Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Post with Author of "Larp: The Battle for Verona" Justin Calderone

LARP: The Battle for Verona is the story of four friends thrown into an unbelievable situation. A medieval terrorist army, from Mongolia, invades their tiny island community, and decides to colonize it. The local medieval LARP group (Live Action Role Play. People who do battle reenactments) decide to handle the situation themselves, and proceed to fight off the invaders. The main characters have everything against them; they’re seen as geeky outcasts by their community, they’ve never swung a real weapon in malice, and, oh, yeah, they’ve never had to kill anyone. 
Until today. 
Their motivation to fight comes from the issues they have within themselves. 
All of main characters in LARP: The Battle for Verona have part of me in them. Dennis is a “what if” type of person…what if he had done the “cool” things in high school? How would that affect him as an adult? As a high school student, I never went to a single party, or had a single date. I spent most of those four years, in my room, writing and listening to music. When I was younger, I really questioned if I missed out on a life changing experience by not participating in a reckless high school night. Mark lives in the past. The present, and sometimes the future, scares him. I think part of a writer’s psyche is that we live in the past, and we memorialize events that others find trivial. Freddy is sort of the other side of Dennis, in that Freddy is ok with who he is, and doesn’t put much stock in what others say about him. Freddy is my attitude as I’ve gotten older. I’ve (mostly) accepted who I am, and have (mostly) silenced the Dennis part of my brain. And Jen is working to gain acceptance of her father. In my pre-college years, I was an average to below average student. In college, I became super motivated to prove all of my teachers wrong. The great irony is that I am a high school English teacher. 
Sometimes, it takes adversity to introduce you to yourself. 
Justin Calderone
Author Biography
A writer with a passion for inspiring teens and young adults, Justin Calderone debuted his first novel LARP: The Battle for Verona in December 2012.
Calderone grew up in Verona, Penn., a suburb just northeast of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from La Roche College and graduated from Gannon University with a master’s degree in education. Calderone is expected to graduate in 2014 with a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University.
Calderone, 36, began his journey as a writer nearly 20 years ago after reading Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. He is the author of the 2004 collection of contemporary poetry Revolutions.
An English teacher at his alma mater, Penn Hills High School, Calderone lives in his hometown of Verona with his wife Emily and 1-year-old son Sam. He enjoys watching baseball, listening to music and has a special place in his heart for Spiderman.
Website: JustinCalderone.com
 @JustinCalderone
Website: ShannonGreenland.com

Sometimes even a geek can become a hero.


Dennis and his friends have been LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) since high school. Now, in his 20s, Dennis is seriously considering giving up LARPing for good. He’s tired of dealing with his overzealous friend Mark; he’s tired of his older brother Brad's constant put-downs; and he’s tired of the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Check that.

Not a girlfriend, but the girlfriend. Alyssa--the one woman he’s been pining over for years.

Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, in their small island community of Verona, located off the coast of Washington State.

But all of that is about to change . . .

While Dennis and his friends are attending a big LARP tournament on the mainland, a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb, led by an American madman, invade Verona and take its citizens hostage--including their families and friends.

When the LARPers find out what’s happening in their home-town, they do what any dedicated LARPer would do: they put on their armor, strap on their swords, and fight their way home--LARP-style!

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