Nov 08, 2010

ROAD SIGNS: A Journey Into Magical Realism

Posted by: Kristi Jenkins in Client News on Nov 8, 2010

Tagged in: Market , genre , future of publishing , fiction , debut authors , client news

Straddling the line between fantasy and literary fiction is a genre known as magical realism. It combines the poetic punch of literature with surreal and otherworldly elements to make a genre far richer than either genre alone. Our editors were pleased to work with such a book recently, and we're even more pleased to announce that Jay Archer David's ROAD SIGNS is now available to the public. "There is a road between places, between things, peoples and times. It conceals magic, bestows power-but mostly we travel it with eyes closed. David wants to open his eyes and travel farther." This is the premise behind ROAD SIGNS, and we've invited Jay Archer David to share more about his book, and its creation.

TED: Tell us a little bit about the genesis of the book idea and/or how you came to decide to write it.

JAD: The most memorable stories not only draw us into the tale but whisper to us at a deeper level. Any genre can achieve this. While being thoroughly entertained by a movie like "The Matrix", something asleep inside us stirs. Some part of us recognizes the idea of being wired into an illusion, that life as we observe it might not be the real life; and if we chose to see the matrix for what it was, could we work magic?

This profound potential of fiction to touch us at multiple levels is what excites me to write--to blend traditional story elements of suspense, twists, and intrigue with the nuance of spiritual exploration. I delight in using every story-telling technique to get the reader hungrily turning pages and thinking along familiar yet compelling lines, only to have the tale turn upside down as it explodes into different dimensions. This is why many readers re-read Road Signs, because after they come to realize what was truly happening in the plot, the second time--it is a different book.

My favorite genre is Magical Realism, where phantoms of the magical walk alongside us here in the world of reality, creating a thin line between what is and what could be.

TED: How long did it take you to write? How many drafts?

JAD: Road Signs gushed out in less than a year. This was followed by a year of expanding Road Signs as I realized other parts of the tale that begged to be included. Also there were revisions based on feedback from the first readers. Finally, I spent a third year polishing prose and plot under the guidance of the extremely talented TED editor Andrew Meisenheimer.

TED: Tell us a little about your target audience, what kinds of readers are most likely to enjoy the book?

JAD: Road Signs has the potential to cross over to a great many potential readers. Its themes are archetypal and hidden behind a complex and suspenseful plot. It can be a disturbingly mysterious, and a sometimes humorous story.

TED: What did you enjoy most in the process of writing the book or find most satisfying about the experience of publishing it?

JAD: I loved being the first reader of a story that seemed to be writing itself. I find tremendous joy in grooming a group of sentences, sometimes for hours, that have the important role of conveying a feeling just so. I never tire of it, and looked forward to each revision as the opportunity to play in the sandbox yet again.

TED: What are you happiest with about the book now that's it's finished?

JAD: The most exciting aspect of the published Road Signs is hearing what different readers bring to the story, or take from the story. I love listening to what is stirred in them, and it's always something different. In some ways Road Signs becomes a Rorschach upon which a reader can paint his or her own life. That is magical realism!

TED: What's next for you as a writer? Any other projects planned or underway?

JAD: Road Signs is actually my 2nd book. It just happened to pop out first, because it was ready for me. For some time I've had an even more ambitious story to tell. However, I'm in the process of becoming capable of writing that one. Personal insight is so much a part of the process for the type of novels I aspire to write. And I'm still ripening. However, many of the pieces of this larger tale are assembling . . . and it's very exciting.


To learn more about Jay Archer David, Road Signs, or his upcoming projects, visit his website at

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