Doom Absolute series: What if death can be cheated?
I am very pleased to introduce to you a very talented writer and illustrator whose novels, Doom Absolute, and Heretic, I had the pleasure to read and review recently. (My reviews are at the end of this spotlight.)
We all die – it’s inevitable.
But, what if you were offered the chance to come back? Change your ways, live life to the full, do all the things you wanted to do?
Alma is gifted that chance, and she takes it without question. Barely in her teens, her life cruelly cut short in a world even more cruel. She seizes that opportunity with both hands, jumps in with reckless youthful abandon, waves away the small print. Thank you very much.
Now, trapped between the world of the dead and the living she races against the clock, stalked by supernatural forces and even the enemies responsible for her demise – to fulfil her contract before it’s too late and is dragged kicking and screaming to a place with no way out; for the rest of time.
And now for the sequel Heretic:
The smoke and dust settle, and the fires go out.
Alma leads a normal life; it’s what she’d always wanted. Blending in with others her age, she could be just a regular girl: phoning her friends, tormenting boys, not caring about the little things. A far cry from the girl that helped bring down the skyscraper of a mega-conglomerate, that wriggled out the world of the dead by the skin of her teeth and defy Algor Mortis.
Now it’s a different kind of problem. Her new school, rife with bullies, picking on her and her friends because they’re different. Intent on causing misery. But she won’t have it; they’re messing with the wrong girl. All this to worry about and still her powers won’t leave her alone, still the freak in her itching to get out, no matter how hard she tries to forget.
Those she defied haven’t forgotten the name Alma. She might have defeated them, vanished somehow with her companions from right under their noses, but they can’t forget. Won’t forget.
The smoke and dust have settled, and the fires may have gone out. But revenge was always a dish best served cold.
Born 5/3/1980 London UK. RT attended Wolverhampton University for BA illustration.
Doom Absolute is his first novel and RT has plans to run the series for six volumes. I can’t wait!
Let’s get to know RT a little better:
I see you started out as an illustrator, when did you decide to become a writer?
My early twenties were the turning point for me; that’s when I decided to give a novel a real go. If not just to get some of those ideas cluttering up my head down on paper.
Have you ever considered penning a graphic novel?
I penned a graphic novel during college; various adventures involving me and my mates. But now? I don’t think so. The closest I get is mocking up storyboards to play out certain scenes in my books. I have a lot of respect though for the guys who produce graphic novels. A lot of those guys work in pairs: the writer and the artist. I think working with another person would be quite hard. You’d really have to trust that person to deliver your ideas across the way you intended.
You don’t give much away in your bio, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, from as early as junior school. I used to hand in extra homework to my English teacher to mark, but really it was me trying to see what he made of my creative writing. I received the highest mark in my SATs for the creative writing exercise, and I’m pretty certain my creative writing got me through my GCSEs. When I left school I still didn’t know what a noun or verb was. I went to Wolverhampton Uni to study Illustration, but became ‘disenchanted’ by the whole setup and left to find a job a year and half into the course. I don’t regret leaving. Since then I have been in full-time employment and writing furiously in my spare time.
Where did you get the idea from to write the Doom Absolute series?
My sister was working as a rep in Scotland and was badgering me for some penmail, so I decided to write a series of short stories for her. I’d send an episode or two away to her and then give her a choice which direction she’d like to take the story. Many of the characters that are in Doom Absolute were in this penmail! The whole cast took me about an hour to mock up: I looked around my room, noted my cactus plant, the cat on my bed, dog on my floor. I was eating a banana with my left hand and my sister’s middle name…? Alma.
Did you do any research into myths and legends before writing the books?
I’ve always been drawn to the supernatural, and have a healthy knowledge of Greek and Norse mythology. If that’s transferred itself into my stories then it was subconsciously. I always try to be original. For creatures I use that aren’t original I’ll take an unusual stance with them and surprise the reader. I’m itching to get some giant hairy spiders into my story. I think they get a bad rep.
I really like the character, Pepsi, do you have a favourite character, if so what is it about them that you like?
I’ve always liked Fantastic Cactus; I’m a big fan of the anti-hero character. As a writer you can do pretty much whatever you like with them. The reader knows deep down they’re good –just don’t be surprised if they say/do something you don’t like.
What is your favourite genre to write in and why?
Fantasy. It’s always about fantasy. I fly that flag high and proud.
Do you have a favourite author/s?
I quite like Paulo Coelho. His words are inspiring.
Do you prefer drawing to writing prose?
Absolutely not. I’ve never really truly enjoyed painting/drawing. Writing on the other hand makes my heart sing. I guess that’s how you know what you’re meant to be.
Has anyone inspired you in regards to how you write?
I think Elmore Leonard is a fantastic writer. Reading his novels taught me a lot in regards dialogue. I recommend any aspiring writer to read one or two of his novels; the man is a master.
When you are not writing, what do you do?
Listen to music; go for long walks with the pooch.
Where do you write and what time of the day do you prefer to work?
I’m flexible. I’ll write whenever I can. I always carry a notebook around with me at work however. If I get an idea I’ll jot it down quickly before I lose it. I’ve got pages and pages of ideas and conversations waiting to go down.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? Editing, thinking of a title, starting, ending, you know that kind of thing.
For me it’s getting that main plot together. Once I’m happy with the proposed plot arc I’ll let the characters take the story along and let the twists and turns happen as I get to them. It’s quite a natural easy process.
If your book were to be made into a film, who would play your lead characters?
Alma – Chloe Grace Moretz
Moto – Palm –Not sure on this one.
Pepsi – (voice of Bill Murray)
Maxi – (voice of Elizabeth Dawn)
Ellis – John Mahoney
The Cardinal – Daniel Day-Lewis
FC – (voice of Vin Diesel)
Ed – Elle Fanning
Styard – Jason Gordon-Levitt
Batisma – Ben Kingsley
The Count – Hmmm another tricky one, this.
If you could spend a day in a book as your favourite character, who would you be, what book would it be, and why?
I’d be General Marc (Heretic). I’d love to have that army at my command, and all that tradition and magic to guard her homeland. Not for the day Alma turned up though.
One last question: what are you working on now?
Right now I’m creating an illustrated book of wild-lore for the website. The third book is still in the initial stages. Books are like stews to me. When it’s ready it’s ready.
Thank you RT for some wonderful answers.
If you want to know more about RT Worth and his novels, then check out the links below. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. I for one will be keeping my eyes open and my breath baited in anticipation of this talented authors’ next installment of the Doom Absolute series.
Here is the official website (for more illustrations), links and blog.
My reviews for Doom Absolute and Heretic:
Doom Absolute Weird and Wonderful
I wasn’t sure what to say about this book at first, not because it is bad, but because it is so odd – in a good way. I loved the concept of writing about a place almost Purgatory like, where the dead abide, but have the opportunity to escape. In this strange world, some are given the chance to live again. A young girl, Alma, is offered this opportunity and we are transported into a dream-like universe where plants are people, people are plants, gnomes are evil, insects are huge and some even friendly, and everything is not what it seems. For Alma to return to the land of the living, she must honour the contract she made, but time is running out for our confused heroine and she must battle against other-worldly forces and those responsible for her untimely death, before it is too late.
I really enjoyed reading this odd book. The author, RT Worth, has a vivid imagination. I loved his ideas and the strange occupants of this dead/alive world are truly original. Alma has many odd creatures that help her with her quest to become one of the living again. One of my favourites is The Fantastic Cactus character, or Greenman. He not only speaks, but also helps Alma to escape her death prison and pops up now and then when she is in peril. My other favourite is the cat, Black Knight that Alma saves from Shindy’s Arena. This animal becomes her bodyguard and has some very useful supernatural powers that aid Alma in finishing her quest.
The only thing that bothered me and kept my rating from being a 5 (4.7) is that there weren’t enough detailed physical descriptions of these weird locations. There were times when I couldn’t visualise the setting, which is important in a narrative like this, where places are alien to the reader. Other than that, a great book! The ending does not disappoint either and I was happy to see that there will be more escapades for this unusual heroine. I look forward to reading more from this fine writer.
Heretic: Weirder and weirder.
I loved Doom Absolute and its weird world and creatures, so was excited to read Heretic. In the second book our heroine, Alma, is alive and back in school, coping with all the stuff that teens go through. Except that she is different. She has been dead and is now finding being alive again hard. But she soon meets up with others not too dissimilar to herself. Her transition and those of her friends, is not easy, as they need to be medicated in order to stay alive. Their bodies seem to be their enemies now and strange poisons and life threatening weaknesses are hampering their difficult existence in the normal world.
Although it is well written and believable, I was getting a bit fed up with theses initial chapters, thinking that this was going to be just another teen book, but to my joy, the weirdness kicked in again and the author let loose his marvellous creations. For me, RT Worth excels when he writes about the quirky and surreal in his books. More myths and magic unfolds and our heroine discovers that she has a secret inside that she doesn’t want at all. She battles with enemies that are truly bizarre in a struggle to understand who or what, she really is. There are some wonderful characters in this story, but a particular favourite of mine was Pepsi, the cat guardian. I was heartbroken when he disappeared, presumed dead.
There were a few too many POV changes throughout, but not enough to detract from a great narrative, once the supernatural side of things kicked in and the talking cactus arrived, and The Powers that Be took control again. Dream worlds mix with reality and our heroine struggles to live a normal life surrounded as she is by creatures from another world. These crossings from reality to otherworldly settings are often jarring and confusing, but they do add to the overall feel of strangeness and disquiet that heightens the sense of alienation. I assume this is to reinforce the fact that Alma feels uncomfortable in her reanimated body.
The novel seems to be in two parts, and the second part – Marc v Alma – had me quite confused. As always I enjoyed the narrative and its quirkiness, but the jumps from POV had my head spinning. Heretic is packed with detail, miss a sentence or two and well, you’ve lost the plot. I did find parts of it a little repetitious and I think the novel could be improved with some pruning and editing to make it snappier and less overstocked with storyline, which is a bit complex.
Sometimes it got a bit confusing going between the real and dream/imagination, and I had to stop and think what was what several times before continuing. Maybe RT Worth could have let the POV stay with the main character throughout the narrative. I was often tempted to flick past the school passages and onto the more strange episodes that are truly readable, but I persevered with them in case I missed something.
Having said all that, I did really enjoy this book and truly believe that RT Worth is a talented storyteller with an amazing imagination. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quirky and darkly humorous fiction. There are some wonderful descriptions that bring the narrative alive and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I eagerly await the next instalment.