Pitch Madness #6 – Steven Palivoda and “The Soulless Trilogy: Soul Dragons”

1. Let's hear your pitch.
Soul-stealing Suvius wants his body back. With assistance from his henchmen, he will unleash his fury. Suvius must absorb the psychic power of thirteen teenagers to claim his body and swallow the world into darkness.

2. If you were querying me, what would the teaser of your book be?
Plagued by nightmares of a hellish otherworld, seventeen-year-old Matt is convinced the dreams mean nothing.
I am seeking representation for my YA Fantasy novel, The Soulless Trilogy: Soul Dragons. My fascination with the theme of good vs. evil inspired me to write this novel. Friendship has also been an important part of my life and this book demonstrates how the bond of two teenagers remains unbreakable despite the obstacles they face. The novel is complete at 104,000 words.
When hell materializes above the halls of his high school, it turns into life or death. A student goes missing. A bloody letter appears out of nowhere. When Matt and his best friend Chris investigate, they confront a scepter-wielding sorcerer named Suvius. They are then sucked into an unknown world that is choked in a cloud of evil.

3. Who is your target audience? What genre is your book?
YA Fantasy

4. How did this story come about? Who or what inspired you/this story?
This book was inspired by my circle of friends. I have always valued the bond I have shared with them. I wanted to do something that broke away from the trends of vampires, werewolves and zombies. I was told in high school by one student that nobody would ever read my work so I vowed to prove this guy wrong. At 25 years old, I am still pursuing my dream.
My ultimate reason for the book is to demonstrate how important friendship is and the trials that people go through. My obsession with villains has fascinated me for years. When coming up with an ideal villain, in this case a powerful sorcerer, I wanted to make him acquire something intangible and I thought collecting souls would be perfect.

5. Is this your first book?
This is my first book and it has undergone tremendous revisions over the past six years thanks to all the feedback I have received.

6. Why did you enter #PitchMadness?
I entered #PitchMadness to land a deal with a literary agent through this contest. I realize my chances are slim. After 60 rejections, I figured I have nothing to lose.

7. Do you have any past experiences with this story you would like to share?
Last year, even though mine was not chosen, I was discouraged that I was never given a reason for why that was the case. I realize there were many submissions but writers deserve to be told why they were rejected.

8. What can we expect from your story in the future, do you have any plans?
My future plans are to revamp and complete the next two books in the trilogy and make them as incredible as the first one.

9. Can we hear an excerpt?
Feral creatures with yellow and
red eyes crawled out of black holes that materialized in
the street. They began to feed on one of those piles. These figures ripped the torsos from the legs and swallowed the juiciest parts of the flesh first. Some of these beings had reptilian bodies, lined with silver armor. They crawled over to their food and cut through each layer of skin. A few had long black horns that curved at the end; some had two legs while others had four.
Those with serpent tongues, others creatures among the group, watered their pallets by licking the arms and stomachs of the corpses. Their teeth had the sharpness of a dragon’s—long and destructive. These beings chewed on the bones until there was nothing left.
The boy ran his fingers through his spiky hair as he cracked a smile. He stood over the woman who had been attacked by the soldier and stroked her warm, but terrified face. That last bit of her soul still lingered. This alone prevented people from dying; it was a fate worse than death. The dark-haired boy reveled in the pain and suffering of others.
Satisfied, the boy exited the alley which opened to a seemingly deserted square. A few run-down shops stood in different spots. Frayed cloths draped over the fronts of the wooden tents. After passing by, the boy reached the eastern portion of the capital. A woman of great height dressed in royal garments walked down the street.

10. Have a website or social media platform for your story?
Hidden content goes here

11. While reading this, I pictured Victorian era villains. Do you seek any attributes or settings from a certain time period?
Actually, I wanted to use elements from Europe’s medieval period. I have always loved the whole idea of knights and chivalry. Given that I am in love history, it is no surprise that I have been influenced by what I’ve read.

12. You said you want to stay away from werewolves, yet these creatures sound like their depraved cousin. Is this a monster of your own design, or will it be an origin of a familiar tale?
It’s definitely a monster of my own design. I call them dissouls. They’re made out of the darkness that is extracted from people’s souls. That darkness is harnessed and as a result it takes on a monstrous form. Dissouls come in all kinds of forms. All of them have red eyes. These beings would put werewolves to shame.
 

You can connect with Steven on Twitter @SoulDragons21