Brandon Rohrbaugh - Immersive Mix Between Reality and Fantasy
Young adult author Brand Rohrbaugh daydreamed as a child of creating his own fictitious worlds like the ones from his favorite movies. With his urban magical realism title, Legend of Mermaid Cliff, he achieves this by combining reality and fantasy in a way that immerses the reader in its dark world. Writing his novels involves a lot of research to create ideas for a story. Some of his best writing happens when it’s raining outside, its sound having an entrancing effect on him. Brandon believes a great book is one that captures the reader’s attention, staying with them long after the book is closed. He hopes his readers feel a connection to his characters and what they experience in the book, allowing them to escape their own world for a time. When he’s not writing young adult thrillers, Brandon runs an online book resale business, likely a contributing factor in inspiring him to write his own book. He lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife and three children and their two dogs. Legend of Mermaid Cliff is his debut novel, the first in The Awakening trilogy. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about this book.
Please give us a short introduction to what Legend of Mermaid Cliff is about.
Legend of Mermaid Cliff is the first installment in The Awakening Trilogy. It is a YA Urban Fantasy that takes place in a small seaside town. At the core of the novel is a seemingly, normal teen boy who is thrust into adulthood with the sinister events that transpire in his hometown.
Book 1 follows Mark as he attempts to uncover the truth behind his school crush being murdered at the town's iconic, Mermaid Cliff. He recruits his classmates and searches for answers. It is later revealed that his ‘normal’ life and town are anything but. The events that transpire in book one set up his extraordinary and world-altering journey in books 2 and 3.
What inspired you to write about a teen boy who uncovers century-old dark secrets in his small town?
I have always loved watching fantasy and sci-fi movies as a kid and have always daydreamed of creating my own world. One day I just started typing and never looked back. It was almost like the story was already in my head… I just had to type it out.
Tell us more about Mark. What makes him tick?
Mark is an average, awkward high school teenager. He always knew something in his town wasn’t quite right, and when Veronica’s body is found beneath Mermaid Cliff, I think that is when Mark truly knows he must find answers.
Why did you pick the small beach town of Rockport as the backdrop for your story?
I instantly knew I wanted a very small, seaside, and mysterious town for my story. The name Rockport just came to me while brainstorming names.
This book weaves together reality and fantasy in a very believable way. How did you pull this off?
The best thing you can do while writing first person is to put yourself in the shoes of the main character. Every thought, feeling, and emotion they have – you must feel yourself. This series does dive a bit into the darker side of urban fantasy, but it still plays true to real-life events and still adds the intrigue of the unbelievable.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Cooking. I inherited the good cooking gene from my mother, and I know my wife and kids appreciate that!
Legend of Mermaid Cliff is your debut novel. What has the experience been like so far?
The writing, re-writing, having it edited, edited again, hiring cover artists, and researching countless hours of marketing have been a bit taxing, but I wouldn’t change it for a minute. Being able to give someone the opportunity to exit their world for a few hours and enter a story you created is just a magical feeling that makes it all worth it.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create and why?
I think Mark’s mom was pretty difficult to hone in on while writing. You find some stuff out about her later, and while I had to stay true to the darker side of the story, I still wanted to show that mothers are always there for you.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I worked with a few amazing people at eBook Launch. We were able to collaborate and find the true essence or main piece in the book. Full moons always give an eerie feel to me anyway, so I wanted that to be a reoccurring theme on each cover. Book 1 takes place by the sea so that is why that is there on book 1.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
Just being able to create a unique fictitious world and really pull the reader into the believable characters and plot. You can create anything you want. That to me is the fun part.
Why YA? What drew you to this audience?
I love movies like Maze Runner, Divergent, Hunger Games, LoTR, Harry Potter etc. so for me it was a no brainer to write to this age group. I have also found that several other adults my age and older love this genre as well.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
It may sound weird, but I find I do some of my best writing while it’s raining out. The calming sound of the raindrops hitting the window just puts me in the perfect trance while writing. The average writing day for me is just flowing with the story. Not worrying about any of the technical writing or grammar until the story is finished.
What are you working on right now?
Book 1 of The Awakening Trilogy is launching on May 18th, so I’ve been trying to promote that as much as I can. Otherwise, I’ve begun writing a new YA book series that I will keep under wraps for now…
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I have an author website where you can join my mailing list and ask me anything. I also have a Facebook page where I would love to chat with readers.