Yesterday I shared with you all my review of Aaru, written by David Meredith. Today, I am pleased to be bringing you an interview with the author about the book:-
First and foremost, please tell us a little about yourself
I’m a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. I received both my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. I also recently received my Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, I spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but I currently live with my wife and three children in the Nashville Area where I continue to write and teach English.
What inspired you to create Aaru?
A lot of my own personal questions about faith, life, and death actually. Aaru is first and foremost an entertaining and emotional YA/NA SyFy/Fantasy novel. It is at its core a story about the love of two sisters, and how they struggle to cope as the paradigms of what they’ve always been taught is true and good is challenged and shifted in a monumental way. However, Aaru also explores a number of what I think are fundamentally human questions: What happens when religion and faith conflict with technology and science? Is there a way to reconcile the two? What constitutes a human being or human soul? What would happen to religion and faith if the fear of death was removed from society? How would that change the way individuals choose to live their lives? In a world where people in power can essentially choose who is and is not saved, how should that determination be made? Who should be saved? Is the act of choosing winners and losers, judging who is righteous and worthy vs. who is not in and of itself even moral at all? I suspected that the answers would be a lot messier and more complicated than the utopian realization of John Lennon’s Imagine lyrics and lead to a great deal of conflict as people try to hash it all out. In the end, Aaru doesn’t really answer any of these questions, nor is it intended to, but it does speculate on what the answers of different people from different circumstances and indeed society at large might be. What I want people to get out of Aaru is an intensely emotional experience that stimulates some productive introspection even as they enjoy it as a compelling story about the fierce love of two sisters that transcends even death.
Given the issues brought up in the book, do you think a system like Aaru would be a benefit or a hindrance to society?
That is the question, isn’t it? And I don’t think it really gets answered – At least not in the first book. This is to a certain extent intentional. By not tacking out a particular attitude about whether Aaru is the savior of mankind or its destroyer, I try to invite the reader to think a little more deeply about the idea and make their own determination.
What has been the most difficult part of publishing the book?
The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day mostly. But seriously, promotion takes A LOT of time. I would much rather be working on volume two than hunting book review blogs and sending out hundreds of book review requests, but it has to be done if you ever want anyone to read your work. The trick I think, is striking a balance among creating new material, promotion, and the hundreds of other things that also have to get done for work and family.
What other books have you written? Can you tell us a bit about them?
I have one other book currently available on Amazon: The Reflections of Queen Snow White
What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
I also have a mostly finished series I hope to start releasing soon based upon Japanese myth and legend called The Sankei Chronicles:
On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Tenshuu in the neighboring barony.
At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.
In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.
Finally, of course, I’m about 95,000 words into the Aaru sequal – Aaru: Halls of Hel. I hope to release it some time in 2018.
Thank you to David for his time! If you haven’t checked out my review of the book and would like to do so, you can find it here!