About the Book
Author: Daniel Tweddell
Genre: Fantasy YA
Release Date: June 27, 2023
As if Josh having his memory stolen by an over-protective mother wasn’t enough, his older brother, Pete, wins every trophy and never lets him forget it. And oh yeah, Mom’s an ex-god of the underworld, so it’s no surprise their family has enemies.
Maybe that’s why Dad’s missing. Maybe that’s why ragged scars crisscross Josh’s throat. It’s definitely why Josh accidentally sprung the trap – the one that opened a portal and released the demon who now hunts them.
Turns out there’s another world; one with castles and dragons, and prisons that dangle into hell. That’s the world where Josh and Pete find Dad turned to stone, the world with entire cities enslaved by the demon. As the brothers race to undo Josh’s colossal mistake, Josh’s mysterious past comes to light, and Josh must choose between the fate of the world and the lives of his family.
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About the Author
Hi, I’m Daniel Tweddell. I grew up in the Bornean and Philippine jungle as a missionary’s kid. My neighbors had monkeys for pets. Just behind the tree line, “ex”-headhunters slipped through the shadows with spears and six-foot blow guns. It was the perfect incubator for a kid’s imagination. As an adult, I did a lot of things from writing high-octane video games with my friends to having my own companies. But I always loved castles, wizards, and monsters the best. So now I write white-knuckle stories about magic woven with truths from my life’s journey. I live in San Diego with my wife and 3 kids.
More from Daniel
I had a visual of a soapbox derby with the cars lined up from worst to best. The worst was made of cardboard with garbage can lids for wheels. The best was polished mahogany, with chrome wheels and velvet seat covers. Can you see the kids’ faces? One brushes old coffee grounds off his hood. He can’t face the crowd. Another polishes a gleaming fender and waves to his fans. I realized the difference between these cars isn’t the kids … it’s the time they spent with Dad.
I’m fraught with blind spots, bad habits, and shortcomings. I also barely have enough time, energy, or insight to manage my own life. How do I have enough for the lives around me who are so hungry for something more? I realized I live in a 5-loaf/5000-mouth world. I’ll never be enough, but I don’t need to be. Instead, I asked God to make this life and this book a father/son project.
Although I’ve dreamt of writing this story for decades, I had to be destroyed before I could honestly portray this hero’s journey. The truths about facing fear, about God making everything OK even when there is no way it can ever be, as well as courage, hope, and finding your destiny, they’re all written from my journey through the depths of an utterly shattered heart to a life so good it feels like a fantasy novel. Whatever you might be going through, I hope the story encourages as well as entertains you. If you haven’t already, you might even meet Magic for yourself.
Interview with Daniel
- What does success as an author look like to you?
I had a reader tell me they “totally felt the hand of God [and heard his] whispers in the writing.” I had others say how much the book encouraged them. Although I’ve dreamt of writing this story for decades, I had to be destroyed before I could honestly portray Josh’s (the protagonist’s) journey. The truths about facing fear, about God making everything OK even when there is no way it can ever be, about suicide, and depression, as well as hope, and finding your destiny, they’re all written from my journey through the depths of an utterly shattered heart to a life so good it feels like a fantasy novel. Whatever my readers might be going through, I hope the story encourages as well as entertains them. Maybe they’ll even meet Magic for themselves.
- Which character did you connect to best in this book?
I think it would be Mom. We only get a glimpse of her in this book, but her heartbreaking backstory spans centuries and empires, as do the scars from her time as god of the underworld, binding her on the brink of insanity. There are hurts so deep, the human heart can never completely recover. Like having a stroke or losing a limb, we heal, but will never be the same. At the same time, the good things in life become richer and more flavorful and love is more intense. The people I know and read about, who have suffered deeply wouldn’t trade what they’ve gained for what they lost.
- Which part of the book was the most difficult to write?
I had a chapter that just would not write. I labored on it for weeks and when it was done, I hated it. So I scrapped it and wrote it again. And hated it again. I began to wonder if I could write it. Could I even write a book at all? Year’s earlier I’d promised myself if I had to edit 1000 times, I would. So I tackled it for a third time, struggling with every word. The whole time, I knew I’d hate it. And when it was done, I loved it. Several of my readers said it made them cry. They posted quotes from it on their cubicle walls at work. I learned that remarkable writing doesn’t need inspiration, only tenacity … and a lot of prayer.
- What inspired this book?
A good friend from way back high school told me he was making a short film for his two boys. He knew how to film but said he couldn’t write a story to save his life. So I wrote a short script about two brothers who can’t find a reason to get along until one is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. By the time it was done, he had become too busy to film, but the story had taken root in my soul, so I grew it into a book.
- Which author influenced you the most?
C.S. Lewis inspires me most. I’ve never read someone like him that can tell a gripping story full of deep profound truths without being preachy or slow.
- What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?
I love the the story in Mark 9 where a dad brings his demon possessed son to Jesus’s disciples and they can’t heal him?
The man comes to Jesus and pleads, “help me if you can.”
Jesus replies, “If I can?”
You can almost hear the incredulity in his voice.
Jesus settles back into his normal style, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me with my unbelief!”
That is me! With enough faith I can move mountains, right? I’ve been through times where I was sure if I even believed faith existed. What about when I need to do that right thing and I don’t want to. But I want to want to. In this story, Jesus says, I can work with that and heals the boy.
I believe we live in a 5000-mouth, 5-loaf world. The distance between what I need and what I have is so big, nothing I do will even come close to being enough. There is never enough time, money, energy, creativity, patience. But Jesus knows it’s that way. And that’s the point. I’m not supposed to be able to do it. I’m supposed to bring my meager lunch to him and let him make it into a feast.
- What is your vacation spot?
I have a large list, but one of the places I want to visit is the Harbin Ice festival where they make entire cities out of ice. People can climb up inside the Eifel tower and stroll down the Great Wall of China. At night, everything blazes with colorful lights.
- What are you reading right now?
I am halfway through Our Lady of the Artilects by Andrew Gillsmith. I’m also re-reading the classic, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.
- Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair.
The weathered gargoyle clock thunks 3:00 AM. Moonlight sifts through dark curtains, playing across an ancient oval desk. Dark walnut bookcases stretch from floor to ceiling on every wall. Leather-bound tomes crowd exotic objects: a fanged human skull, antique pistols, pitted cannonballs.
I wish. Although I do have an 16th century flintlock I found in a dusty antique shop in Portugal and a pearl inlaid sword I bought in Turkey.
- If you could have one book or piece of art or music on a deserted island, what would it be and why?
That depends if the island has coffee trees. If not, I would like to submit my morning cup-full as a work of art.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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To celebrate his tour, Daniel is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & a print copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.