Today we welcome RJ Mirabal. RJ loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe is his debut novel.
The Tower of Il Serrohe and Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (Books 1 & 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax Series)
- Don Vargas, a man who has lost his way.
- A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico.
- Nightwing, a bat offering an unlikely hero a formidable quest.
- A Portal to another valley, the Valle Abajo, where lifestyles are primitive.
- Clans in the Valle Abajo begging for help to overcome the Soreyes, a wily clan terrorizing the valley for generations.
- A Tower erected by the Soreyes which seems to be a mysterious source of their power.
All this leads to a unique modern fantasy involving curanderas, an alcoholic looking for escape from the failures of his life, an enigmatic bat who manipulates events behind the scenes, adventures, a beautiful woman, and more surprises in this contemporary New Mexico-based tale.
Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is now available. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:
Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (release date coming up in mid-July 2015):
It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a sixteen-year-old honor student and athlete, suffers a mysterious accident and dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. Next, a bat repeatedly slams its body against her window during a powerful wind storm and she hears a whispering in the darkness.
It is the bat, Nightwing, who persuaded Don to take on his mission in The Tower. Nightwing begins to persuade Esther, Don’s younger cousin, to use her intelligence and resourcefulness to drive away the Soreyes from the Valle Abajo—the valley of her dreams. As she shares these disturbing details with her best friend, Markey, they both worry Esther is going insane.
However, new dangers threaten when word reaches the Valle about a murderous clan in the far away Mountains of Sky east of the Valle while in the west there lives another band of Soreyes. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence lurks in the background as the saga of the Rio Grande Parallax continues.
RJ stopped by for a brief interview. Tell us RJ, how real are your characters?
Some of my characters are obviously fantasy, but based on interesting human peculiarities of most every person I’ve ever met. Even Don, though a regular human, is not based on any one person, but a collection of individuals I’ve known and other characters I’ve encountered in literature. I’ve tried hard to “test” my characters—even the fantasy ones—against reality so that I hope readers will find them believable given the setting and plot I’ve created.
What larger social message does your series convey?
People tend to put themselves in little groups and the groups come into conflict with each other… I think people from different cultures are a bit suspicious of each other. The clans in the book have some elements of New Mexico, but they are also universal; they could be from any part of the world.
What attracts you to fantasy?
I can create my own world with its own rules and method of operation. That freedom allows me to engage my imagination more freely while I being as realistic as I desire, but then throw in a twist on reality to keep me and my readers on our toes. Only problem: I have to follow my own rules once I set up this world, challenging my consistency!
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Donald A. Wollheim’s 1989 Annual World’s Best SF. I’ve had a life-long love of science fiction and came to fantasy a little later on. I find my SF ideas are rather worn-out or require more scientific background than I possess, so fantasy satisfies my need to “go out of this world.” I also love mysteries all the way from the traditional private detective to modern police procedurals.
If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?
I would travel to the Valle Abajo (the world of my book series) of course! It’s wonderful to think about it, but to actually be there would be wonderful though I’d have to watch out for Soreyes (my nasty villains).
Tell me one odd thing about you.
I’m not sure how odd this is, but I’ve always had so many interests that I cannot devote myself to one thing for any length of time. In addition to writing, I play the hammered dulcimer, volunteer for the New Mexico Dulcimer Festival, I am now in the process of organizing my high school class’s reunion, I get out on wilderness trails on my Polaris RZR 4Wheeler, and have worked for years organizing events for my motorcycle club, The Land of Enchantment BMW Riders. No one in any of those groups seems to feel a need to do as many different things!
What is the general theme of The Rio Grande Parallax series?
The message is: “All of what we perceive to be reality is a function of our perception which is informed by our normal senses and our emotional and philosophical states of being.” And, as always: evil is bad, kindness is good, and love is essential to life.
No big agenda other than entertaining my readers who will share in my imagination as they read the book.
So why New Mexico Fantasy?
I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.
But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!
Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.
Connect with RJ Mirabal
For a limited time, RJ’s first book, The Tower of Il Serrohe, is available in Nook and Kindle formats for free on his publisher, Black Rose Writing’s site: The Tower for Free!
Pick up your copy of The Tower of Il Serrohe today!
Black Rose Writing: http://goo.gl/fZXWgF
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/42OHpk
Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: email@example.com