Hello my Dragons!
I'm so excited to be able to tell you all about one of our upcoming books, "Children of the Black" by new author WJ Long III. As a publishing company that focuses on fantasy, sci-fi, and action-adventure genres, we here at Private Dragon are particularly excited about this book. As you might be aware, we have published many fantasy and action-adventure novels, but it just so happens that "Children of the Black" will be our first sci-fi novel. Sure, we've had a few books that crossover into sci-fi but none in which sci-fi is the main genre. UNTIL NOW!
Join me as I put WJ under the microscope.
WJ Long III is a pen name that is very near to him. He is the third member of his family with this name behind his father and grandfather. The name, "WJ" came from his grandmother.
"She never wanted to call me William or Will or Bill. Those were the names of my father and grandfather. So, she called me WJ and now that she’s gone, I choose to honor her with my pen name."
WJ was born into a military family, in Georgia, on the Valdosta Air Force Base. Both of his parents served in the US military, which meant that he moved around a lot throughout his early years. He eventually found a long-term home in his mother's hometown in North Carolina.
"Adjusting was difficult, so I found myself as a bit of an outsider to all the kids who had grown up with each other. It’s a common story, but I found friends through my love of science fiction and more far-fetched entertainment, which was fostered by my mother, uncle, cousins, and grandmother."
WJ found himself in a rather troubled time as a young man. He eventually discovered that could vent all of his frustrations, fears, inadequacies, and anger into that his writing, which came just in the nick of time.
"My first stories were little more than wish fulfillment and revenge tales, but by the time I finished middle school, I was creating characters. Fear kept me from pursuing writing as fully as I should have, but lessons are often learned by making grievous mistakes."
Writing took a backseat for a time as he pursued filmmaking. WJ's goal there was to create and showcase the types of narratives that had inspired him. Movies such as Alien, Star Wars, It, and Blade Runner, among others, were some of his primary inspirations at that time.
"After a stroke... I decided to revisit a story that just wouldn’t let go of me. More than twenty years prior, I had written a story that I called, "Silver." It was an exploration of a father/daughter type relationship between two people who had met as strangers, and unbeknownst to them, had grown into a family."
This story had been rewritten at one point as a screenplay and even found its way on the featured section of The Blacklist website, but WJ ultimately decided to take the story back to its origins. a novel. That story eventually and became, "Children of the Black."
That's not to say that the story has remained entirely the same. One element that went through alterations was the core relationship of the two main characters, Claude and Vision. The father/daughter relationship between these characters was directly inspired by WJ's own daughter and much of Vision's character came from her.
"Children of the Black is definitely part of a series. It’s an introduction to a universe that is still growing and expanding. Claude and Vision’s adventure goes on for two more books at least and those plans are in place. I’m currently writing the second book in their story as Private Dragon and I pull this release together. As for the universe, it can go anywhere and I am interested in seeing just what stories and characters populate it as it goes forward."
Although "Children of the Black" is definitely a Science Fiction adventure, WJ plans on writing within other genres after he's concluded this series.
"I have an interest in more modern horror elements inspired by things like the SCP Foundation. Very strange and unnerving stuff that has a lot in common with the themes found in works surrounding the Cthulhu mythos. As far as my specific plan after finishing the main series of CotB (Children of the Black), I have another novel in process that involves a very science fiction-esque exploration of magic and how it might affect the modern world."
Take a look at the free preview now:
"Children of the Black" is coming to shelves in spring 2022.
Here's a quick synopsis to get you all pumped:
After a thousand years of war, a scarred humanity struggles to carve a path free of its shadow, but old habits die hard. In this trying time, a former mercenary and a young girl with psionic gifts are tasked with finding what remains of a failed project that once had the potential to bring about lasting peace. With remnants of their pasts returning to lay claim on their future, the two must learn to depend on one another if they have any hope of keeping a new conflict from burning its way throughout the known universe.
Above all, WJ Long III hopes that readers will enjoy his book and want much more from this universe and its characters. He wrote it to answer several questions about his own life and how he fits into the world. "I just want to entertain people and help them escape whatever troubles they have for a little while."
Comment from: Elizabeth Soderberg Visitor
WOW! This is a great article. Note to potential readers; I taught this guy English I and English II and he was one of the most insightful, creative kids I ever taught.