The Final Piece

Weyers Cave Author Completes ‘Black Scarlet’ Fantasy Saga With ‘White Angel’

Posted: June 27, 2014

Daily News-Record

Chen, the leader of a band of warriors, is a woman who exudes confidence, courage, and tenacity during the most challenging of times.  


Whether she’s battling a sadistic gargoyle warlord in an effort to defend a fallen king’s fortress or locking horns with various other forms of evil, Chen never concedes.


She radiates a steadfast grit during turbulent situations while promoting loyalty and determination.


At least, that’s how the story goes.


Chen is the fictional protagonist of the Black Scarlet saga, a fantasy trilogy, which includes novels “Black Crystal, “Black Scarlet” and, most recently, “White Angel,” which was released earlier this year, written by Weyers Cave resident and author Robert Oakes.


“A major theme of my novels is a woman’s right to rule, to be in charge of her own life, and the world around her,” said Oakes.


“I am deeply influenced by ‘warrior women’ who possess the wisdom and strength to survive life’s challenges, and this trilogy is a tribute to such women.”


While penning Black Crystal, the series’ first novel, Oakes began drawing parallels between the character development of the fictional Chen and that of his close friend, Dawn Rogers, whom he has known for many years.


Rogers, a Stuarts Draft resident, has a palpable sense of assertiveness and confidence, says Oakes, which led to her use as the prototype for the novel’s lead character.


Once conscious of these similarities, Oakes began incorporating more of Rogers’ qualities into the Chen character.


“I want my character to be alive and growing …  and nobody can be a better character than Chen,” said Oakes.  


“So, I took a person who is confident, multi-talented [such as Rogers] and tossed [her traits] into the works to see how [the readers] respond and react.”


Rogers, who currently serves as the president of Blue Ridge Publishing — the company that published the series — appreciates the recognition, she says, noting how the novels shed a realistic light on how warrior women act and react during unstable situations, as opposed to how they should act.


“That’s rare when you look at fiction novels based on warrior women,” said Rogers.  


“It’s a fantasy of course, but at the same time, you could read this as a woman and relate.”


She added: “If you pick up another book in the fantasy section, you’re not going to find realistic females.”


Oakes takes pride in that degree of realism, referring to each novel as a “positive message for women of all ages.”


Each component of the trilogy required rewrites and edits, a years-long process Oakes refers to as a “purely creative experience.”


Oakes says his time and effort pays off each time a reader approaches him in order to express their satisfaction with the novels.


“I tell people, ‘If you read 10 pages from my book, you’ll get enough energy to go out and wash your car; if you read 50 pages, you’ll run out and paint your house,’ ” claimed Oakes with a laugh.  


“My job is to take you immediately …  so, if you want something that will wake you up, just pick up one of these novels.”

Contact Matt Gonzales at 574-6265 or mgonzales@dnronline.com



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