To all my beautiful people:
Seeing as I’ve felt like doing a series on self-publishing for a while now, I’m about to start that. Yay. Finally. That said, I’m also going to start that off with this review of a new book recently published by a young lady who has started her career off through self-publishing.
Later, I will be holding an interview with her, as well as an interview with someone who works in the field of marketing for self-publishing. And hopefully some others. So in the upcoming weeks, I hope that you will find some beneficial articles that may give authors and readers alike an idea of the hard work that it takes to self-publish a book.
That said, this first review is on a book titled Aveza of the Ercanhelm. And without further ado, here it is.
Sometimes, some of the most interesting reads that one can find are not written by great literary masters but rather by friends. And while I don’t know that Rebekah DeVall would approve of the title “literary master” near her name, I will say that upon reading her newest book, my heart was touched deeply.
Rebekah DeVall, a missionary kid, is the newly published author of Aveza of the Ercanhelm. This is a uniquely written action fantasy allegory. It’s the story of a young woman with a difficult past, a woman hiding her identity for fear that those she loves most may kill her, and a woman running from the truth.
But that is the great lesson of this book: The truth will set you free. And often, for ourselves, just like for Aveza, the truth is a difficult thing to face. Because sometimes what we think is the truth isn’t always the truth. A difficult thing to comprehend in and of itself.
In terms of content, there is mention of mature content. However, nothing is openly stated. It’s left for the reader to infer for the most part. This is a book that I would not worry to put in the hands of anyone ages ten or up. It’s a simply written, enjoyable action story with a genuine main character that any young person would love.
There are many things that I enjoyed about this book that I don’t have time to get into. But one of the things I most enjoyed was the main character.
Too often we see female characters that are “strong females” and are all spoiled brats, untouchable warriors, or some combination of Katniss Everdeen and Mystique from X-men. (Not to hate on these characters, because I’m honestly a Mystique fan, and lots of people love Katniss.) But the idea of a strong female character is someone who cannot be controlled and can do everything herself without the help or input of others.
What I love about the character of Aveza is that from moment one in the book she is someone who knows how to act on her own and use wisdom even in fear, but she is also someone who knows she cannot do everything alone. She does not push away the people in her life, but tries to draw them close and involve them in her life and actions (despite the whole secret issue).
Aveza is the example of a hero that young readers need to see: someone confident, someone with self-worth, someone who isn’t afraid to admit they mess up, someone who is willing to be honest with themselves about how they feel, someone who tries to protect and defend those that she loves, but someone who will trust in her “God” and put Him before everything else–even when she is afraid for her life. There are not many characters like her in fiction, much less in Christian fiction, so this is a character I highly recommend to put before young readers as an example of fictional heroes. Aveza of the Ercanhelm is a character to be admired.
A second thing that I love is the level of the love stories in this book–and not romantic love really. But the variations of different relationships and the trueness of what love is. There character relationships develop almost organically within this story. Not because there were all necessarily amazing characters, but rather because the reader can understand and feel with them. From the love interest to the father figure to the “voice” of “God”, there characters all seemed to have an inhuman sort of love–almost even beyond the human idea of agape. And I feel like this is something that is very difficult for many people to write, but Rebekah DeVall pulled it off with her characters almost seamlessly.
The final thing I wish to mention relates to the above point. Rebekah DeVall has a manner of writing that allows her to insert so much into only a few words. Her development of both plot and character is exquisite. In reading this short novel, entire worlds and relationships were built before my eyes that weren’t even explicitly written. There were relationships formed and founded, molded and understood within handfuls of pages that seemed so much deeper than the page actually allowed them to be.
As a fellow writer, I could imagine stories within stories just in this novel alone, endless possibilities of places to take this story for sequels and spin-offs. Yet, sitting and pondering on the ending, the story and world feel complete, needing nothing. The story was ended, the character’s journey complete, the lesson learned and it left me with a sense of fullness that stories like this don’t often leave me with. This is something about Rebekah DeVall’s writing that I can honestly say, as a fellow writer, that I envy.
Now, having finished saying all that I believe I can about Aveza of the Ercanhelm, I have a special treat for all of you who actually finish reading this. Below you will have the opportunity to read a part of an interview done with Rebekah DeVall concerning this book. (If you want to read more, visit my blog, the link to which you can find in my bio.) So, without further ado, enjoy this interview with our lovely author:
CS Taylor: How do you put your faith into your writing? Is that important?
Rebekah DeVall: I put my faith into my writing by covering issues that matter to me, that have affected me as a growing Christian. I don’t believe Aveza of the Ercanhelm is a preachy book, but it covers something I’ve struggled with: self-discovery, truth, sacrifice, and facing fears.
CS Taylor: Why do you think this story might be impactful to others?
Rebekah DeVall: Aveza feels deep things and lives a deep story, forcing me to ask questions about my own Christian walk and willingness to sacrifice. I hope it will provoke the same insight to readers.
CS Taylor: Why is this story important to you? Why did you HAVE to tell it? What inspired you to write it?
Rebekah DeVall: We may not believe in the evolution of humans… but I do believe in the evolution of story. Aveza of the Ercanhelm began as a simple thought (What if David’s ambidextrous warriors were set in a fantasy universe?) and a theme: facing fear. From that moment on, the characters took over the story. Late nights, early mornings—Aveza was mostly written with the computer screen being the only source of light, and God and I talking it out. It was pretty amazing. I had to write it because these characters would never be quiet. The story simply wrote itself. All I did was take dictation.
CS Taylor: How can aspects of this fictional story and its lessons apply to the lives of readers/yourself?
Rebekah DeVall: We’re all afraid of something. At this moment, I’m in the middle of a journey of self-discovery, of molding myself into the woman God wants me to be. While my secret is not so dark as Aveza’s, I struggle the same as she does: Who am I? Who can I tell? Will the words I say turn others against me?
So, as I hope that you can all see from this interview, this book was written with love from an author to a wide audience with a purpose. And I hope that by reading it, you may all feel the ravaging truth of Rebekah DeVall’s words when she told me at the end of the interview:
“Dear young woman who is struggling with finding yourself, with fear of what others will think… this book is for you.”
Well, darlings, I hope that some of you found this interesting and that you’ll come back later to read future articles about the business of self-publishing. I know that Rebekah would love to take questions from any of you, so you’re welcome to leave them on this blog or you’re welcome to contact me personally through the contact form (or at my email firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can put you in touch with her. Take care, all.
Your unaffectionate supernova,