The Christmas stories you never heard as a kid.
In the early 1800s, Nicholas, Jessica and Jon Santa attempt the first human trek to the North Pole and stumble upon an ancient race of people left over from the Ice Age. They are short, fat and hairy. They slide across the ice on scaly soles and carve their homes in the ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean. The elven are adapted to life in the extreme cold. They are as wise as they are ancient.
Their scientific advancements have yielded great inventions -- time-stopping devices and gravitational spheres that build living snowmen and genetically-modified reindeer that leap great distances. They've even unlocked the secrets to aging. For 40,000 years, they have lived in peace.
An elven known as The Cold One has divided his people. He's tired of their seclusion and wants to conquer the world. Only one elven stands between The Cold
One and total chaos. He's white-bearded and red-coated. The Santa family will help him stop The Cold One. They will come to the aid of a legendary elven
known as... Claus.
Some tall tales are true.
Sura is sixteen years old when she meets Mr. Frost. He's very short and very fat and he likes his room very, very cold. Some might say inhumanly cold. His first name isn't Jack, she's told. And that's all she needed to know.
Mr. Frost's love for Christmas is over-the-top and slightly psychotic. And why not? He's made billions of dollars off the holiday he invented. Or so he claims. Rumor is he's an elven, but that's silly. Elven aren't real. And if they were, they wouldn't live in South Carolina. They wouldn't hide in a tower and go to the basement to make...things.
Nonetheless, Sura will work for this odd little recluse. Frost Plantation is where she'll meet the love of her life. It's where she'll finally feel like she belongs somewhere. And it's where she'll meet someone fatter, balder and stranger than Mr. Frost. It's where she'll meet Jack.
And Jack hates Christmas.
Life hasn't been kind to Oliver Toye.
As if juvenile diabetes isn't enough, he's forced to live with his tyrannical grandmother in a snow-bound house. He spends his days doing chores and the nights listening to the forest rumble.
But when he discovers the first leather-bound journal, the family secrets begin to surface. The mystery of his great-grandfather's voyage to the North Pole is revealed. That's when the snowman appears.
Magical and mysterious, the snowman will save Oliver more than once. But when the time comes for Oliver to discover the truth, will he have the courage? When Flury needs him, will he have the strength? When believing isn't enough, will he save the snowman from melting away?
Because sometimes even magic needs a little help.
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR
Where did you come up with the idea of writing science fiction for holiday characters?
My nephew mentioned the “secret Santa ninja elves” that visit his school during Christmas, and this spawned the idea of writing a semi-serious sci-fi version of Santa. How the ideas flesh out is a long process. I started keep track of how the story arc of my latest novel evolves, just to remember where it began. It’s all over the place. I love the challenge of bringing a story to light, letting the characters get in my head and telling me where to go. Flury: Journey of a Snowman is the third book in the Claus series. It was originally Frosty the Snowman, but Frosty is copyrighted. It didn’t matter, really. The character was better suited to be something other than Frosty. Flury is a bit more serious.
Are you getting any backlash for rewriting these Christmas legends?
Not at all. In fact, a lot of readers have connected to all the unanswered questions surround them, especially Santa Claus. How does he go around the world in a night? Why is he fat? Why does he live on the North Pole? How do reindeer fly? How does he carry all those presents? All of them answered with the magic wand of science fiction… I mean, the science wand of science fiction. The stories still have the fantasy element, of course. Some leaps of imagination. And also the romance angle. Why? Because all stories have love.
What is your favorite character from the books that you have written?
Socket Greeny is one of my favorites. That science fiction trilogy was my first story. I wrote it in first person and really connected with him. However, Jack Frost is in Claus (Legend of the Fat Man) and Jack (The Tale of Frost) and has become my all-time fave. He’s childish, irreverent and dangerous, but at the same time lovable.
THE DISCOVERY OF SOCKET GREENY
Work has always come first for Socket Greeny's mother, ever since his father died. But when she shows him the inner workings of the Paladin Nation, he discovers why.
Paladins traverse the planet through wormholes to keep the world safe, but from what, they won't say. Although his parents were not actually one of them, Socket is different. He soon finds himself in the center of controversy and betrayal when he's anointed the Paladin Nation’s prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice and he doesn't want to be responsible for the world. He just wants to go home and back to school and be normal again.
But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mother tells him.
THE TRAINING OF SOCKET GREENY
A year has passed since the Paladin Nation was exposed to the public. Their mission is still to protect humanity from whatever may threaten them. Previously, it was the human duplications, but now that they've been extinguished their biggest challenge is dealing with the complications of public image.
Socket Greeny, now 17 years old, has been a Paladin cadet for the past year and is nearing the final test. But that's the least of his problems. He's trying to live two lives: one as a superhero while hanging onto his normal life. While fearlessly dealing with his masochistic trainer, he's trying to salvage his deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend back home. But Socket's greatest challenge is to find his true enemy.
He discovers that fear has many faces.
THE LEGEND OF SOCKET GREENY
The Paladin Nation is rebuilding. Socket Greeny is leading them into a new era of compassion and understanding. But when Pike returns, Socket discovers nothing is what he expected, that his life has been planned from the beginning. He is faced with ultimate betrayal.
In the end, he won't be asked to save the world. It'll be the entire universe.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
When did you start writing?
My first effort started with Socket Greeny. It was a story I started for my son because he hated to read. It didn’t work, but this character – Socket – took root. It was the first time I felt possessed by a character with a story to tell. It took me 5 years and countless rewrites to get it right. I waited by the mailbox after that, but the giant paycheck never arrived.
If you can’t make money, why write fiction?
I didn’t say you can’t make money. There are a lot of people out there with a good book, whether it’s romance, dystopia, science fiction or young adult. I’m just a minnow in a crowded pond. It took a good deal of networking and research to realize just how hard it is.
Thanks to epublishing, I can get the book out. That frees me up to write what inspires me. Writing is the true love. There’s something deeply satisfying to have characters come to life in your mind and watch their stories unfold. It’s a deeper experience than reading someone else’s story.
What do you want readers to get from your stories?
I’ve always been inspired by fearless writing that asked poignant questions; questions like who am I and what is the universe? Things that made me look at life slightly different; books that exposed a layer of reality. Writing in the young adult genre appealed to me most because that’s the age I really craved those questions and answers.
I want readers to see the world slightly different.
What is your favorite character?
I love a bad, bad antagonist that you can’t entirely hate; there’s some smidgeon of redemption you feel inside this demented, sorry character. Heath Ledger’s Joker. A despicable character that didn’t deserve an ounce of pity, but, for some reason, I didn’t hate him as much as I should have. It’s that character I find most intriguing. In The Socket Greeny Saga, the character Pike was my Joker.
John Lively was a mouth-breather that no one cared about. He was an over-sized sixth grader destined to be incarcerated. God wasted a body on him.
Harold was a curious loner that sat in the back. Unlike John's family, Harold's parents loved him. They just didn't have time for him. They spent days in the basement working on something that would change the world. Sometimes it was weeks. Harold was tired of being forgotten and pushed around. He pushed back.
That day would change the world.
That day would change him into the man he was destined to become. His curiosity would lead him to Foreverland.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
HOW IMPORTANT ARE NAMES TO YOU IN THIS BOOK. DID YOU CHOOSE THEM BASED ON SOUND OR MEANING?
Almost all of my books have names with special meaning, some foreshadowing a big twist. In The Annihilation of Foreverland, Reed’s name was symbolic of his ability to tolerate suffering, bending in the face of gale forces but never breaking.
WHERE DOES YOUR TOMORROW SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?
Sometimes, I can’t remember how the story started by the time I get to the end. The Annihilation of Foreverland started with the premise of identity. I wanted to write it as a YA book in the science fiction dystopia genre in a way that slowly unfolded as well as questioned who we are and explore our fear of death, and what we’re willing to do to avoid it. Like all of my stories, it does have a romantic angle mixed into the action. Because it should.
GIVE YOUR BOOK THE BECHDEL TEST. IT HAS TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO (NAMED) WOMEN IN IT WHO TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES A MAN.
I failed because there’s only one female in The Annihilation of Foreverland. However, the young adult sequel (Foreverland is Dead) passes with flying colors since its mostly female characters that rarely talk about men.
WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?
The bodies die, but not necessarily the characters. Chew on that a second.
DO YOU WANT YOUR TOMORROW TO MAKE IT BIG, AS IN JK ROWLINGS-BIG? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Believe it or not, no. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to make enough cash to pay off this house and send my kids to college, but I’ll pass on fame and fortune. Anonymity is a blessing.
YOU CAST YOUR CHARACTERS FOR A MOVIE. WHO MAKES IT?
In The Annihilation of Foreverland, I only casted two characters in my head while I was writing it. The Director is Jeff Bridges and Mr. Jones is Anthony Hopkins. It was like watching a movie as I wrote.
HAVE YOU WRITTEN IN ANY OTHER GENRES BESIDES YA DYSTOPIAN? WHAT DREW YOU TO YOU THIS GENRE?
I’ve been fascinated by consciousness, identity and what this all means since I was young. I would read my grandfather’s science fiction books with elements of artificial intelligence and alternate realities and wonder what happened when they died? I suppose that’s why all of my writing deals with the big mysteries of life in one way or another. In a way, I write for my own exploration, in a sort of thought experiment approach, pulling apart our identities, exploring what makes us who we are. If I lost my memories, would I still be me? If I had my body parts replaced with synthetic replications, at what point would I not be me? Do I even need a body?
What am I?
A few years ago, I figured I’d write a romance novel. Since all of my books have a romantic element, I thought it would be fun. Halfway through the novel, I found myself thinking more and more about the next project—a dystopian idea. So 40,000 words in, I scrapped the romance novel and got back to what I love. Science fiction.