... Essel Pratt
Final Reverie is a book about the everlasting bond between best friends and their loyalty to one another. The main characters are Chij and Franklyn. Franklyn is an adolescent boy and Chij is his wold brother. The story takes place after the demise of technology and the capture of the nefarious fiend, Nafets. The pair is tasked with the quest to find Nafets’ place of capture and destroy him before he regains the magical power needed to rules once again.
Along the way, the boys meet up with heroes of the past and gain their knowledge and power to succeed in their journey. However, a new evil that is hell-bent on gaining the lost power of Nafets is hot on their trail. Atrin is a powerful beast, focused on revenge and hatred, and willing to use the boys as his pawn to steal Nafets’ power.
Final Reverie is the first of three projected books, each telling the story in reverse order. It is my first full novel and the characters grew on me from the very beginning. Originally, the concept started out as a short story in an animal anthology that I am included in. However, the characters would not leave my mind. Their story was just too big to leave alone. So, I took the plunge and outlined the full novel. From there, the story matured into what is published today.
2. What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer and how did you bounce back from it?
When I first started writing, and I took the Pen Name Essel Pratt, I was writing for a couple of video game web sites. It allowed me to get my name out and gain some fans in the process. However, after a simple Google search of my name, I found a Facebook page of an individual that took my name and the picture of a television Rabbi to create a spoof persona that was quite raunchy and rude. After multiple attempts to report the page and plead with the imposter to stop pretending he was me, I was finally successful. However, the individual created a fake BBQ event where the character was killed off during the celebration. I was upset that my name was dragged through the dirt at such a fragile time in my writing career and was worried I would be mistaken for him. Luckily, he was soon forgotten after he disappeared and I was able to move in unscathed.
3. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
I often attempt to place myself in the shoes of my characters, good or evil, to get a feeling for the emotion that surges through their souls. I believe it gives them a little more depth and understanding. Even as I was writing my second book, a children’s story called The ABCs of Zombie Friendship, I tried to feel what a young boy would experience as his best friend became a zombie. Although it is a simple ABC book for toddlers, it is still emotional for an adult. It actually made my publisher cry at one point.
In Final Reverie, there are many complex characters that have emotional depth to them. Getting in their minds and feeling what they felt was essential to the writing process. One character, Beals, is a small fox that lost her parents and family during a slaughter brought forth by Atrin. Although she was devastated by the loss, she held it in and put on a façade of bravery in order to move forward. It was tough to feel her emotion, because it felt like she could break at any moment and at times I felt a lump in my throat.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you changed anything in your latest book?
Simply out, no. I put a lot of pride into my writing and strive to include all the details that make it what I envision. If I look back at a story and dwell on the “should haves” I don’t think I would get anywhere for future stories. If there is anything major missing, I feel that it can be readdressed in a future installment, sequel, or parallel tale.
5. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?
Although not consistent in every story I write, I think that there is an overall message. In Final Reverie, the message is that friendship, teamwork, and self-belief can coerce achievement, despite the obstacles that might hold you back.
In ABCs of Zombie Friendship, the theme is about an everlasting friendship that cannot be broken or destroyed, even after death.
6. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hands down, my favourite author is C.S. Lewis. His vision and imagery in the world of Narnia hooked me from the beginning. Although his works were not horror, I try to instil a similar amount of imagery in my writings. I also find it intriguing that he did not stick to fantasy alone. Like him, I don’t try to tie myself down to a single genre. Instead, I write what I feel and use it to tell a story with meaning and depth.
7. Do you watch horror movies on or from behind the couch?
I have been watching horror movies since I was a very little boy, so definitely from on the couch. I tend to enjoy psychological horror better than slash horror, but if the antagonist has depth, I will enjoy it regardless. The scene in Friday the 13th where Jason thinks he is reunited with his mom, although it is just a girl he doesn’t know, wearing his mother’s sweater, gave me an appreciation for Jason. He is more than a maniac killer. Instead, he is a confused little boy in a grown man’s body, angry and longing to be reunited with the one person that cared for him. That scene gets me every time.
8. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Just write. Don’t worry about the final product or what others may think. With practice, focus, and passion, your vision will come true. Don’t let bad reviews anger you. Instead, use them as fuel to make yourself better. Finally, don’t rise above your fans, be true to them and maintain the ability to be approachable.
9. How did you chose your genre?
The horror genre just came natural to me, as did the fantasy genre. Both are genres that I grew up on and fell in love with from the beginning. However, I have not shied away from other genres. Instead, I have an appreciation for them all.
10. What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
I think my characters, overall, would drink the same as me. A dark roast jet black coffee. No sugar. No cream. No frilly additives. It is just simpler that way.
11. What would YOU like the reader to know about your book or about you in general?
I welcome feedback and love to interact with the readers. I love to read reviews for my works on Amazon and Goodreads. Initially, I write for myself and with my own vision in mind. However, hearing the reinforcement from fans makes me want to write more.
12. What sort of environment do you write in? (e.g. quiet room, a cupboard with headphones on, in a death match with the cat for control of the keyboard)
My writing space is typically in my dining room, with dual screens, our little Chihuhua at my side, one of our huskies at my feet, and maybe a cat or two yelling at me to pay attention to them. When I listen to music, I enjoy piano or violin versions of my favourite songs. The dynamic melodies help me envision a mood or event in the story. However, I tend to have the noises of the house as my overall soundtrack. Chatter from my kids and wife, the pets, traffic outside, the television, or a radio, usually accompany me while I write.
13. What was the point you realised that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
This probably occurred at about the time I was accepted into my tenth anthology. From that point on I knew there was no turning back. Now, after nearly thirty anthologies and two books, I don’t think I will ever stop writing.
14. How do you handle working with an editor without letting pride get in the way?
I feel that I have a good relationship with my editors. They are there to help me correct errors and clarify thoughts. Working with an editor is not about who wins or loses. Instead, it is about teamwork and compromise. In the end, both want to have a clean and presentable final product.
15. What alcoholic beverages do you favour when you hit a wall?
I don’t rely on alcoholic beverages as a means of breaking through the wall. However, I do enjoy a good dark craft beer while I am writing. Some of my favourites to sip on are Dragon’s Milk and Zombie Dust.
16. What is the strangest thing you’ve believe since you were a child?
Maybe it isn’t so strange, but I have always believed that imagination is the secret to life. Not the imagination of others, but the imagination within our own minds. Without it, we become lost and shrivel away into nothingness until we cease to exist.
Two heroes, Franklyn – an adolescent boy, and Chij – his wolf brother, travel the land with a sole purpose of helping those that cannot defend themselves from the creatures that lurk and feed upon the weak. Their carefree travels are unexpectedly given a larger purpose when they are tasked to search for, and destroy, the nefarious being known as Nafets – who was imprisoned many years prior but teeters on the edge of reemergence.
Throughout their journey, Franklyn and Chij encounter heroes of the past that guide them toward the final battle, as well as Atrin - an aspiring adversary that wishes to overthrow Nafets and claim his seat upon the throne of malevolence.
Franklyn and Chij endure an emotional journey filled with blood, tears, and self-discovery as they encounter the unexpected and become entangled in a expedition that will test their abilities and emotions.
Within the gates, overgrown brush and disobedient weeds conquer the once pristine necropolis. Ground level markers are all but lost within the underbrush and most of the aged headstones have deteriorated under the onslaught of harsh weather and layers of moss. A once magnificent mausoleum now hides in disgrace behind crumbling stone and invasive cat’s claw vines.
This is the resting place of heroes. All gave their lives in battle; some did so with a goal to conquer an evil force, still more wandered here by chance. Whether intended or not, everyone that slumbers here has perished while battling an evil being and has died with a hero’s honor.
Essel Pratt is from Mishawka, Indiana, a North Central town near the Michigan Border. His prolific writings have graced the pages of multiple anthologies, a couple self-published works, as well as his own creations.
As a husband, a father, and a pet owner, Essel's responsibilities never end. Other than a family man, he works a full time job an hour from his home, he is a writer for the Inquisitr, a full time student on his journey to a degree - while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and is also the Chief of Acquisitions and Executive Assistant for J. Ellington Ashton Press. His means of relieving stress and relaxing equate to sitting in front of his dual screens and writing the tales within the recesses of his mind.