ABOUT RG'S CHARACTERS
I am drawn to everyday, affable but damaged souls, world-weary beyond their age. My characters’ ability to maintain a sense of humor despite intense, desperate situations is owed to their years of self-protection against the struggle to navigate daily life.
A special note about Spencer: My children (adults now) continue to be the greatest source of elation in my life. My wife and I see our kids less and less these days, and those moments remind me of a painful truth: Watching your children grow up will tear your heart out even as it spills over with pride. Sharing in the purity of their earliest years, sensing their giddy hope and dread as their reach into the world expands, witnessing euphoric triumphs and gut-punch disappointments on the road to adulthood… The echoes of this rapturous, tragic privilege, along with plenty of personal experience from imperfect parenting, are written into Spencer and his discovery of a world that’s at once glad to meet you and wants to eat you.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
While picking through a bowl of mixed nuts, avoiding the Brazils, I wondered if other nuts were named for their place of origin. I daydreamt of a magnificent city out there named Macadamia. And I sorta found it. Then I sent twelve-year-old Spencer Delucian looking for it.
While documenting Spencer’s mystical quest, I asked myself, Which parts of Spencer’s odyssey are real and which are fantasy? As the answers revealed themselves, the parallel retelling came into focus. Evade the Dark is the result.
ABOUT THE PARALLEL FORMAT
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
The Search for Macadamia, a Quest Most Noble and Evade the Dark both follow one set of events, told from radically different points of view. In Macadamia, we experience the epic quest as Spencer lives it. In Evade the Dark, we experience it from Madi’s perspective. Spencer’s experience is for kids but not just for kids, while Evade the Dark is just for grown-ups (16+).
The typical parallel format is a retelling of a very old story, told from a villain’s point of view. Where literature gave us flat, one-dimensional villains, enterprising authors have taken up their cause. Grendel seems to be the first, written in 1971 by John Gardner. Grendel was the monster in the epic poem Beowulf who tormented a British town. Garner’s work is a philosophical journey of western civilization.
More importantly, cherished reader, The Search for Macadamia + Evade the Dark is a new take on the parallel retelling. They are the first pairing to be published simultaneously and without one of the books voiced by a villain. The novels each stand alone and can be read in either order. (In my opinion, Macadamia comes first. –Evie) Together they offer a one-of-a-kind reading experience that can be shared by young readers and their grown-ups.
ABOUT MAGICAL REALISM
Here's an escape hatch definition of magical realism from author Luis Leal: “If you can explain it, then it's not magical realism.”
If that doesn’t work for you, here’s a more academic take: Magical realism should be mostly realism. The setting is recognizable and universal physics apply (mostly), therefore significant world-building is not required. Possibly the most significant feature of the genre is that the story isn’t about the magic. The magic elements probably are not instrumental in resolving the central conflict (assuming it’s resolved at all).
I use this genre label to explain Spencer’s experience because we’re not sure what’s real. The magic Spencer encounters is considered commonplace to each locale he visits. Sentient coyotes run a ranch of unwary sheep? Meh. That’s just how it is there. More profound are the unexpected, occasionally cruel realities he discovers, about the world and himself.
ABOUT THE CONTENT GUIDANCE
The content guidance for Macadamia, found in the front matter, reads: “Battle conflict including deadly swordplay, extreme peril, adolescent behavioral health, slavery.”
For skeptical grown-ups, please know these topics ignite the plot but Macadamia is not an advocacy story. It’s meant only to entertain you and your young readers.
When should grown-ups start the conversation around adolescent mental health? When should grown-ups start the conversation around modern day slavery? These are personal questions. Experts suggest you start generally with broad, uncontroverted facts. Don’t overwhelm. Don’t burden kids with aspects of the world they can’t yet influence. For teachers, parents, etc. who want to talk about these issues with young readers, you can find a discussion guide for Macadamia here.
The front matter of Evade the Dark includes this sentence: “This book includes content some readers may not wish to encounter. Saying more here equates to spoilers. For content guidance, see the Author’s Note at the back of the book.”
For book clubbers who want discussion questions on Evade the Dark, go here, but watch out for spoilers there too.
I’ve been scribbling for decades, professionally and for joy. These are RG’s debut novels.
I’m a mechanical engineer, which is to say I have the degree, not that I approach engineering in a mechanical fashion. My dedication to narrating our dogs’ thoughts in demeaning, stereotypical voice characterizations was meager preparation for the rigors of playing Evie in the audiobook. I have had permanent addresses in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Good fortune brought me to Salt Lake City where I live today with my gracious and supportive wife. Chili and Pepper are Utah natives.
I am delighted and confused by the world.