Debut novel by E.Detorres
eBook Version is Available
"Araya is a gripping dark thriller in which psychological terror plays a big part, and it never lets up in tension and suspense. The expert use of imagery and metaphors by Detorres ignites readers’ imaginations so that they can easily picture images in their minds of the setting and the characters, while also experiencing the action in the story. The violent scenes and material depicting sexual behavior are described in graphic detail. There are a number of heart-pounding incidents in Araya that will leave readers wondering how things will turn out for the characters. Detorres has penned an excellent book that superbly illustrates the resilience of the human spirit and is well-worth reading."—Dianne Woodman, Bestsellersworld.com
"Told through first person experiences of the main characters, the author effectively makes the story feel full and immersive by carrying the reader through character flashbacks, allowing backstory to inform the current decisions each of the characters face. As readers learn more about Ellis and Alex, they are also informed about the talents, challenges, and experiences of working with Autistic individuals, and how those skills are universally applicable. Araya is ultimately a story of hope, even amidst the frightening forest and the terrors waiting just out of sight. Readers are not coddled with a tidy ending, but challenged to consider the realities of war, and the universal humanity that connects everyone."—Sarah Baer, IndieReader
"A richly imagined tale...
Detorres draws on folktale and myth to create his alternative world: with Hell's Heart at its center, it is as unique and strange as a fairytale setting. The winding forest, where the trees are the ultimate master is both wholly sinister and strangely exotic.
Detorres adeptly incorporates fantasy elements into the futuristic setting. Hi-tech weapons, fantastical monsters, political intrigue, and individual struggles all find a place in the leisurely paced narrative. In chronicling Ellis and Alex's journey, Detorres explores universal themes of survival, loss, grief, examination of one's identity, bond of friendship, trust, and love. Along the way, he ventures into machinations of mind and power of will, exploring the fine line between light and darkness, the resilience versus fragility of mind, and drive.
This provocative novel is not for everyone, but aficionados of morally serious SF will find it rewarding."--The Prairies Book Review
"The intriguing cast that features characters from a broad spectrum, including Gundogs, RAIN soldiers, and special needs students, all doing their best to survive in a hostile setting is compelling and gives readers plenty with which to identify. Ellis is a peculiar mixture of competence and intense drive. Alex, Ellis’ right-hand and close friend on his mission is equally compelling. Detorres insightfully chronicles Alex’s gradual awakening to her own strength and potential as she struggles to stay alive in the forest and rescue Araya."—Goodreads
E.Detorres has worked in special education needs and mainstream schools which has inspired him to write about his experiences with unique people. His eclectic school experiences, from lunchtime supervisor to Assistant Head Teacher and Inclusion Manager, and his Creative Writing with English Literature degree, and his Master's in Psychology has led him to write Araya—a thriller about the human condition. His passion for teaching influenced his psychology thesis in which he explored the phenomenon of flow experiences and the mental and emotional well-being of teachers. He was awarded a distinction for his psychology thesis and he hopes that his research can improve the lives of teachers and the children they nurture. He considers himself a forever student who constantly seeks to improve himself and enrich the lives around him.
Interview extract from BooksUplift.com
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it?
Araya is my debut novel, and my inspiration came from working with children with additional needs. I am an autism specialist teacher by trade, and I have worked in Special Educational Needs (SEN) primary and secondary schools. I am currently the Assistant Head Teacher/Inclusion Manager in a mainstream primary school and was shocked at how little mainstream teachers knew about SEN, especially autism. I wrote Araya after leaving my SEN school because I missed working there and I had so many great stories about my time in the educational setting.
Araya gave me a chance to share my stories by creating a fantasy world that is populated with my experiences at my previous SEN school and the lessons that I have learned. The children that I work with can experience anxiety more acutely than other people and it is often regarded as their predominant emotion (but not their only emotion). Araya is set in Hell’s Heart, the forest that tries to recreate the level of anxiety experienced by these unique people, and I share my knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to help others understand how to support these amazing people. Araya is in many ways my love song to the teaching profession and to these special individuals that I have enjoyed teaching. The story has allowed me to explore mental and emotional well-being and how we can support ourselves and others by understanding our emotions and developing emotional resilience.
Interview extract from Dianne Woodman (Bestsellersworld.com)
The ingenious way the trees can invade a person’s mind is very creative as are the techniques people use in the fight to stay sane. What was the reasoning behind imbuing the trees with music and lyrics to overwhelm people’s minds, and how did you decide on the ways people fought to regain control over their thoughts?
I have always been fascinated when I see people enrapt in their passions, like a musician or method actor. I love watching people losing themselves in music and expressing themselves in dance. Now, I am by no means a good dancer, but I love the experience of hearing a song that sends my imagination into overdrive and takes me to a place that doesn’t exist anywhere else save my mind. It would be accurate to say that I wrote the whole of Araya listening to Orion by Metallica which is one of my favourite songs. I love the rhythm of the drums that brutally pound and then the blissful pause when the drums cease, and the guitars create dreamlike melodies. Orion is the soundtrack of Araya and people familiar with the song will be able to appreciate the influence it has had on the story. The Song of the forest is constantly likened to a beating drum and when the characters hear it, they slowly lose themselves to The Song. Regarding how I decided how people fought to regain control over their thoughts, I used my training as an ASD specialist teacher, as well as my training as a Mental Health First Aider, and my knowledge from completing my Master’s in Psychology. In the story, the characters allocate all their attention to a limited stimulus field in which they block out all stimuli that is external to the activity they are completing; this is a phenomenon that is known as Flow Experience, and I explored this in my psychology thesis, which was titled ‘Flow in Teaching,’ and investigated the mental and emotional well-being of teachers. My thesis was awarded a distinction and it discusses how focusing our attention and applying our skills to overcome challenges can provide an individual with happiness. The characters in Araya use their understanding of Flow to combat The Song of the forest and regain control of their minds. They are blocking out the external world and allowing only certain aspects of their environment to enter their consciousness, and that is how they can overcome the lullabies of Hell’s Heart.
Ellis leads his Gundogs into Hell’s Heart, the forest that heeds its own gods and spits on the laws of men, to hunt Gluttons and shred their armour. But the deadly prey is not all they must contend with—Ellis’ Gundogs must battle The Song of the forest, and when The Song casts its rhythm into their bones, self-slaughter and murder are the only thoughts the Gundogs have left.
In Hell’s Heart, the trees are lord and master.
Dram, an imperious soldier commanding the forces of Spectre Alliance, appears in the Gundogs’ mountain stronghold at the moment when Ellis is fighting off The Song. Dram promises Ellis riches if he will venture into Hell’s Heart and use his specialist skills to retrieve a weapon that could end the war. Ellis accepts, knowing he must use all his training to endure The Song and get his Gundogs home. But as his mind disintegrates in the forest, he slowly succumbs to the madness spilling from the trees.
Araya is a work about the fragility of the mind and how emotional resilience can lead an individual to achieve great feats. It is a story of friendship and love, loss and madness, and that delicate balance between light and darkness which reminds us that we are made of flesh, and all flesh is doomed to die. A thriller about the human condition that explores the tyrannical hand emotions have over our decisions and quality of life, with prose that emphasises: we must be great with the time that we have.
Gundogs race against time in Hell’s Heart, because with every passing second the forest tightens its noose and sharpens its blade.