When 16-year-old Elizabeth Meyers’ grandmother wakes up from a 10-year coma, she immediately requests the young Meyers take her to Paris – and says the pair must arrive by midnight on Halloween so the grandmother can meet up with her true love. Baffled by the demand, Meyers reluctantly goes on the adventure – and learns about herself in the process.
Elizabeth’s Midnight is the latest book by young adult fiction writer, Aaron Michael Ritchey. The Santa Clara University graduate, who resides in Colorado with his wife and two young daughters, held a book signing at Santa Clara’s Studio Bongiorno on June 27 where he read from and discussed his third novel.
“My character really starts off damaged,” said Ritchey. “She says no to the adventure and is kind of that reluctant hero but as the story comes along, it’s her growth into this person she wants to be. The second half takes place in Paris and in this little place I made up along the coast … I wanted to take parts of villages I visited [when my wife and I went to Paris] and put them all together.”
Elizabeth’s Midnight, which was released earlier this year, is appropriate for children as young as 10 – Ritchey’s 10-year-old daughter read the book and loved it – and uses minimal strong language. Ritchey counted language used and said he used the word “hell” 10 times, “ass” twice and “damn” once, making it appropriate for most pre-teens and teenagers.
“It really is a story about courage, overcoming fear and embracing grand adventures,” he said. “I think it’s easy for us to say no to the adventures we get in our lifetime. It’s easy to give all of the excuses in the world not to go on them. So, this is really about saying yes to the adventure … One of the quotes in the book is, ‘we walk through our fear afraid,’ and that’s one of the themes. It has been a great book to work on and to actually put out in the world, because unlike my other stuff that’s kind of edgy, this one is really nice. There’s still an edge to it, but it’s kind of a sweeter, more adventure, kind of romance.”
Reviews of Elizabeth’s Midnight on Amazon and Barnes and Noble are all positive, with the book receiving four, five-star reviews on each site, and the Kirkus Review also gave the novel a positive review (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/aaron-michael-ritchey/elizabeths-midnight/).
Although Ritchey’s latest book (he previously penned The Never Prayer and Long Live the Suicide King) is just recently off the presses, he is already planning the release of his next book, which is due out later this year.
“My next book is going to be a six-book series,” he said. “My first three books were books I love, but my next books – these are the books that I would like to spend the rest of my career writing. It’s cowgirls with machine guns on a post-apocalyptic cattle drive. It’s a young adult, sci-fi western. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. I love the characters … It’s kind of this sprawling epic. It’s 30 years in the future and electricity has been knocked out of five western states – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. I’m really excited about it.”
To kick off the series, Ritchey will release a free novella, introducing readers to the characters and their environment, to his newsletter subscribers at the end of July. Visit http://aaronmritchey.com/ for more information or to sign up for the newsletter.