Interview with Novelist Aaron Dennis (The Adventures of Larson and Garrett)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Aaron Dennis: It’s about friendship. It’s about the struggle between good and evil, but it’s also much more than that. It’s about life, love, family, humor, and the struggles everyone has to face. The Adventures of Larson and Garret, Epic the First just happens to be set in a fantastical setting with magic, monsters, and mayhem, and I really think my blurb captures the essence:

A wicked daemon bestows great power on evil men in exchange for worship. An unlikely duo find friendship amidst war and chaos. Godly forces collide. Larson and Garrett are two simple, young men, yet they both have their own daemons. In the face of danger, of strife, they join forces and find friends among the elves, the dwarves, and the orcs. They find knowledge and faith among the Gods. Though an evil air has permeated the once great country of Ruvonia, the band of wizards and warriors join the cause of Prince Roan, for the Magickal Prince wishes only to vanquish that evil daemon called Lagos, that vicious daemon trying to gain enough worshipers to ascend as the new God of Destruction.

More than the blurb, The Adventures of Larson and Garrett is about a boy who loses his family, but he’s mentored into adulthood by a philosophical warrior who truly believes in doing the right thing, whatever that may be. Larson grows up and meets Garrett, who is also a valiant man, and together they find friendship by uniting against an evil daemon who is trying to conquer the world.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Fantasy, certainly, epic, too, it’s also jam packed with action and humor.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Amaze balls? Is that two words?

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Hands down, Army of Darkness. I have seen that movie well over a thousand times, and that is not an exaggeration. The kind of humor present in that movie is probably the kind of humor you’ll see in most of work–cheesy but but endearing.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

That’s a tough one to answer, but I’ll just go with what came off the top of my head: Point Number One by Chevelle; I think the music sounds like a raging inferno, and the lyrics are great. I love the video, too.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I could honestly give you one of my own titles. If I didn’t think they were the best, I wouldn’t publish them, but I’ll be humble and say Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda. I’ve read all of his books numerous times, and I actually applied Don Juan’s teachings to my life and found them to be effective. Anyone who is familiar with Castaneda’s works will see a reflection of that in my own work.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

That’s an interesting question, and there’s no simple answer. It all began with playing D&D in high school. Larson was one of my characters, and Garrett was a character that the DM also employed, which I know is a rarity in D&D sessions, but oft times, it was just me and David playing, so Larson and Garrett had many adventures.

One day, I decided that since my writing career was taking off, I was going to do an homage to David and D&D by writing some short stories based very loosely off our gaming sessions. Once the stories were written, all that really remained from our sessions were the characters’ personas and the sense of humor rampant throughout our gaming.

I used to just give the short stories out for free, but then I decided to compile them, rewrite them in novel form, and fill in the blanks, so to speak. The first epic came together very well, so that’s what I called it: The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, Epic the First. More epics will come once I’m done with my Dragon of Time series.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

It would have to be Don Juan from Castaneda’s books. I sincerely believe he was a real person, whether or not his name was really Juan Matus is irrelevant; he was real, and I’d love to have dinner with the nagual himself in order to better understand the intricacies of the second attention. That probably means very little to most people, but it means everything to me.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Life in general and living it. I live my life professionally. I am fully aware, I mean I truly comprehend that there are no survivors on this earth. That sounds morbid, but it isn’t; since we’re all going to croak at some point, why not live life fully? I only do what I want to do when I want to do it.

Sure, I’ve scrubbed toilets when I needed a job, and no, I didn’t enjoy it, but I still wanted to do it because I knew it was going to help me get where I wanted to be in life. Just because I don’t enjoy something doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it, you know? But I’ll only do something I don’t enjoy if I know it’s going to get me where I’m going in life.

We could totally get into a whole philosophical discussion here, but the short answer is that I just want to experience what life has to offer and that includes problems and struggles, because that’s how we learn what kind of people we really are. Then, if we don’t like who are, we know that we need to change, so that we can love ourselves, and only after that can we truly love others.

Ya’ might see a little of that in The Adventures of Larson and Garrett….

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Actually, you guys did a great performance of The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons. I know Gods and Dragons, and the Dragon of Time series as a whole, will make a great movie.

Obviously, it’s very difficult to turn a book into a movie, but I think you guys are really helping us indies out by offering your service, and since that first performance was marvelous, I figured I’d get you guys to take a crack at The Adventures of Larson and Garrett.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also trying to get more exposure for my work, all of my titles. As a writer, and an indie writer, I don’t have the luxury of an entire corporation. I don’t have teams of people from numerous departments doing all the legwork for me, so like all indies, I came to you, a trusted team of people with the proper resources and connections.

I certainly hope that together we do succeed. People will really like seeing my stories the way I see them when I write them.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Absolutely. I wrote an entire book on how to become a successful writer. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ll be short with my answer, though.

Rule, the first: Do not deal with negative people. Anyone can find a nice way to tell a writer that they need to improve their work, and some constructive criticism should be accepted with an open mind, even if the writer chooses not to employ the advice. Only a jerk will try to make someone else feel bad for following a dream or accomplishing a goal. DO NOT DEAL WITH NEGATIVE PEOPLE, and that really goes for all aspects of life.

Rule, the second: Success does not come overnight. I don’t care who it is in question. George Martin didn’t succeed overnight; he worked tirelessly on A Song of Ice and Fire, and he didn’t see widespread success until Game of Thrones. Dude’s been at it a long, long time.

Even Justin Bieber, like him or not, he did not blow up overnight; his dad put up YouTube videos for years before he was discovered, and even then, he worked very hard to become successful. You gotta’ keep plugging away especially when you think it’s hopeless.

That goes right into rule, the third: The only way to fail is to stop trying, so don’t stop trying. Once you quit, it’s over. Don’t quit, but do listen to other people especially if you’re a writer. People are the ones who buy your books. If people don’t like your books then maybe you’re the problem, but it’s a problem you can remedy.

I certainly don’t like it when someone trashes my cherished work, but you know, everyone has their own world view, and I won’t get down on myself just because someone else doesn’t like what I like. On the other hand, if no one likes what I’m writing then I can always write for me. Then, of course, I hire an editor to help transform my work into a story for a broader audience.

I mean if Rowling, King, and Martin have teams of editors, who am I to declare that my stuff is perfect as is? Furthermore, the versions of Harry Potter, Dream Catcher, and A Song of Ice and Fire that everyone’s read and enjoyed are not the versions those authors wrote; they are the versions their publishers released after editing them to make them more palatable to more people, so writers, drop your egos; open your minds; keep plugging away.

You all have my support, and I have plenty of free articles talking about all this stuff on my website http://www.storiesbydennis.com. Just click on the editing and free resources tab.

For all of you writers out there struggling, or aspiring writers who are just mulling it over: just do it, yo! The last thing you want to do is add another regret to your life. Even failure is better than missing an opportunity; you can learn from failure.

Watch the Novel Transcript:

Performed by Danielle Nicole

BUY on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Larson-Garrett-Epic-First/dp/1731228902

A wicked daemon bestows great power on evil men in exchange for worship. An unlikely duo find friendship amidst war and chaos. Godly forces collide. Larson and Garrett are two simple, young men, yet they both have their own daemons. In the face of danger, of strife, they join forces and find friends among the elves, the dwarves, and the orcs. They find knowledge and faith among the Gods. Though an evil air has permeated the once great country of Ruvonia, the band of wizards and warriors join the cause of Prince Roan, for the Magickal Prince wishes only to vanquish that evil daemon called Lagos, that vicious daemon trying to gain enough worshipers to ascend as the new God of Destruction.

****

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