Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review and Interview: Orphans of the Storm by Vance Bessey

by Vance Bessey
Dreaming Big Publications
YA  Fantasy / Superheroes
261 pages

Lucas Fish and Katie Byrd couldn't be more different. Lucas is cocky and impulsive while Katie is brilliant and serious, so despite both living together at Blackthorne Children's Home in Crescent City, Maine, they are only vaguely aware of each other. This all changes when the two of them begin developing superhuman powers.
Shortly after Katie discovers her ability to fly, she hears Lucas talking to some friends about his abilities and realizes they may not as different as they seem. When she learns that Lucas is planning to rob a warehouse with some friends in order to be initiated into the Meta Human Hybrids, a super-powered gang that has been terrorizing their city, she reveals her secret to Lucas in a vain attempt to sway him from the robbery.
The mission ends in tragedy with the unexpected arrival of the gang, though, which Lucas feels responsible for, and leads to him joining up with Katie to oppose the Meta Human Hybrids. But they soon realize that the gang isn't the biggest, nor the most sinister threat living in Crescent City.


Super powers, villains and finding true justice make this into a read packed full of action and imagination.

Lucas and Katie are orphans and have lived at Blackthorne as long as they can remember. But then, the memories of their younger years are missing. Now teenagers, both have started to gain strange powers—Lucas is strong and Katie can fly. And it appears that they might have other talents in their futures. But Lucas and Katie don't know each other, not really. Until one night, Katie overhears Lucas and his friends discussing mutants. Lucas is one of them. They are planning something criminal, something Katie wants to convince Lucas to stay away from. But this is only the beginning of their adventures, and not even touching upon the world they're about to enter.

The book starts with a prologue, one that was necessary for the information but came so fast with the characters detached that I almost laid the book to the side. I'm glad I didn't. Once the first chapters get going, Katie, Lucas and the world around them take form, grab hold and keep an interesting story going until the last page. The book flips between various POVs, but it's well done. Seeing the story from both Lucas' and Katie's point of view gives both characters needed depth which would have been missing otherwise. And the other scenes for various characters allows a more layered plot to form and information to trickle in. It keeps the read interesting and the pace flowing well.

This isn't a novel which dives deep into feelings, but allows action and evil plans to take control. It has a true superhero feel and almost reminds of a comic book in novel form. There are some places where things could have been a bit more ironed out, but it's entertaining enough to keep the pages turning. There's also a nice portion of character development as Katie and Lucas learn who they are and what their purpose in the world might be. It makes for a special bond between the two.

Fans of comic heroes, super powers and evil villains will enjoy this one and the rich imagination it holds.

Interview with Vance Bessey!

What genre do you write and why? 

I love writing young adult fiction with 
the occasional segue into children’s books. As an illustration teacher, I spend 
a lot of time with millennials and young adults and I can relate to them easily. 
My novel Orphans of the Storm is a lot like a graphic novel or comic book – 
a genre that I have studied and worked in frequently. I feel that young adults and 
many others who love super hero adventure stories will easily engage with my 
characters and identify with my saga as I have related to many of the good young 
adult novels of the past decades.

Who are your favourite authors? 

I have always loved writers who deal in paranormal subject matter and who 
create characters that generate real pathos within me. I especially love a great 
villain. My favourite authors are: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, 
Stephanie Meyers, Robert A. Heinein, Piers Anthony, Phillip K. Dick, and 
Robert E. Howard, to name a few.

What's the best thing about being a writer? 

The creative surge is like a powerful internal stream that requires direction. I 
have always been an artist and storyteller and have tried many forms of narrative 
expression in the arts. My favourite, by far, is writing and scripting stories; it 
is the only media I know that is created as fast as the ideas flow out of me. That 
is a very satisfying experience.

How do you research your books? 

I research with great care and attention to detail. I am a fan of science fiction and 
I dislike bad science in the genre, so I attempt to make the science not only 
plausable but accurate. Bear in mind that this is ‘comic book’ science, and may 
not adhere to current theories. My scientific explanations may depend upon 
such preternatural concepts as psychokinesis and enhanced cellular density – ideas 
not yet universally accepted in most academic circles. But everything in the book 
might be possible, at some point. All the genetic hybridization and genomic 
manipulation is conceptually sound and could even be attempted today. Many 
of these scientific explanations will be fully addressed in the sequel, as the 
characters themselves discover them.
When I encounter a situation I’m not familiar with, like the equipment used by 
National Guardsmen, I find people I know who are knowledgeable on the subject 
and interview them. There is little worse than reading a wrong ‘fact’ in a story. 
I think of these situations as ‘plot-holes’: big bumps in the roadway of your tale 
that can completely break down the suspension of disbelief. Nobody wants that.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer? 

I had studied creative writing and script writing in college and I belonged to a writers 
group, but I had mostly been telling my stories via narrative art and illustration. 
I had been considering a graphic novel approach for the evolving story that was to 
become Orphans of the Storm, when my wife, Sherri, suggested that I write it as 
a novel. What a novel idea. My experience as a storyteller made this daunting task 
much easier than expected. Sherri is often my muse.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? 

I enjoy watching movies, 
especially good ones. I do some reading almost every day, and lately I have been 
watching a few shows on Netflix; I especially like Stranger Things and 
The Defenders. I teach several classes in Comic Book Illustration and I spend a lot of 
time preparing for those. I create single panel cartoons for my comic strip, The Edge
I like to spend my off-time with my wife and kids, doing whatever. Sherri and I enjoy 
travel, and we go exploring two or three times a year.

And here he is...

Vance Bessey is a published Author, Illustrator and Cartoonist as well as a Patented Inventor. He is a traveler who now resides in his home state of Maine with his wife Sherri. He has four grown children. He is a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Narrative Art, where he learned much of what he knows about storytelling from industry greats like Joe Kubert and Greg Hildebrandt. He is the Author of such books as Awk the Awkward Penguin and Only in Maine as well as the comic strips The Edge and Only in Maine. He has also authored and illustrated comic books. 
He has worked as an award winning Graphic Designer and teaches courses in; Script Writing, Narrative Art, Plot Development, Deconstructing Story Lines, Character Development, Graphic Novel Illustration and Storytelling. The novel, Orphans of the Storm, was inspired by bedtime stories he told his children over the years. As an Illustrator, he has already prepared many character illustrations for the book as well as illustrating the cover.

No comments: