It’s my privilege to welcome RJ Mirabal today as part of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour! Let’s learn more about RJ.
Q:Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
A: I don’t know who choose whom, but from my earliest memories I have loved stories. And once I realized the difference between realism and speculative stories, it was the “weird” ones that had me hooked, first as a reader and then in my own childish creations. By junior high, I wrote a few little science fiction, adventure, and fantasy stories. So it went from there. Only the need to have to make a living in my adulthood kept me from a serious focus on writing, though I did try hard in my twenties, but the market was hard to break into at that time. Retirement from teaching has finally allowed me the freedom to write.
Q: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
A: I can create my own world and do all the research “between the ears.” Library research was always like pulling teeth without anesthetic for me, though I still do some in terms of the more realistic parts of my stories, but now the Internet makes it easier.
Q: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
A: Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, Tony Hillerman, Rudolfo Anaya, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare, Arthur C. Clark, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Bronte…. I could go on and on.
Q: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use? What inspires your world building?
A: I have included the hero, the dark lord, world building, created races, good vs. evil, the quest, and magic into my published book as well its sequels, but I’ve tweaked them quite a bit to make them my own.
My hero is an apathetic alcoholic, the “dark lord(s)” are actually less-than-impressive leaders of a not totally evil race, the quest is fairly standard, but magic is downplayed as a power of limited scope. My races are all a little odd and rustic, but the world I have built is my pride and joy.
I have used an alternative New Mexico as a high desert setting elevated to mythic heights—literally. The Medieval European type setting has been done to death. Since I grew up in New Mexico and always found it to be a unique and fascinating place, it only seemed right to make it a major part of my fantasy stories. New Mexico has a strange combination of terrain, climate, atmosphere that draw many artists, writers, and other creative people. I was lucky enough to be raised here so that the reality and magic of the place is deep in my bones.
RJ Mirabal loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe is his debut novel.
The Tower of Il Serrohe (the Rio Grande Parallax Series)
o Don Vargas, a man who has lost his way.
o A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico.
o Nightwing, a bat offering an unlikely hero a formidable quest.
o A Portal to another valley, the Valle Abajo, where lifestyles are primitive.
o Clans in the Valle Abajo begging for help to overcome the Soreyes, a wily clan terrorizing the valley for generations.
o A Tower erected by the Soreyes which seems to be a mysterious source of their power.
All this leads to a unique modern fantasy involving curanderas, an alcoholic looking for escape from the failures of his life, an enigmatic bat who manipulates events behind the scenes, adventures, a beautiful woman, and more surprises in this contemporary New Mexico-based tale.
Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is now available. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:
Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (release date coming up in mid-July 2015):
It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a sixteen-year-old honor student and athlete, suffers a mysterious accident and dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. Next, a bat repeatedly slams its body against her window during a powerful wind storm and she hears a whispering in the darkness.
It is the bat, Nightwing, who persuaded Don to take on his mission in The Tower. Nightwing begins to persuade Esther, Don’s younger cousin, to use her intelligence and resourcefulness to drive away the Soreyes from the Valle Abajo—the valley of her dreams. As she shares these disturbing details with her best friend, Markey, they both worry Esther is going insane.
However, new dangers threaten when word reaches the Valle about a murderous clan in the far away Mountains of Sky east of the Valle while in the west there lives another band of Soreyes. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence lurks in the background as the saga of the Rio Grande Parallax continues.
For a limited time, RJ’s first book, The Tower of Il Serrohe, is available in Nook and Kindle formats for free on his publisher, Black Rose Writing’s site: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/ebooks