad who is never around. The money that they have represents the years of neglect imposed on her by her dad and she lets him know it. The love that she knows to give she learned to receive from her mother Beatrice. She has fears like the rest of us. But those fears are compounded by a horrific event just before the “choice” is given.
BBB: Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit about the Nine Circles?
LR: After Dante Alighieri left the realm of the nine circles unscathed, the demons therein were incensed. So incensed that they formed a common objective. . .to wipe out the infestation known as man. They named themselves, “The Aristocracy” and they have been causing every ill on the surface ever since. Each leader of the nine embodies the nature of that circle and with a willing host, becomes an enemy of the Dante family. With the ability to possess weak minded humans they have infiltrated every level of society including government, corporations, etc. They are patient in their quest and find a real opportunity with stolen technology from Dante Tech to bring their plan to fruition.
BBB: What do you think readers will remember most about Haven of Dante?
LR: My hope is that people will remember that no matter what mistakes she made, whatever anger she might be feeling (even warranted) and however alone she might have felt, that she can make good choices for herself.
If she will.
LR: I’m currently working on the 2nd book in a Children’s Steampunk series titled, The Jupiter Chronicles, The Ice Orphan of Ganymede. The series as a whole tells of how Steampunk technology arrived on Earth and focuses on Ian and Callie Castillo whose father had been missing for five years. They travel to Jupiter on a steam ship to find a planet in tyranny.
They fight to contain the nine circles of hell described in the classic literature "Dante's Inferno."
Today, the nine circles have infiltrated the world at every level, operating as a secret society known as "The Aristocracy." The only thing stopping The Aristocracy from world domination is the Dante family line.
Now its Haven's turn to carry that torch.
Combining literary fiction with fantasy, this action-packed young adult adventure races through dimensions of paranormal, science fiction, and the supernatural.
Join in Haven's adventure now! (Amazon)