Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BLOG TOUR [Guest Post] There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack

There Comes a Prophet 
by David Litwack
Publication date: July 9th 2012
by Double Dragon Publishing
Genre: YA Dystopian

Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?

A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.

Nathaniel has grown up longing for more but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.

If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:

“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

My Favorite Scene to Write in There Comes A Prophet

I’ve been waiting for someone to ask that. I don’t always have a favorite scene in my novels, but I’ve had one for Prophet since the first draft. The scene comes late in the book, so I’ll do my best to describe it without spoilers.

Lifelong best friends, Nathaniel and Orah, are imprisoned in adjoining cells, able to talk to each other only through a tiny peephole. Looming over them is the threat of a more complete and permanent separation. Nathanial asks Orah what she would do if she were set free. Here’s an excerpt:

“If none of this had happened, if we were free to go home and resume our lives, what would you have wished for most?”

“Do you think it’s a good idea to dwell on thoughts like that?”

He considered a moment. “Our dreams may be all we have left.”

“Very well,” she said. “Then here’s my list. I’d like to win a race at festival as an adult; to have you win someday, so I could place a wreath on your head and embarrass you in front of the whole village; to weave enough cloth one year to let my mother have some rest; to go with you to explore the mountain pass and discover the great ocean . . .”

Her voice trailed off. When nothing else was forthcoming, he assumed it was his turn.

“My list is short. If none of this had happened—no teachings, no vicars, no seekers, no keep—I’d have been content to spend the rest of my life with you.”

When she failed to answer, he peaked through the hole in the wall. She was seated sideways on the chair, one arm draped over the back, facing the common wall. The dim light of a candle flickered off her moist cheeks.

I’ve often wondered why I like this scene so much. I think it’s because it epitomizes the growth in Nathaniel’s character. He starts out idealistic, but his idealism is shallow, more a childish longing for adventure. As the story progresses, he learns the hardship that accompanies adventure and the ambiguity that comes with idealism.  Over time and through many trials, he comes to realize that the most important things in life can be the people nearest to you, his friend Thomas, and especially Orah.

That realization makes the choice he must face at the end all the harder: to be true to his ideals or to save his friends.

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned. There Comes a Prophet is his first novel in this new stage of life.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

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