Sunday, September 20, 2015

Realm Explorers Part LXV: Visit Aria with James Gardner

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 



Author's name: James Gardner

Title of book and/ or series: The series title is the Redemption of Aria. The first book is called Silver's Journey.

Brief summary of the story: Silver, an average New York teenager, finds himself mysteriously transported to a new world, where he must undertake a momentous journey to Braknór and face countless dangers along the road.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: Aria is a land of wonders with many distinct cultures, clans, and tribes, each with something different to offer. There are dangerous and uncharted territories to the east, forests that hold their fair share of mysteries and unusual creatures, towns and cities offering varying views on religion, government, and society. 

If we were to visit Aria as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
It really depends on the kind of person you are! If you're a sightseer, then you'd want to stop by Dexon, with its peculiar layout and magnificent castle, and if you're feeling adventurous, the great walled city of Braknór would be a marvel to behold. If you enjoy traveling to modern day malls on Earth, then you'd be thrilled to visit the town of Crowduria with the most active market in the realm. On another note, any lovers of nature would enjoy spending time in the Arian Plain with its lush, pleasant air and beautiful scenery, or a trip to the Sea of Light that dances to the beat of the stars in the night. And for any thrill seekers out there, the Berullian Forest is the place to be, offering many creatures to hunt as well as a chance sighting of some rare animals.

What dangers should we avoid in Aria?
The answer to this question relies heavily on the specific location in Aria. First of all, you should always keep an eye out for bandits, pickpockets, and your occasional group of unfriendly hunters. But if you should find yourself in the Berullian Forest, keep an eye out for the Zwarkrade, vicious pack hunters that have uncanny wit and dangerous intellect, wild boars... oh, and those pesky branches and roots that seem to have a mind of their own. If you're foolish enough to journey to the Madgeroost, you'll most likely have to deal with the Grackle, a seven foot bird with a frighteningly sharp beak and blinding speed (a little tip: don't look directly into its eyes). Finally, if you survive an encounter with the Grackle and for some unfathomable reason want to stay in the Madgeroost, you'll have to watch out for exiles from Dexon and Warkreig, but above all, keep low and out of sight. The Madge is always watching.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Aria?
If you want a meal that's easy on the stomach, you'd probably enjoy Crowdurian stew with beef and gravy, but if you're a real connoisseur of exotic foods, then you may be offered a Zwarkrade by the Gerridi tribes or boiled fish by the Nazka (if you live that long with them).

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Aria?
The most common weapon used is a one-handed sword, but the different cultures of Aria have unusual fighting styles. The people of Warkreig prefer massive two-handed swords that can crush down upon an enemy in one powerful blow, whereas the people of Dexon use two shorter swords for quick, deft strokes. Barbarians from the north seem to enjoy ramming their enemies using a heavy wooden shield with a prominent spike in the center, and of course, there are more specific weapons for precise uses like short spears for killing wild boar or longbows with bodkin arrows for armor-piercing.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Aria?
The main method of transportation is by horse, but there is an unusual way that Arians use that seems to have dwindled in modern society: walking.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Aria? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it's used.
Magic plays no role in Aria, but there is definitely something supernatural about the place, especially surrounding the followers of the King, (God) who seem to be blessed in countless ways, sometimes imperceptibly, but sometimes in a undeniably huge miracle.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Aria? If you haven't described it already, please give some examples.
The technology of Aria is set around a Middle Age world that is somewhat parallel to ours. Most of the technology is the same, if not very similar.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Aria.
Arm wrestling is a common competition that many taverns host for fun, but for the more serious, there are contests of skill such as archery and swordplay as well as tests of strength, wit, and speed.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Aria as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?

The year round calendar is the same in Aria as on Earth, but there are some holidays that the people celebrate. One for followers of the King is the birth of Jesus. The Warkreig have various special feasts and traditions to honor the chiefs of the past who performed great feats.

Is there  particular religion practice in Aria? Please describe what it involves.
In Aria, there is no dominating religion. The Crowdurians are a polytheistic society, believing in hundreds, if not thousands of different gods. The people of Braknór most often tend to be atheist, or to be generous, deists, at best believing only in the existence of a god. But all throughout the land, there are followers of the King, who worship Him in prayer and seek to do His bidding. No matter where you go, there's always some of them around.

What is the political or government structure in Aria? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Ethron is the self-proclaimed ruler of Aria and has stretched his mighty hand across the region. However, at heart, he is a tyrannical villain with only a heart for himself. Under his overview, the different cultures of Aria have different leadership roles. Crowduria has a single king (Fergusop), the Nazka and Warkreig have a chief that dictates the law, and the people of Dexon have two kings to balance the power in the nation.

Are there any unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Aria?

There are no particular practices that would land you in hot water if you overlooked them, per se, but it's always best to know how each city or town operates so that you can best know how to react. For example, you will always need to keep your guard up in Crowduria because there are plenty of smooth talkers who will try to relieve you of your hard earned cash. Oh! One more thing... It's a 'cultural practice' for any kind visitors to the Nazka to become their slaves for life, so... don't visit.

Has anything in your actual life inspirited the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Most of the people groups in Aria are purely born of my imagination, and a lot of the places are merely the fantasies of my mind. But in a very real way, the entire book is an allegory of life, focusing around the different kinds of people you will meet. I feel that many of the pieces of advice given by the sage characters of this book are either truths that I have learned in my life as a Christ follower, or words that God put into my head at the time.

What, if any, "hot button" or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
There are no real controversies or hot topics discussed in my book; it instead focuses on a young man's journey to knowing God on a deeper level.

Author Autobiography:
James Gardner was born in January, 1999. He is a homeschooler with a passion for writing. In 2013, he began creating a story about a fictional world named Aria. Through the encouragement of family and friends, he brought the world to life. When he isn’t working on his next book, he enjoys spending time with friends and playing sports. Currently, he resides with his parents in their home in Florida.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book? 
My book can be purchased in print at http://www.amazon.com/Silvers-Journey-Redemption-Aria-Book-ebook/dp/B011SWLFJI/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438969726&sr=1-1&keywords=the+redemption+of+aria

Where can readers connect with you online?
Readers can connect with me through my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Redemption-of-Aria-by-James-Gardner/475531112616774?ref=bookmarks 



I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Aria.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the planet Aruuliah, in Realm Explorers Part LXVI!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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