Niagara Gazette

September 1, 2013

Fantasy writing takes Lockport man national

By HOWARD BALABAN
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A Lockport author has had his name spread nationwide over the past couple weeks.

Robert Souliske is the author of "Ancient Darkness," a story he crafted through three to four years worth of on and off writing.

"The idea for the story came from an allegory," Souliske said. "I picked things from the Bible. I started thinking, 'What if this happened?' and 'What if this was different?'"

He explained that his story took some twists and turns and the allegorical references also include "every piece of mythology and legend I could think of."

"I wrote the story as if to say, 'What if there was a world where all this stuff really exists?'" Souliske said.

According to a press release announcing the book's availability, Ancient Darkness is a "holy war" story. It is a good vs. evil tale that pits demons and self-proclaimed gods against a group brave enough to "defend the light" and stand against "the risen ancient darkness."

A huge science fiction and fantasy fan, Souliske said many of the characters in his novel are based on friends of his. The names are changed, but he said his friends know who is who in the book. It was thanks to his friends, he said, that the national distribution happened.

"I first went the self-publishing route, but I became friends with another author and he suggested I send the book to Tate, and they went with it," Souliske recalled.

Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC found the book had a major quality that it searched for in its products: marketability.

"Even though it's a book in a popular genre, we felt it tells a different story," said Jim Miller, a Tate marketing representative. Tate is a Christian-owned company and he said while the books published are not religious, per se, Souliske's work "has a definite Christian resonance."

Miller said the book is "well written, has good dialogue,and is very descriptive" in creating a "new world of sci-fi and fantasy."

Creating such a new world is difficult, Miller explained, because many fantasy authors tend to copy classic works like The Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. 

"We were looking for something that would have the ability to stand on its own, and we felt enough of the population will enjoy this book," Miller added.

Souliske, who has a full-time job as an IT administrator in the health care field, said he grew up as a science fiction fan who was "raised on Star Wars." He joked that his life has been a parallel to those portrayed on the hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." 

With Ancient Darkness now on store shelves, Souliske is working on a graphic novel version and has plans to turn the story into a trilogy. So far, he said some aspects of the story have been posted online and have met with favorable reviews.

For more information about Souliske's work, go online to https://rksouliske.wordpress.com/.

Meanwhile, Ancient Darkness is available nationwide wherever books are sold, through the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.