Roseville sci-fi buff pens young adult novel
Kevin Mullikin has a hard time explaining what’s going on in his first young adult fantasy novel — oh, where to begin?
To boil it down, he says, the book “Relics and Wonders: Lombard’s Amulets” tells the story of a magical world of four kings and humanity struggling to live together harmoniously. At the center of the story is a bounty hunter named Draygon on a quest to find two sorcerers who killed his wife and sister.
On his journey, Draygon encounters a young girl, who was formerly a slave. There’s a great deal of mystery behind her and something much bigger will unfold before the readers’ eyes, Mullikin said. The book also includes gnomes, demons, sorcerers, vampires and pretty much any fantastical character you could imagine.
“What I like about it is it’s a world of characters and beings you don’t typically see in one story. We have everything in the same world,” Mullikin said. “It’s our way of paying homage to all the things we loved growing up.”
Roseville resident Mullikin and co-author Randall Ridings, of Oregon, published the book in mid-August. They originally had a literary agent, who requested too many changes the authors didn’t feel comfortable making so they opted to self-publish.
“We abandoned the traditional route and decided to do it ourselves,” Mullikin said.
The first book is a prologue of six more to come in the series, which will increasingly grow darker and more mature. The young girl will become the focus on the plot as she is faced with dealing with obstacles beyond her years.
“That theme is what I really love about young adult novels,” Mullikin said.
He also appreciates the imagination and supernatural found in fantasy stories. His novel’s origins actually begin with the imagination of Ridings, who had developed a complex role-playing game and fictional world full of characters and symbols.
“(My wife) would beg me to play it and I played the game one time and I was hooked,” said Mullikin.
Mullikin grew up reading comic books. He’s a huge J.R.R. Tolken fan, and enjoys “The Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” series.
The “Relics and Wonders” authors worked on their book for six years before finally publishing. They took a year hiatus when Mullikin joined the U.S. Army. During basic training, he’d write short sci-fi stories and share them in the platoon to pass the time.
He recruited the talents of Weimar-based artist Zachary Henderson to create 12 original pieces of art for the book’s pages. He discovered Henderson when he saw his artwork posted at A-1 Comics in Roseville. Henderson’s detailed illustrations depict characters and scenes, such as one in which a man jumps out of a tree at a “manwolf” below.
“It was just a good picture,” Henderson said. “It captured action, it has detail and it has a good vibe overall to it.”
He said usually his artwork is just for his own enjoyment, so the book was an opportunity to create in a professional capacity.
“It was just really great to do what I love and it feels really good to be published,” Henderson said. “It’s a feather in my cap.”