Jay Roland: The Unconventional Journey of a Fantasy Author
Jay Roland, author of “Shadow of the Soul Blade” and the Darkthorne Chronicles trilogy, is a born storyteller. Born in 1981 in Flint, Michigan, Jay grew up in the urban section of North Flint, known as Beecher. Raised by his mother and stepfather, Aron Wilson, Jay’s early home life was challenging, as his biological parents never married. However, he found solace in the company of his sister, Gina, who affectionately nicknamed him “Jay,” a name that would stick with him throughout his life.
Jay’s educational journey was unconventional, to say the least. He attended a dizzying array of schools, bouncing between four elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools within four school districts in Genesee County Michigan. At age 16, Jay left home to work at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, but soon found himself homeless. He turned to his biological father, David Roland, for support until a disagreement about spirituality led him to leave again. Jay never finished high school but found work as an IT technician, eventually earning his GED in 2003.
In 2005, Jay began work on a new role-playing game with some friends called Darkthorne, based on the world of Ashana that they created. After years of crafting stories in this world, Jay decided to create an adventure that he could share with the world. The first book in the Darkthorne Chronicles trilogy, “Shadow of the Soul Blade,” is the culmination of that effort.
Despite being a new author, Jay’s influences are already clear. He draws inspiration from Terry Goodkind and Jim Butcher for world-building and Joe Abercrombie for style and tone. He also cites Shakespeare’s complete works as a source of inspiration for his writing. Jay’s world is unique, with no dragons, elves, dwarves, or standard fantasy beasts, but the tone of Tolkien’s writing shines through in places.
In “Shadow of the Soul Blade,” Jay explores the concept of balancing internal dichotomies. The story follows four strangers who begin the journey hating each other but grow to understand and appreciate each other’s perspectives. Through their journey, Jay asks readers to consider how to balance personal will with duty, how to weigh personal goals against doing what’s right for others, and how to overcome personal bias to see people for who they truly are.
Jay’s writing process is as unconventional as his educational journey. He spends twenty years crafting his world, imagining the most concentrated personification of evil he can muster and having it try to overtake the world. Then he examines how that would impact three or four individuals and writes a 3-page short story. From there, he breaks the story into bite-sized sections and writes between 1500 and 6500 words for each section. He writes each section out of order, as long as he gives each part of the story sufficient representation.
One of Jay’s favorite trilogies is “The First Law” trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie taught Jay the value of using action tags over speech tags, a lesson that Jay puts into practice in his own writing.
In “Shadow of the Soul Blade,” Jay has created a world full of unique characters and creatures that will transport readers to another realm. With a rich, unconventional writing process and a focus on balancing internal dichotomies, Jay Roland is a fresh new voice in thefantasy genre.
Jay’s writing style is unapologetically action-packed, with a keen attention to detail that brings the story to life. As a reader, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the world of DarkThorne, where the characters’ struggles and triumphs become your own.
Beyond his talent for storytelling, Jay’s dedication to the craft is evident in his unwavering commitment to his writing. Balancing his role as an IT director, father to five children, and husband to his wife, Jay still manages to find the time to pursue his passion for writing. Sacrificing his own personal life for the love of his craft, Jay’s perseverance is inspiring.
With “Shadow of the Soul Blade” set to launch, Jay’s current focus is on the extensive marketing and outreach necessary for a successful self-publishing venture. But beyond the initial launch, Jay already has plans in motion for a series of unrelated short stories, each a psychological thriller mystery.
Fans of the fantasy genre looking for a fresh new voice will not be disappointed in Jay Roland’s “Shadow of the Soul Blade” due to be released in May of 2023. With his unique approach to character development and storytelling, Jay is sure to make a lasting impact on the world of literature.
To follow Jay on his journey as a new author, he invites you to visit his webpage www.jayroland.net