Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Author Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ THE DARK BEAST by Dave Maruszewski

The Dark Beast (Raven, Romda and Ravai, #1)
by: Dave Maruszewski
Series: Raven, Romda and Ravai
Genre: Children's/ Chapter Books/ Middle Grade
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Publisher: BookBaby
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble Paperback | | Indigo | Goodreads

Recently knighted squires Raven, Romda, and Ravai are tasked to help a nearby priest. However, this simple errand turns into much more. They cross paths with the Dark Beast. After that brief encounter, they soon realize the Beast’s plans to destroy an entire town. They journey to this town, meeting residents who tell large tales about the Beast. How much of stories are true? The three will find out. The Dark Beast is coming.

Hi Dave. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
Hello. Thank you for having me on your site. I am very happy now.

That’s good to hear. You are very welcome. Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Dark Beast. What can you tell me about the story?
Thank you! The story is about three recently knighted friends who go on their first journey beyond the scope of the castle. The novices were sent out there because it seemed like a simple task but then it spirals a bit.

This book is the first in the series. The Dark Beast is the antagonist but he really ends up being the main character. The trio find out about him not through research or dialogue with him, but through all of these tales and local legends. It’s unclear to how much of this lore is true or concocted.

In the end, they have to deal with him, over-exaggerated or not.

Tell me about Raven, Romda, and Ravai. The book is listed as middle grade, are they in the 12-14-year-old range?
Wow, you’ve done your homework. Even though this is a middle grade book, I have them more in the late teens to early twenties. I try not to tell too much about them because I want the reader to use their imaginations on what they look like and what true age they are.

I actually made them a little older than the targeted reader because of what I was reading at that age. I was reading comic books. Don’t judge! (Just Kidding.) I was a slow reader, so I found comics easier to devour.

Most comic heroes were a little older. I think it gave us something to look up to, and also a goal to grow towards. I wanted to give my readers that same experience. Even though these three characters aren’t perfect, I think the youth can identify with them as well as look a little into the future.

I understand that. How did you come up with their names?
Haha. That is an excellent question. They are odd, aren’t they? I based these characters off of people. I ended up putting R’s in front of them and then morphing the rest as to protect the identity of the real heroes.

The origin actually came from a very short story that I made up for my son, David, and his friend to entertain them and calm them down before bed so that they wouldn’t wake up my wife. I’m not saying that two of the characters were named after them, but I wouldn’t rule it out either.

The story that I told isn’t what turn into the book but became the impetus for The Dark Beast and its characters. In the second book, which won’t be out until later this year, I got to use the original story as a chapter in the book.

Oh. That’s really cool. The character of the Dark Beast sounds very interesting. Without giving anything away, can you tell me about the character?
He’s a person who never quite feels a part of “the group.” At first, it is because he is exceptional. Everyone kind of puts him on a pedestal. So, even though he receives admiration, he doesn’t feel the equality met between friends. Later, he changes and receives scorn rather than recognition. To him, even though this is hurtful, it really doesn’t change his status. He’s still an outsider.

I think in some ways that makes him a different sort of villain. He appears to just be malicious and angry, but in reality, he’s a bit too objective. People aren’t to be sympathized with, but instead fixed or destroyed if they don’t serve a purpose. His anger comes more from frustration of dealing with these humans and a misunderstanding of his loneliness.

What is the targeted age group for this story?
I think it is best for ages 8-14. It has very short chapters. That is part for these ages, but also it is geared towards people who aren’t as apt to read. I’m hoping to get more youth reading. In fact, if older teens want to read it, even the better. It should feel rather light and easy to read.

Is there any part of The Dark Beast that could be sensitive to some members of your audience?
I try to keep all of the heavy and adult stuff out of it. In fact, I avoid crass language if I can.

The only worry parents might have is that I use action to keep youth engaged. So, there is a little more fighting in it than a regular book. It isn’t graphic violence however. I try to make the conflicts serve a purpose.

The Dark Beast is listed as the first book in your Raven, Romda, and Ravai series. Does it end in a cliffhanger?
No, I wouldn’t do that to my audience. Okay, maybe I would after a few books. There are a lot of arcs and threads through the books that provide continuity and set up bigger stories later. However, in the beginning, I want each book to be self-contained. I’m going for a feeling similar to TV series that ends in finale at the end of the season, but for the most part the stories conclude each week.

How many books do you expect to have in the series?
That is hard to say. I don’t have a final story that ends everything. Instead, I have a few backstories that build and eventually take the main focus of the plot. I also have a progression for each of the three’s individual stories. They will each go on their own growth journey.

Right now, I’ve laid out around 10 stories already, and God-willing, I can go beyond that. Hopefully, people will support the series and find the ride enjoyable.

What can readers expect next from you and the Raven, Romda and Ravai series?
The first book is very antagonist-based. Most of my books will be that way, but I also want to start pulling more out of the trio. Each of the next books will focus more on their personalities. We look a little more at Ravai in the next book, but also explore Raven and Romda more as well.

As for the bad guys, I get my son to help me pick out the villains. It ends up being less traditional than you are used to reading in these types of books. For instance, the next book will deal with the undead. In the third book, you kind of have to guess who the bad guy is.

I’ll try to mix up the types of book structure as well. You should see some mysteries, action, horror and quest driven books. I should point out that all of these will be for youth, so nothing to mind bending or “mature.” As part of this, I try to add a lot of comedy to the stories. That should break up the spaces nicely.

Dave, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me.
You are most welcome. That was a fun interview. Those were great questions!

Thank you!

Raven’s cut is not deep, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. Raven pulls out his short sword and slices the man. The man falls to the ground immediately. The others pull out their blades. Raven hits his foe on the wrist, knocking the blade loose. The man grabs his hand in pain and turns around to run. He finds Ravai standing directly in his way. He takes one punch and knocks the man out.

Paces away, both Romda and the leader are now on their feet with swords out. Romda can parry everything that the man can throw. However, his aggression pushes him closer and closer to her. She pulls back and stumbles over some debris on the road. This gives the leader a chance. He thrusts his sword toward her abdomen. She blocks it at the very last moment of opportunity. The leader gets so frustrated that he kicks at her and connects. She falls to the ground again.

The leader starts his approach again. This time he does not get any closer. Instead, he feels Raven and Ravai gang-rush him. He’s on his back in less than a second, now feeling the weight of them smashing down on and knocking the breath out of him.

Now, two of the four are winded and in pain. Another is knocked out. The last has a serious wound across his ribs. They don’t put up much of a fight but surrender. As they round them up, now Raven, Romda, and Ravai do the circling. They tell the captives to put up their hands.

Ravai tells them sternly, “Keep them up in the air the entire time we walk. If I see them drop we will assume that you are attacking again.”

They do as they are told. They are led past the other citizens, both the good and the bad. They are embarrassed. Many in the crowd are relieved.

Raven leans over to Romda and says, “Look at that guy’s arm.”

Romda looks. At first she notices nothing peculiar. Then it hits her. She sees what Raven means. It is a mark on the forearm that she has seen before. In fact, not too long ago. It was on the driver of the caravan, a symbol of the Dark Beast.

Purchase The Dark Beast from:

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

Dave Maruszewski is blessed with a great family. He was originally inspired to write stories by his wife and son, when they encouraged him to put his bedtime stories on paper.

His stories are created from an accumulation of experiences from careers/backgrounds as a physicist, engineer, teacher, artist, video game designer and software developer. He strives to develop stories with sound moral values that will be enlightening as well as entertaining to youths and adults.

In between writing stories and running his own company, Digital Tumult (, Dave enjoys video games, watching internet videos and hanging out with his family.

Places to find Dave Maruszewski:

You can follow The Dark Beast Book Tour here.

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  1. The book sounds really good. I loved the interview and excerpt.

  2. Thank you for this interview! This si a great site. I wish you much success.

  3. What inspires our main character ideas?

  4. I enjoyed learning more about the author in the interview

  5. I'm sorry, but I'll have to update my google account or something. I am listed as Unknown but I am Dave Maruszewski. Thank you all for the comments and words of encouragement.

    The my characters are driven by different things. Ravai tends to have more base inspirations like glory, hunger, simple stuff that he desires in the moment. Raven is driven by a strong desire to do good and not let others down. Romda is driven by knowledge and devotion. Once she has a goal she will get tunnel vision in accomplishing it. Overall, they are all fairly loyal. Thank you for your question!

  6. This sounds like a book I could actually get my son to read and enjoy! Thank you for sharing!

  7. What is your favorite space to do your writing?

    1. This is me as Unknown again :-) Thank you for your question.

      I like to write buried away in my quiet office at home. I try to stay away from too many distractions. However, if it gets too quiet I turn the music up :-D

      How about you?


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