I had the pleasure of e-meeting Leonardo Ramirez on Twitter about a year ago when I hosted a giveaway for his Steampunk children’s book called The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot. I really like his written work and him- he is a super nice guy! Leonardo Ramirez is a husband, a father, a Karate instructor with a 3rd degree black belt, and a writer. His first graphic novel, Haven, is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante family and the nine circles of hell. He has just released the follow up book, which is also a Young Adult fiction book.
Nashville Author- Leonardo Ramirez
Leonardo Ramirez writes science fiction novels but his motto is-
“It’s not just Science Fiction. It’s Science Fiction for the Human Condition.”
Interview With Leonardo Ramirez on His New Book, Haven of Dante
Tell us about your new book, Haven of Dante.
Haven Irena Dante, seventeen, struggles with a dysfunctional family. Her workaholic father is never there, but his absence is filled by a loving mother harboring the secret and mysterious past of their family. The Dantes are inheritors of a centuries old legacy stretching back to Dante Alighieri himself. They fight to contain the nine circles of hell described in the classic literature “Dante’s Inferno.”
Today, the nine circles have infiltrated the world at every level, operating as a secret society known as “The Aristocracy.” The only thing stopping The Aristocracy from world domination is the Dante family line.
Now it’s Haven’s turn to carry that torch.
Combining literary fiction with fantasy, this action-packed young adult adventure races through dimensions of paranormal, science fiction and the supernatural.
Why did you write Haven of Dante?
I wondered what someone would do if they were at the point of death and they were given the choice to remain in a suffering world where all they had experienced was heartache and pain or go into paradise. The catch would be to return to this world knowing that there was a chance they could fix their relationship with a loved one. This is where the idea stemmed from and led into the inclusion of Dante Alighieri’s cantos which represent the ills of mankind and our struggle to overcome them. Our protagonist needed to have more than enough reason not to return so we also included a violation. This was not done gratuitously. My wife had suffered the same experience and today she is alive and well. I wanted others to have gone through this horror to have the same chance and be an encouragement to them. Aside from this I wanted to delve into some of the things that we fear the most fully knowing that there is always a reason (more specifically, a hurt) behind them. I think that sometimes we allow a hurt to become a fear and then the fear becomes a part of us. Some could argue that it makes us human and I would not disagree. But at the same time we reach a point of decision when we are exposed to the meaning behind the fear or the hurt. And that can manifest itself in any of the areas explored in the nine circles.
The one resounding message that I want folks to (hopefully) get is that no matter how bad the cards that have been dealt to you are, you can still make good choices. You might stumble along the way. You might fall. You might be angry and hate for a little while. But after you’ve allowed yourself to experience those feelings you can still make constructive choices for your life. The road to healing sometimes goes right through hell.
Haven of Dante Excerpt
Here is an Excerpt from Haven of Dante that I was given permission to republish:
They were to blame for every evil known since the time that a man walked through their realm and left with his pure soul unmarred. Through the years, evil increased upon the surface world and it became necessary for all that is good to intervene. At the appointed time a stranger among men only known as “The Witness” made direct contact with the family line that had stood bold and strong in the face of pure evil, the Dantes.
In this encounter, The Witness charged the first of the line to stand against the Aristocracy’s plans for the surface world but upon his failure and the passage of many years another rose in his place. His name was Benjamin Esteban Dante, who sought amnesty in the New World from England and fought bravely on the side of what was to become the nation of freedom known as the United States of America. He would later be succeeded by Kristen Cameron Dante who, being fluent in German, was sent to Germany as an intelligence officer. Kristen worked as an archivist for the Nazi Party during World War II. Under this guise, she used underground tunnels to free prisoners of the Nazis, with the help of her friend David, whom she later married. Together they returned to the United States.
Amado Ayende Dante worked as a liaison officer in the United States Embassy in what was once the Soviet Union. After living there for 10 years he returned to the United States once the Berlin Wall crumbled. Rebecca Mariana Dante was seventeen and full of life. Regrettably, she was lost in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Each was chosen for their time in accordance to the goals of the Aristocracy in that era and given tools in accordance to their needs and strengths, be it enhanced cunning, superior intelligence, or super-human strength.
Only one was given the task according to her weaknesses.
I was provided with a copy of the book. The opinions I have expressed are my own.