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You’ve got to love fall. Rustling leaves, crisp air, apple cider, Halloween, and the prospect of holing up inside in front of a fire while the world outside descends into the stillness of winter. To me, this is the most evocative of seasons, a time of emotional changes and transitions. Even long after an adult has left their school days behind, we are still filled with residual seasonal feelings: mourning at the end of summer, excitement over the start of a new school year.
I didn’t always get to experience the change of seasons. Before I moved back to my home state of Michigan, I spent three years living in Florida, followed by nine years in Hollywood. I was pretty sick of the cold weather by the time I moved out of state at eighteen years of age, but I soon grew to miss the changes in season. There was something especially strange about living in Southern California, where a seemingly endless precession of warm, sunny days was enough to make me forget that weather existed at all. I remember having phone conversations with my father in Michigan where he would say to me, “wow, we got a lot of snow last night,” and I’d think to myself: wait. It’s winter? In the eerie, unchanging, seasonless world of Los Angeles, time became a meaningless blur. Days bled into months and months into years, without anything at all to mark their passing. It was disorienting, and ultimately a little scary.
Perhaps that experience was one of the reasons I made the cycle of seasons an important thematic element in my new YA fantasy series of martial arts, magic and star-crossed love, The Tracks. Book 1, Dark Territory, takes place in the autumn, at the beginning of the school year. The Magician, the trilogy’s mysterious pseudo-villain, makes an appearance by coalescing out of a swarm of blowing red leaves. Book 2, Ghost Crown, features a dramatic cooling of the hot love story between the saga’s star-crossed couple, and the Magician sports a robe of icy, pale blue as he appears out of a swirling blizzard. Book 3, Shadow Train, isn’t out yet—in fact, I just finished writing it—but its pages feature a mighty effort by the story’s characters to reverse the bleak losses endured in book 2. Reunification and renewal are major themes in this book and in it, as you may have guessed, the Magician appears in a robe of tender green. Coincidentally, book 3 will be coming out in the spring, too. The book’s seasonal color themes are also reflected in the books’ covers, a request of mine that the publisher was kind enough to grant.
But that book doesn’t come out until spring. This fall, I’ve donned my new clothes, gathered up my pens, and gone forth like a giddy kid, excited at the start of a new school year. Except instead of hitting the books, I’m signing them— doing a book tour around the Midwest to promote my new dystopian sci-fi epic, Blood Zero Sky. The cycle of seasons may be unending, but some things never change. About the Author: J. Gabriel Gates is the author of the teen fantasy series The Tracks (Book 1: Dark Territory, Book 2:Ghost Crown), horror novel The Sleepwalkers and most recently, the epic sci-fi adventure Blood Zero Sky. For more information on him and his work, please visit his website: www.jgabrielgates.com
You can also “like” him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @JGabrielGates.
Are you a writer? J. Gabriel Gates is now accepting a limited number of aspiring authors for mentorship sessions. For more information, click here: http://jgabrielgates.com/mentorship/