Title: The Hunter Awakens
Series: The Morus Chronicles Book 1
Author: J.R. Roper
Published: July 6th, 2014
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade Action/FantasyAwards:
2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner
Winner Best Children’s Novel 2014: Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Literary Classics Seal of Approval: Highly recommended for home and school libraries.
When thirteen-year-old Ethan Morus is forced to stay on his grandparents’ old farm, he expects to find weathered barns, rusty tools, and a creaky house in need of fresh paint. What he doesn’t expect is to hear a legend placing his family at the center of an ancient treasure hunt. Or find burial chambers protected by poltergeists, or a secret lair guarded by an ancient beast. And least of all, Ethan doesn’t suspect that powerful sorcerers are watching his every move.
They’ve found Ethan and believe he is from a line of treasure hunters who possess a rare instinct to locate powerful artifacts. Whether he has the instinct or not, Ethan is faced with a choice–search the Morus property and find what they want or lose yet another family member.
Excerpt from The Hunter Awakens by J.R. Roper
Mel closed her eyes and drew in long breaths as he passed. A hint of the sorcerer was all she smelled. He was alone.
She waited for him to near the summit, and when he was close she dropped to the ground and approached from well within the forest. When she reached the top, it was clear he’d already begun his conjuring.
The sorcerer stood in the middle of the hilltop, held his staff in front of him and spoke softly in the old tongue. He lifted the staff and slammed it into the ground. The earth groaned.
He looked to the sky. “Reveal.”
Mel followed his gaze. A faint shadow swooped through the clouds and she retreated behind a thick tree. It was the thunderbird—the harbinger of conjured storms.
From his messenger bag, a red orb rose into the air and wisps of wood fastened it to the top of his staff.
Mel glanced above and readied her throwers. She’d put out the thunderbird’s eye if it attacked.
The sorcerer gripped his staff with both hands and pointed the end toward the setting sun, the direction of Roseville. He lowered it slowly and spun, drawing a wide circle where grass shriveled. The smell of scorched earth forced Mel to hold her breath. She hated the smell of anything burnt and the old rock beneath the grass smelled like the burning of ancient bones.
Within moments, clouds rolled overhead. The orb’s red light pierced the early dark. The sorcerer grasped for the sky with his left hand and spoke an incantation that the wind swept away.
The last sliver of sunlight winked out, as if a shawl had been drawn over the sky. A fog chased up the hill like a tidal wave and clouded Mel’s view. The fog moved upward and the sky rippled with a surge of power. All heavenly lights darkened and Mel aimed a thrower in the direction of the sorcerer.
If he knew she was here and came looking for her, it’d be his last act on Earth. She feared no one. She was Hellish Mel.
What was the inspiration for your story?
I started with the family farm I grew up on and the story grew from there. I always wanted to find a hidden treasure on our family property and that drove the plot line for The Hunter Awakens.
What kept you going throughout the writing process?
Who is your most meaningful character and why?
Ethan’s Grandpa Vern means a lot to me. My grandpa passed away when I was twelve and I have missed him ever since. We would have so much in common. He loved reading and history and observing animals but never hunting them. I immediately knew I wanted to set my story on the old family farm that Grandpa worked his entire life and having a strong grandpa character was imperative to the story.
Can we expect to hear more from these characters in the near future?
Grandpa Vern has a small role in the second book but will continue to be important, especially later in the series.
How has this story touched your life?
It was the first piece I ever wrote that I was proud of. I wrote it for reluctant readers because I was one before I discovered Harry Potter. I fell in love with writing in the process and couldn’t imagine my life without writing and all of the amazing people it has added to my life.
What motivated you to start writing?
Reading has enriched my life so much. My goal as an author is to write easy to read, fast paced stories that transform reluctant readers into avid readers. Ever since Harry Potter ended and my younger sister encouraged me to write, I have spent thousands of hours writing and learning how to improve my writing.
About the Author:
J.R. Roper is the author of The Morus Chronicles, a fantasy series for middle grade readers. The first two books, The Hunter Awakens and The Spirit of Steel are now available along with a collection of short stories titled Mel & the Black Rider. Roper’s work has appeared in ChildGood Magazine, Families First Monthly, and in anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, Horrified Press, and Thirteen O’Clock Press.
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