Title: The Hunter Awakens
Series: The Morus Chronicles Book 1
Author: J.R. Roper
Published: July 6th, 2014
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade Action/FantasyAwards:
2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner
Winner Best Children’s Novel 2014: Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Literary Classics Seal of Approval: Highly recommended for home and school libraries.
When thirteen-year-old Ethan Morus is forced to stay on his grandparents’ old farm, he expects to find weathered barns, rusty tools, and a creaky house in need of fresh paint. What he doesn’t expect is to hear a legend placing his family at the center of an ancient treasure hunt. Or find burial chambers protected by poltergeists, or a secret lair guarded by an ancient beast. And least of all, Ethan doesn’t suspect that powerful sorcerers are watching his every move.
They’ve found Ethan and believe he is from a line of treasure hunters who possess a rare instinct to locate powerful artifacts. Whether he has the instinct or not, Ethan is faced with a choice–search the Morus property and find what they want or lose yet another family member.
Excerpt from The Hunter Awakens by J.R. Roper
Mel closed her eyes and drew in long breaths as he passed. A hint of the sorcerer was all she smelled. He was alone.
She waited for him to near the summit, and when he was close she dropped to the ground and approached from well within the forest. When she reached the top, it was clear he’d already begun his conjuring.
The sorcerer stood in the middle of the hilltop, held his staff in front of him and spoke softly in the old tongue. He lifted the staff and slammed it into the ground. The earth groaned.
He looked to the sky. “Reveal.”
Mel followed his gaze. A faint shadow swooped through the clouds and she retreated behind a thick tree. It was the thunderbird—the harbinger of conjured storms.
From his messenger bag, a red orb rose into the air and wisps of wood fastened it to the top of his staff.
Mel glanced above and readied her throwers. She’d put out the thunderbird’s eye if it attacked.
The sorcerer gripped his staff with both hands and pointed the end toward the setting sun, the direction of Roseville. He lowered it slowly and spun, drawing a wide circle where grass shriveled. The smell of scorched earth forced Mel to hold her breath. She hated the smell of anything burnt and the old rock beneath the grass smelled like the burning of ancient bones.
Within moments, clouds rolled overhead. The orb’s red light pierced the early dark. The sorcerer grasped for the sky with his left hand and spoke an incantation that the wind swept away.
The last sliver of sunlight winked out, as if a shawl had been drawn over the sky. A fog chased up the hill like a tidal wave and clouded Mel’s view. The fog moved upward and the sky rippled with a surge of power. All heavenly lights darkened and Mel aimed a thrower in the direction of the sorcerer.
If he knew she was here and came looking for her, it’d be his last act on Earth. She feared no one. She was Hellish Mel.
About the Author:
J.R. Roper is the author of The Morus Chronicles, a fantasy series for middle grade readers. The first two books, The Hunter Awakens and The Spirit of Steel are now available along with a collection of short stories titled Mel & the Black Rider. Roper’s work has appeared in ChildGood Magazine, Families First Monthly, and in anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, Horrified Press, and Thirteen O’Clock Press.
We are very pleased to have J.R. Roper with us today!
1) Describe your relationship with a good book.
Fast and furious. I can’t let it go but also want to keep it on my shelf forever. Does that sound creepy?
2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I started writing in September 2007. I had graduated with a BA in Social Studies and failed to land a full time teaching job so I took a job as a one-on-one paraprofessional for a student with a genetic disorder. My wife was teaching full-time, so when she would spend her evenings planning and grading, I worked on the first draft of The Hunter Awakens. I finished the draft in March 2008. It was an incredibly proud moment even though the first draft was dreadful.
3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.
As a full time teacher, coach, and father of two little boys, I struggle to write every single day. Instead I set weekly goals and binge write (or edit) when I have larger blocks of time. Some weeks I am extremely productive and others I fail miserably. I try to celebrate the good and move on from the bad quickly. I feel like immersion is the key especially when the writing is slow. I listen to podcasts related to writing while doing dishes at night (Writers on Writing is fantastic). I read articles from Writers Digest and browse twitter and facebook for quick reads that teach me something. I watch documentaries and true crime for plot and character ideas. To some degree I am always working.
4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
Not always easily. Being a teacher, coach, father, husband, and friend of many, it can be difficult to keep my writing time sacred. Some nights are a complete fail and others are incredibly productive. Setting a writing timer for fifteen or thirty minutes can be gold for getting something done even when I want to go to bed.
5) Why did you write this book?
I fell in love with reading when I discovered Harry Potter and wanted to create an opportunity for other reluctant readers to fall in love with a book. That is now my goal as an author. Fast paced exciting reads for kids who don’t consider themselves readers.
6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
The setting on an old family farm was the inspiration for the story. From the setting grew the characters and ultimately the plot.
7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
As an author, my goal for the next five years is to finish The Morus Chronicles, and a new trilogy (YA epic fantasy), the first book of which I am currently editing. During that time I also plan to grow my brand as a go to author for reluctant readers. Outside of writing, I hope to move out into the country and continue to improve as an educator.
8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
I also write under a pen name and have written a dozen erotica novellas. That is actually how we pay the bills.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- $25 Amazon gift card
- 5 Kindle copies of The Hunter Awakens
Giveaway is International.
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