by Mark Wallace Maguire
The thirst for escapism and the importance of fantasy
“You should really work on publishing that semi-autobiographical book you wrote, “The Preacher’s Son.” There is a lot of good stuff in there on religion, race, Southern Culture and fractured father-son relationships - real good dark stuff that could sell.”
I’ve heard that sentiment echoed the last couple of years in the wake of publishing The Alexandria Rising Chronicles. I did write said book, “The Preacher’s Son,” several years ago. And while it does have some strong story points, I am happy to leave it in my drawer dust-laden and undistributed for a long time, perhaps, forever, its 120,000 words quietly fading. Why?
While it was great therapy to write that book and saved me a ton of money on visits to a psychologist, it was painful and through time I realized that as painful it was for me to write it, it would be painful for someone to read.
In other words, when I began my second attempt at writing a novel, I realized that I wanted to write something that I would want to read. A book for lack of a better word - fun.
A book with:
• Ludlum-laced tension.
• Tolkien-striving world creation.
• Dan Brown pacing.
• T.S. Eliot and Dante inspired symbolism.
• Mysteries. Clues. Hints. Loss of truth.
• Cold-blooded villains. Broken heroes. Mysterious maps.
I suppose it was that amalgamation in my conscious and subconscious of those elements that birthed, “The Alexandria Rising Chronicles.”
Like many of us who read to escape, I have discovered the joy of escaping by writing.
You see, it is much more fun and healthier to slay a villain after verbally annihilating him, than it is to do so to a colleague or to someone who cuts you off in traffic.
There is also the fact that sometimes we all need to take a break from this reality. This world is not perfect. Everyone is fighting some type of battle. Those we love die. Those we expect so much from, let us down. We let others down. Bills pile up. The car breaks down. Injustice and hypocrisy are everywhere.
And then, there it is - the joy of escapism.
I often like to refer to J.R.R. Tolkien when I talk about this type of borderline apologetics for writing escapism. Tolkien went to World War I along with 17 of his classmates at Oxford.
Only two returned.
After surviving the gore of the Somme, he was quoted as saying:
“I have been a lover of fairy-stories since I learned to read,”
He later wrote in an essay in which he passionately defended fantasy and “escapist” fiction:
“Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
Mark Wallace Maguire
Mark Wallace Maguire is the author of fictional series, The Alexandria Rising Chronicles, and Letters from Red Clay Country, a selection of his award winning columns and essays on South- ern Culture. His books have sold thousands of copies in more than ten countries. He has been named a Finalist for Independent Author of The Year and a Georgia Author of the Year nominee and his writing has drawn comparisons to Ian Fleming, John Grisham and Dan Brown.
His work has also appeared in dozens of other publications including The Blue Mountain Re- view, The Essential C.S. Lewis and The Reach of Song.
For nearly 20 years, Maguire worked for The Marietta Daily Journal and for 12 of those years as director of Cobb Life magazine and Cobb Business Journal where he earned more than 20 awards for his work from organizations such as The Associated Press and The Society of Pro- fessional Journalists. In 2005, he was named Berry College Outstanding Young Alumni of The Year.
Maguire lives in Fayetteville, Georgia with his wife and two sons and runs his own creative agency, MWM Communications, LLC. When he’s not busy writing or trying to corral his two boys, he enjoys hiking and playing guitar.
Book #1 The Alexandria Rising Chronicles
Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers where he discovers humanity's biggest secret. The novel has been reviewed as, "Superb," "Amazing" and "Extremely well written" and has drawn comparisons to Dan Brown, Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum. The book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of conspiracy fiction, science fiction and suspense. It is also linked to a multi-media website which allows readers to engage with the experience in video, images and interactive appendices.