A beast, a girl and a quest
By James Card
There are two ways to experience the voice of Richard Sweitzer.
On the radio as Rick Winters, he is the main announcer on Lakes 92.7 and 100.7 The Foundry. On the pages of his new book, he is a storyteller of a fantasy world where a young girl comes across an immortal beast that wants to die and she gives him a reason to live for a little while longer.
The novel, “Ode: The Scion of Nerikan,” is a fantasy adventure with multiple storylines. An immortal monster is looking for a reason to die and he comes across a little girl and they form a bond and they go on a quest.
Sweitzer likens the fantasy world similar to Tolkien’s English-influenced Middle Earth but with a more mountainous Germanic landscape.
Sweitzer grew up reading science fiction but when the Lord of the Rings film trilogy came out he shifted his reading to fantasy.
“I read everything I could of fantasy. The story just started flowing out. This story developed because I had this image in my head,” said Sweitzer, nodding to the cover art on his book.
“This monster and the little girl on her shoulder but the key was she was point the direction, she was leading the way,” he said.
The two of them are standing upon a rugged mountain and looking towards a mysterious castle in the distance. “It’s the idea of her saying let’s go this way. It’s the big scary monster being led by the little girl.”
Sweitzer studied at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and got a degree in English. On a whim, he took a filler class in creative writing. The catch was writing a five-page short story by the end of the semester – a daunting prospect for Sweitzer. He learned to love it and his professor took him aside and told him he was the best writer he’s had in 20 years. It changed his perspective and he added creative writing as a minor.
He went to UW-Milwaukee and got a master’s degree in creative writing in 2013.
“That was when I started writing this book. This wasn’t for a class. It was on the side,” he said.
He wrote every morning before heading into the radio station. Sweitzer finished the book and got literary representation. The agency suggested edits and so began an editing cycle that lasted for five years.
Sweitzer pulled the book from the agency, rewrote it back to mostly original form but keeping some of the better editing suggestions.
Patrick Thelen-Brazier created the cover art and Sweitzer printed the book with IngramSpark, an online self-publishing company that allows authors to print and globally distribute their work.
Upon release this year, his novel made it to No. 8 in their General Fantasy category and readers in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Philippines, Poland, and Canada have purchased copies.
The book can be purchased through all major online booksellers. It’s available at local libraries and it’s in the front window the Bookcellar in downtown Waupaca.
“I apologize to anybody on Main Street if you have almost run into the back of my car when I slam on my brakes every time I see it sitting there,” said Sweitzer.
Piggly Wiggly also has the book in stock.
Sweitzer has more in the works. He is producing an audiobook version of “Ode: The Scion of Nerikan.” Although it is a standalone novel, it was loosely based on characters from a previous unpublished book. He will be publishing that manuscript and also writing a sequel to “Ode.” A video trailer for the book can be viewed at www.richardsweitzer.com.