Apr 3, 2015

Author Jared R. Lopatin Release Party Author Jared R. Lopatin Release Party and Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE Here!


Author Jared R. Lopatin Release Party

The Outerlands by Jared R. LopatinWhat book do you reach for when you’ve had a hard day? For myself, I always pick up my well-worn copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. There’s comfort in reading “It was a dark and stormy night” and knowing that I’m about to meet Meg Murry and the fabulous Mrs. Whatsit. It’s familiar and exciting and my body automatically relaxes as I dive headfirst into L’Engle’s world.
Growing up, I wasn’t the most popular kid. Hell, I wasn’t even close to popular. I was of the fringe group and as a teenager, that’s a tough place to be. I had a few friends with whom I would socialize, but my most reliable companions always waited for me between the pages of my favorite books. I made friends with lions, mermaids, and blacksmiths as I traveled to Narnia, Neptune, and New England. Reading wasn’t just a fun activity; it was a place where I was welcome and safe. A comfortable blanket to curl up in. It still is.

With my newest book, I wanted to explore the idea of retreating into the world of fiction as a means of escaping our everyday lives. In The Outerlands, Alex is looking for just that: escape. He goes to extreme measures to get it and ends up, quite literally, in a familiar story. Still, just like when I return to one of my favorite childhood books, the story isn’t exactly as I remember it. I have new experiences now and I see the words on the page through different eyes. Though reminiscent of Alice’s Wonderland, the Outerlands aren’t quite what Alex recalls from his beloved childhood story and it’s unsettling to him.
Although some of us would love to stay in a fictional world forever, eventually, reality calls. We must put the book down and return to the tasks of everyday life. We have that luxury of leaving a story and returning when the mood suits us. Alex’s predicament leaves him with no visible means of coming back to the life he left. Would you be willing to live inside your favorite story if it meant that you had to say goodbye to everything you knew?
I teach high school English, and one of the most recent literary elements that I taught my students was the concept of a quest. Thomas C. Foster says that, at the end of a quest, a character must have some kind of self-knowledge. I won’t tell you what, if anything, Alex may learn by the end of The Outerlands, but I can promise you this: Alex is most definitely on a quest.
Then again, aren’t we all?
Buy a print copy of The Outerlands from Amazon by clicking here.

About Jared R. Lopatin

Author Jared R. Lopatin
Author Bio:
Jared R. Lopatin grew up in Philadelphia with great dreams of becoming a veterinarian or muppeteer. Naturally, he ended up performing on a stage for fourteen years. Following a similarly warped trajectory, he now works in Deaf education as an English teacher. In the midst of all of that, he started writing. Rising Sign was his first novel.
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