Moab author Christopher Cleveland puts his fictional characters in a number of harrowing situations.
One may need to battle the Minotaur of Greek mythology in order to survive. Another must learn how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
You can find a number of Cleveland’s 18 works (and counting) of fiction at the Grand County Public Library: the first two books of the “Lost Legends of Egypt” series, and the first two books of his “Kingdom of Demigods” series (with a post-apocalyptic theme).
His work to date includes the mystery/horror books “Bull Grave,” based on the Greek story of Theseus and the Minotaur, and its sequel, “Rex Eddison,” based on the Greek story of Oedipus Rex.
Cleveland is inspired by Rick Riordan, who also writes in the same genre of mythology/fantasy and is known worldwide for his “Percy Jackson” series.
He had big difficulties with reading, he said, especially when he was about 4 or 5 years old.
“I was encouraged to have an appetite for learning to read and practicing reading,” he said. “In substitution for video games and movies, books would become my primary entertainment, even long after I had conquered the initial difficulties of learning.”
He discovered his interest in mythology when he was about 8 years old. One of the first gifts he received from his paternal grandmother was “D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths,” full of stories and illustrations that captured this child’s imagination and triggered his love of reading. (The Grand County Public Library has this book, too.)
He remembers he then read a different book by the same authors, about Norse mythology. Cleveland’s interest in ancient history and mythology continued to blossom.
“By the time I was in high school, I was reading Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare because I could,” he said. “And because I felt like it. I read Dante the year before it was required in my curriculum. I read Shakespeare regularly. I was the kid who was reading ‘King Lear’ or one of the ‘King Henry’ books.”
Cleveland now plans to expand his knowledge of world mythologies.
“I’m looking into learning Arab and Irish mythology, maybe some Chinese and Japanese mythology, perhaps a little Hindu mythology on the side,” he said.
He notes a couple of interesting facts about how he, as an author, creates works of fiction. He has Asperger’s syndrome, and he said he’s noticed that people along the autism spectrum can have difficulties with figures of speech, metaphors and allegory.
“These difficulties hold me back somewhat, but I did begin to understand – by reading Greek mythology – what allegory, metaphysical and terms like that meant,” he said. “I learned the origins of the expression ‘sour grapes’ from Aesop’s fables. That story is a metaphor for being a sore loser.”
“These books are a testimony to my growth in those areas, and that I write them to keep growing in metaphorical and allegorical understanding,” he added. “(I would like some) help in improving on this journey and thus need community input in the form of purchases, feedback on the site, that sort of thing.”
His website, www.authorchris.com, has a contact form through which site visitors can submit their comments to him.
Grand County Public Library Assistant Jessie Magleby said the library is always delighted to support local authors, and its employees are especially fond of Cleveland.
“It’s interesting to point out that he wrote most of these books on our (library computers), polishing them here and doing research on ancient civilizations,” she said “… Most of us have known Chris since he was a schoolboy. It’s been delightful to watch him grow up and become a person so dedicated to pursuing his craft.”
Some of his book themes are tried and true through the centuries, but his approach to publishing his works are as cutting edge as you can get. Cleveland, 25 years old, is part of the wave of self-published authors using publishing tools that did not exist 10 years ago.
His publishing house of choice is Amazon Publishing. It takes care of a lot of the legwork associated with creating a book, whether a hard-copy book or an e-book. It handles the cover art and the page layout. It advertises the final product on the Amazon.com website and ships the orders to customers.
Cleveland has lived in Moab since 2003, when his family moved here. He currently works at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center, as well as Four Corners Community Behavioral Health.
As far as hobbies go, he has what he calls a leather-bound sorcerer’s book, where he’s been making entries in Sanskrit, runes and soon in cuneiform, with annotations in ancient Greek.
The book, which he hopes to have ready for Comic-Con next year, contains random ideas he has for random stories in the future.
Cleveland is busy finishing writing the third “Demigods” book, slated for a July release, and his third “Lost Legends” book. Then he plans to tackle the third, concluding volume for his “Bull Grave” series.
Cleveland’s novels and novellas are available for purchase through Amazon, as paperbacks or e-books.
Local author finds inspiration in Greek classics