To lose oneself in another world of adventure is as easy as reading a book, or, in the case of one Dixie State University student, writing one.
Writing a full-length fantasy/adventure novel like Aaron Hall, a sophomore communication major from St. George, did is no easy feat at 22 years old.
“If I didn’t write it, I would be like, ‘Dude, this book is awesome,’” Hall said. “‘Guys, you need to read this book.’ That’s just my opinion, though. I might be a little biased.”
Biased or not, he dedicated years of his time to bring imagination to life in “Foreordained,” and he created something for everyone to enjoy. The book is available on Amazon.com and has only gained good reviews.
As quoted from the synopsis: “The kingdom of Nezmyth is in shambles. Hope is spread thin. King Barnabas has ruled relentlessly for decades. Jason has been Foreordained by the Holy Dragon to replace him. Now, at age 17, Jason must choose to accept his calling, but the King will stop at nothing to retain the Throne. The future of Nezmyth hangs in the balance.”
“[Jason] uses that year as an opportunity to decide whether he wants to rise up to that calling or not,” Hall explained. “So it’s kind of like a selflessness, boy-to-man story … Things turn out well for people who do the right thing, and I think that’s kind of the ultimate lesson behind the book.”
He began the development of the book several years back, having been inspired by a video he saw in seminary.
“There was some video in seminary where it showed this prince getting kidnapped and his captors tried to subject him to this evil lifestyle, and he didn’t buy into it at all,” Hall said. “Finally they were like, ‘What’s your problem? We’ve been offering you all these pleasures so why don’t you give in?’ And he looks them in the eye and says, ‘Because one day I am meant to be king.’ I thought to myself, ‘You know, if someone were to expand on that and make it a full-blown story, that’d be pretty sick. I’m going do it.’”
Hall spent seven years working on “Foreordained” before publishing.
“I started writing it when I was a freshman in high school, and I finished the first draft when I was a senior,” Hall said. “I had plans to get it published before I left on my mission, but it just didn’t feel right for some reason.”
Since he started writing the book, Hall made three major revisions, the last of which was a major re-write after he came home from a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Boston. The evolution of the original story over the years became what is now available on Amazon.
The first draft was evaluated by what is possibly the toughest of crowds: his peers. Hall released the draft in January 2010 at his high school library, making it available for check out by students. The feedback was positive then, just as it is now, but Hall knew it still needed work.
“The finished product is completely different than what I first envisioned,” Hall said. “I feel like the characters are much more vivid; the danger is real. It’s there — you can feel it. It has a deeper emotional level to the book than I originally thought it would.”
Now that the book is available for the world to read and people to give their opinions, Hall said the feedback is still positive. A mention in a daily fan newsletter of New York Times best selling author David Farland doesn’t hurt, either.
“I sent him a message on Facebook … He was like, ‘I’ll see what I can do about giving you a shout out,’ and then he did like three days later,” Hall said. “I’m basically my own marketing guy right now. I’m a college kid. I can’t afford a PR team that’s sending out copies all over the place. I’m going to do the best that I can with the knowledge that I have.”
Hall keeps his Instagram and Twitter updated, hoping that the power of social media will help him to spread the word about “Foreordained.” He’s sold about 50 copies of the book since it went on sale just more than two weeks ago, and he said he’s optimistic about sales considering his lack of advertising funds and skills.
Hall said he aspires to write a second installment to the story of his world, as he continues to stay inspired by others, like his favorite author.
“This is cliché, but it’s J.K. Rowling,” Hall said. “Pop cultural influence aside, she’s a phenomenal writer. She’s created this incredible world that you just want to be a part of. I’d like to say that my style is adapted most from Rowling. She’s amazing.”
As for advice for other aspiring authors, Hall suggested planning and goal-setting in order to maintain focus to get the finished product.
“Do it,” Hall said. “You can dream about writing a book all you want until you set goals. Don’t hold back. Just make it happen.”