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The Caribbean Sea Gods

Troy Aaron Ratliff
Troy Aaron Ratliff Author Interview

Something Found: A Coin follows a local artist who makes a discovery that sends him on an adventure with the potential to change the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

It was a combination of sadness and adventure in my life when my brother passed in 2008 and a return to visit family in the following months in Florida to reassure them of my good health, along with a short road trip to Miami and Key West, that stirred in me a knowing that I had to not only write about the Keys, but base a whole story there. It’s amazing to me how some places can really do that to the right person, it’s truly like turning on a switch. I had wanted to go to Key West my whole life, but time and circumstances just never allowed me to, even when I actually lived in Florida for two whole years of my life! But the loss of my brother, to me while in no way equal, did temper my sadness and was the positive trade off I needed to get through that heartbreaking time in my life. It was the gift the Writing Gods (presumably Hemingway’s spirit rubbing off from my visit to his museum off of Duval St.) and the Caribbean Sea Gods blessed me with: a new story of my own to honor my brother and a magical place called Key West.

Todd is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

For most of my writing life I’ve been told character development is my strong suit in my stories, and I feel Todd is certainly one of my more fleshed out characters with flaws, despite his near postcard lifestyle, almost as if he himself still can’t truly believe he lives his life. He blames himself for his son’s fate, and probably always will, and had toyed with ending it all after the tragedy. But something Todd is finding in himself is the bravery to go on with his life after such an event, even with the weight still heavy in his heart, and in the healing he finds himself and part of him he lost to his years as a corporate manager in the defense industry: his art. There was a lot of emotion and heavy-heartedness in the formation of the story, with my brother’s death, but there was also a hope that I could send my brother off to a better place myself. Not trying to play God, but authors retain a sense of creation and control over their characters and settings and to heal my own pain, which was obviously reflective in my own life with my return to writing with this story and with a character named after my brother, the similarities are balancing to me. I feel good about where it’s going and how the coming books are going to change Todd with the evolution of the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?

A word that continues to come to mind as this book is released and the rest of the story forms in my head and is put to page is transition, the transition Todd has in his past, along with the new one he is about to undertake in the coming continuation of the story. With everything he’s already experienced just because of this little coin, he HAS to find out where this whole thing is taking him and who is responsible for all of the sudden destruction in his life and that is going to lead to some major changes in him he didn’t expect. And of course, not to even mention the whole Atlantis element he’s trying to understand and connect together. But a definite theme in the whole series is bravery, valor, and courage. The bravery to continue on after tragedy, to tackle whatever may come your way, and the courage to be a good, kind, and generous person even when life eats you alive just to spit you out. The valor to step up to the moment, even when it’s completely chaotic and tearing your beliefs and understanding of the world to shreds. And the realization that such acts can be greatly rewarded.

This novel begins a brand new trilogy. What can readers expect in book two?

Magic. And lots of it. Both Book 2 and roughly 60% of Book 3 are plotted out as of this writing, and I’m shooting to up the ante on the action tremendously too. As well as delve more into the histories of these characters. And of course, answers! Book one raises a lot of questions and takes Todd to the edge of his nerves with dodging bullets and his life in shambles and being in car chases. Todd is ready to slam his fist down to know what the hell is actually going on and I’m sure the readers are too. It’s fun to dive back into such an adventurous story in a place I’ve always found exciting and tropical and fun. My aim was to capture the spirit of the Keys in this first book, and I hope in the next book I can give Miami and a few other special places justice, even if they may only exist in my imagination.

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Something Found: A Coin is the perfect beach read filled with “density and texture that will touch readers on an emotional and visual level” but still leave them out of breath and gasping with action, heart, and a tropical calling for adventure.

Local Artist and so-called “Selfless Scavenger” Todd Freeman may have a seemingly idyllic life painting and scouring the Key West sands with his metal detector and returning lost items to grateful locals and tourists. Yet, his past holds grief and pain: the death of his son, the swift end of his marriage, and the tumultuous period that saw him uprooting from his Midwest home and starting anew, under the South Florida sun.

But he never expected, in his routine beach-scouring, to find the mysterious little coin — a coin that would set him on an adventure that he never could’ve imagined. One that would unveil a legend primed to change the world, and rewrite history.

With violent pursuers on his tail and bullets flying, Todd finds himself plunged into an incredible quest that will help him not only uncover one of the greatest mysteries of all time, but test his own strength and bravery to a point he never thought was possible.

Something Found: A Coin is the beginning of an adventure that will set your sails for the Floridian tropics and your heart for the unknown.

Something Found: A Coin

Something Found: A Coin by [Troy Aaron Ratliff, Mike Robinson, Bryan Miller]

Have you ever had one single moment change your entire life? That happened to Todd. While everything may look one way to the untrained eye, we must remember that things are not always as they appear. Something Found: A Coin by Troy Aaron Ratliff follows Todd who has a troubled past and has experienced pain that no one should ever have to. It is this pain that motivates him to leave his home and start a new life. What he didn’t expect was what would happen when he began that new life. Much as everyone would love to run away and start anew, it isn’t always for the better when mystery and danger can be everywhere you look.

I always enjoy a good mystery and feel that Something Found: A Coin was able to deliver a well constructed mystery. I was unable to stop toward the end of the novel because the story became increasingly riveting and I became engaged, sure that at any moment the tension would break. While I enjoyed the book, I felt that the language sometimes took away from the beauty of the story, but I understand that it was used appropriately.

In addition, I liked that Todd had his moments of sarcasm when talking to people. I am a sarcastic person, so it resonated with me. It made his character a little more likable and authentic to me. I also enjoyed Alex and Hamok. They both added depth to the book, and I liked how both were there when Todd needed them. Alex had me rolling my eyes in a few spots, but overall his character is witty and sometimes funny. Hamok was interesting, but I wished he had had more time in the story.

Something Found: A Coin is an enthralling dark fantasy novel that explores one interesting persons past and motivations through a unique lens. Author Troy Aaron Ratliff delivers a thought-provoking adventure that kept me enthralled with it’s interesting characters and alluring mystery.

Pages: 174 | ASIN : B08N6G4VZZ

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