I know Lenny is very passionate about the subject and his book. So I wanted not only to reveal the cover of his new release Haven of Dante but also give him the chance to tell us a bit more about it.
Paperback available from November 15th
I know you are very involved in the fight against abuse, but what made you want to write this book in this style?
I grew up reading comics with heroes that leap tall buildings in a single bound. That’s something I’ve never grown out of. Now, I share the love for capes and cowls with my daughter. I wanted to bring a sense of that into this story and add the twist that Haven can only use powers when she experiences emotions she doesn’t want to face. She’s deathly afraid of heights but because of that she can fly. She’s afraid of anyone touching her due to the violation so she can phase through solid objects. Everything in the book has a reason behind it. Still, I wanted to make it fun and adventurous while remaining thoughtful. Hopefully, readers will agree.
Are there more coming? And if so how many?
The history of the Dante family is vast. At some point in history there has always been a member of the Dante family line who has stood against the self-proclaimed “Aristocracy” so there is plenty of story to tell if there is a demand for it.
Here’s the history of the Dante family line:
Dante Alighieri travels through the nine circles of hell
Members of the nine circles of hell fight for leadership and form the Aristocracy.
The Witness initiates contact with the Line to combat the Aristocracy. Clues of periodic contact are left in clues throughout history. Members of the Line are given varying degrees of power. First contact with the line fails to produce a worthy heir until another is chosen at a later time.
Benjamin Esteban Dante sought amnesty in the New World from England and fought bravely on the side of this Colonial United States.
Kristen Cameron Dante worked as an archivist for the German military 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 these United States.
Wanting to be a hero in his own right, Roberto forms a technology research company. Roberto’ s heart is not right for the mantle so the responsibility skips him which causes resentment.
Roberto and Beatrice Dante are wed.
Haven Irena Dante is born.
Roberto Dante transforms his company into Dante Tech which supplies military technology to the government.
Haven is missing for two years.
Haven assumes the mantle.
So all of that to say, it can go on forever as long as people want to know more.
Was it an easy ‘write’ or did you struggle at times?
I struggle, at times, with being a writer. It’s not like learning a profession and then reporting to work every day. There has to be an audience in order for me to make a living. I’m sure the day will come when I can focus on it full time. It’s very emotionally draining at times. Not just on me but on my family as well. They know I love them more than anything in this world (including writing) but we can’t run away from our dreams no matter how hard we try or how difficult the journey.
Is there any passage in the book you are particularly proud of?
There’s a line that I used as part of the signature in my email. It reads, “Pride is the veil that blinds the eyes of the soul.” I believe that because we tend to forget that we are intended to grow as human beings. Saying, “I’m sorry,” is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. Realizing that we have faults doesn’t take away from who we are. It’s our decision to turn away from any wrong that we’ve done is what helps us to grow and it is our pride that gets in the way of that.
Did you do much research for this book?
Tons! One of my favorite quotes is from John Lasseter which is, “you can never do enough research” which I firmly agree with. So yes, from reading through the cantos and studying in particular “Purgatorio” not just from the work but from the Catholic references. Because of one of the plot points I also had to study tectonic plate shifting and fault lines. How would the nine circles of hell physically rise to replace the surface world?
Were there any facts you stumbled upon while researching that had you scratching your head?
I think the concept of a “purgatorio” is a little confounding to me only because we have our entire lives to make decisions about where our heart lies and where it’s going that adding “one more step” to fix something doesn’t feel just right. Now is the time to fix a wrong step. Not after you’ve died.
Have you never thought about using graphics in the book? I mean like drawings of the circles of Hell, or the world Haven lives in?
This property was first published as a graphic novel by Markosia Enterprises and has gone through some changes. It started out as a prose novel until Markosia caught wind of it and asked for it as a graphic novel simply titled, Haven. As I mentioned before, I grew up loving comics so I jumped at the chance. The comics medium is a very hard nut to crack . . . harder than prose. I didn’t want the property to die a slow death so I asked for the prose rights back. A year later came Haven of Dante. You have to have an artist (who wants to be paid) to have graphics.
Is there anything else you feel you need to share with the readers that I haven’t asked?
There is a violation on the main character that occurs in the story but this is not done gratuitously. Years ago, my sweet wife was assaulted by three men at gunpoint. Since then she’s made some good choices for her life which isn’t always the case for some who have gone through that horrendous experience. I want the book to be a source of encouragement in its message in stating that you can make some good choices despite the cards that have been dealt to you.
Leonardo Ramirez is a husband, a father, a Karate instructor with a 3rd degree black belt, and a writer. His first graphic novel, Haven, (reviewed here) is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante family and the nine circles of hell. His follow up is a self-published children’s Steampunk book called The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot. It follows the adventure of two children as they are transported to the steam-powered cities of Jupiter, find their long-lost father, stop an attack from Mars, and witness the birth of Steampunk.
My heart and motive have always been for people who are hurting. These can be kids who have had to suffer through child abuse or neglect or an absent parent which can be equally torturous as was the case in The Jupiter Chronicles. It can also be young girls who have suffered an assault like Haven did in Haven of Dante. Young or old it doesn’t matter. Those are the kids and adults I want to speak to because I’ve been there.
It’s not just Science Fiction.
It’s Science Fiction for the Human Condition.
Haven of Dante
“For centuries members of the nine circles of hell have infiltrated our society at every level. Calling themselves the Aristocracy, they have sought to replace humanity on the surface. The only ones who have stood in their way are members of the Dante family line.
This time, it’s Haven’s turn.”
For those who are captivated by this and want to know more about the books, or the author, Lenny can be found online at: