'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 11 April 2011

Guest Post: Writing Destiny with Anthony La Riccia

Win a copy of the new Australian YA novel, Destinyclick here to find out how!

Author Anthony La Riccia tells us about his path to writing his first novel...

Since I was very young, any type of story has always fascinated me. From stories of action and romance to stories with comedy and sadness, it was and still is very rare to find a book I have not liked. Growing up, I loved reading the Goosebumps and Animorphs series, something that inspired me to use my creative mind to explore worlds beyond my imagination.

When I was a teenager, living in a house with five brothers and loud parents became quite chaotic. To escape the chaos I called home, I would spend my free time playing solitaire on my computer and blasting my music full blast through my headphones. Within a short period of time, I began to envision worlds and stories panning out before my eyes, exactly as if I was watching a movie.

It wasn’t long before I soon discovered that every song I heard could be transformed into a scene. Being a music loving person, it wasn’t long before I had a MP3 player and then IPod to help me continue to image these stories of everyday humans becoming heroes. Battles with monsters and all types of beasts, many of my favourite characters from movies and television shows made appearances to assist the heroes in stopping great evils.

One night over two years ago, I had the strangest dream. Even now, it is still vivid in my mind as if a memory of an event. I was in a large city, although I can never be sure what city. Everything is ablaze, the sky filled with the darkest red I have ever seen. The sound of thunder drew my attention to a strange shape in the sky. To me, it was a large demonic beast, complete with horns and large fangs.

I thought I was having a nightmare but before I could even move, a small light drew my attention below the monster. A single boy with dirty blonde hair stood before the beast, holding up the shiniest sword. Red, white, green and blue lights continued to glisten from an odd necklace he wore and the boy and monster screamed at one another, although I could not understand what was being said. Before I could move or even react, the monster leaped forward as the boy flew in the air towards it.

The next thing I know, I hit my hand on the bedside table and awoke from the pain, angered I could not see how it ended. I went to work the next morning and began telling people of my dream, who only laughed as it was not the first vivid and crazy dream I have had nor will the last.

Determined to finish the dream, I began my usual routine of playing solitaire while watching the scene unfold but I could never picture anything other than what I saw. That changed one day when I found a song that matched the final battle and slowly, a new scene took place. Within days, I had characters. Within a week, I had the plot.

I don’t even remember starting to write it down but I did. Before I knew it, I had my first draft completed and Destiny was created. I could not stop there however. Soon, Destiny became the first in a trilogy. The more I listened to songs, the more scenes appeared. It wasn’t long before The Bomcard Trilogy became the first in a long line of ideas and stories.

Stories of gods and angels soon took over, along with stories of time travel, dimension travel and even humans with superpowers. Soon, I was off in my own world again, determined to become one of the best authors the book industry has ever seen. With ideas for future stories and sequels in mind, I continued with The Bomcard Trilogy, finally completing Destiny two years after I first began.

After first beginning to write Destiny, I began to spend every moment with my laptop. My family and friends began to laugh at my new best friend as it travelled with me everywhere and even now to this day, it never leaves my side. I remember family days at my grandma’s or even my mum’s where everyone would come looking for me, hiding away in the lounge room or dining room and typing away in complete silence.

My family became my biggest supporters. My younger brother Adam became my reviewer: the moment I had a new scene I was excited about, he was the first to read it and tell me how good it was or why it did not work. Soon, mum became involved as did my younger brother, then my aunts and uncle and finally the rest of my family. Everyone had their own ideas and insights and offered me the best advice they could.

So the main story was established. Without giving away too much, the trilogy is quite complex but simple at the same time. A teenage boy named Lucas Swanson is an orphan living in the familiar city of New York, who discovers one day that he is not only from another world but is also half elf. After having very vivid dreams of a deadly battle between magical creatures being fought in the city (wonder where he gets that from), he discovers he must return to his home world to prevent such an event and stop a great and powerful evil.

The complex part is more in the text itself. Lucas is a very reluctant hero. He is constantly told to be something he does not wish to be and throughout the story, must learn to accept who is truly is. I wanted to write a story with consequences, something I have not read about in many books. There are always battles, good defeats evil and so forth. Yet, there are consequences. What happens when our world, a world where fantasy creatures are all fake and part of stories, actually becomes real? When friends die in battle or for no reason at all? When you are forced to be something you do not wish to be?

The trilogy was always intended to not only be loved by everyone but also to make you think. Some people may not get all the underlying issues, some may. Everything that is said and every action, there is a reason it is there. It all leads to consequences and actions. It is something I have never read before, something that can be interpreted in so many ways.

My main reason for writing Destiny is in a way very selfish. While I did do it to finish the story I had envisioned and to share it with the world, I wanted to feel as if I gave something back to people. To be able to say to my kids one day, ‘Hey, your old man wrote that!’ and then have them rolled their eyes in embarrassment. Just to see my book on the shelf, no matter how well it sells and even if it does not sell one copy, is enough to make me the proudest man alive.

With Destiny about to be released, I now must concentrate on my second novel Acceptance to continue the journey of Lucas Swanson and his friends. Who knows what the future holds for me and my new friends and only time will tell but if you all want to come along for the ride, you are more than welcome.

Win a copy of the new Australian YA novel, Destiny - click here to find out how!

Read more about author Anthony La Riccia and his new book, Destiny, the first in The Bomcard Trilogy, on his website - thebomcardtrilogy.com.