Valley author drew inspiration from current affairs for a dystopian novel | Applause


MOUNT PLEASANT MILLS – They say truth is often stranger than fiction, but local author Raena Rood has found a way to combine the two.

Although Rood’s dystopian books are fiction, they are meant to reflect the current and actual trajectory of the world towards such a possible reality. and maybe help change the course.

Although faith-based, Rood said she strives to write good stories that appeal to all readers.

“Of course, my ultimate hope for all my books is that they bring people closer to Christ,” she said, “but I also hope my books get people thinking about things that are going on right now. in our society. I want readers to look at things from a different perspective.

His latest independently published book is titled “Reverence,” the first in a planned trilogy centering on Harrisburg, which survived a global pandemic by shutting itself off from the rest of the country. The book begins 12 years after the construction of the wall. The city, now called Vita Nova, has since implemented a compulsory program to deal with the problem of food shortages and overcrowding indoors, targeting anyone over the age of 60, or anyone suffering from an illness. chronic, for euthanasia. A volunteer program allows citizens to sacrifice their own lives; in return, they are offered a final week of reverence, luxury and praise. Volunteer lawyer Kira Liebert helps answer the latest requests. It’s when Will Foster walks into her office, however, that she contemplates something she’s never done before: getting past the barricade.

Rood said the idea for the trilogy came from an article she read about an assisted suicide pod about to be tested in Switzerland.

“In short, someone who wants to end their life could crawl inside this coffin-shaped capsule and press a series of buttons to start the process. The pod then fills with nitrogen gas and the person dies from oxygen deprivation.

“It all sounded awful to me,” she said, “but when I read the comments below the article, I was shocked to see that the vast majority of commenters supported the idea of ​​pods. – and assisted suicide in general – including many professing Christians”.

Rood said the article made her think more about the idea of ​​suffering and the sanctity of life.

“Human life is precious, and it’s not something we should take lightly or violate in any way,” Rood said. “I understand the desire to end suffering, but refusing to endure suffering – and to let God carry us through it – undermines our relationship with Him.”

She also hopes the book will inspire its readers to consider other potential consequences of assisted suicide becoming more widespread in society. Maybe even government mandates and volunteer programs like those described in his books.

“We regularly hear that our world is overpopulated and humans are destroying the planet,” Rood said. “Is it so far-fetched to imagine a world where we will one day be prompted to end our lives in a simple and painless process?”

Rood’s pastor, Joseph Mott, of Foundations Bible Church in Freeburg, read all of Rood’s books before they were published.

“We have had many discussions regarding what the scriptures say about the condition of the world as the return of Christ draws near,” he said. “The fact that we live in a time when the basic tenets of scripture are not only challenged, but ignored and disregarded, even by the church, is all described in scripture.”

He said Rood’s writing reflects this scriptural truth.

“His desire to capture this in a new form is incredible,” he said. “His ability to see that future and capture it in such detail is breathtaking.”

He said the book is also so well written that he expects readers to immediately become invested in the characters and want to know what happens next.

Rood said she had been writing stories since she was a child, but it was always just a hobby. After college, she served as an officer in the United States Army for several years, and later as a probation officer in Lancaster County. Around this time, she rediscovered her love of writing, she says, and she had a strong desire to do it full time. When she found out she was pregnant with twins, she became a stay-at-home mom and was able to fulfill that dream as well.

“Being home with my kids has been one of the greatest blessings of my life,” she said, “and having more time to focus on writing has been the icing on the cake.” .

Rood’s mother, Judy Kissinger, of Richfield, is a retired teacher from the Selinsgrove School District and had the privilege of helping edit “Reverence.”

She said Rood had always had a creative gift.

“She was always a smart kid, did well in school, and wanted to be successful at everything she tried,” Kissinger said.

“I think she’s an amazing writer,” she added. and “Reverence,” she said, “I think is by far the best.”

Kissinger said that when Rood started writing books in the post-apocalyptic genre, she initially considered them pure fiction.

“Not so much anymore,” she said. “I feel like she’s driven to write these books. I think that makes them even better.

Rood completed his independently released “Subversive” trilogy in December 2021.

Currently, book two, “Rebellion” of the current trilogy, is slated for release in February, and book three, “Ransom,” in June 2023.

Rood lives in Mount Pleasant Mills with her husband and three sons, who are also very creative. The oldest, Ben, has a gift for art and even designed a map of Vita Nova which was included in the book. His three sons also like to write stories. Her two youngest, twins George and Sam, are often busy doing just that. George, she said, is halfway through a book about space battles, and Sam, who loves American history, wants to write a graphic novel about historical events.

“They’re all way more talented than me,” Rood said, “so look for their books in the future!”

“Reverence” can be purchased from Amazon or other online booksellers. Autographed copies can be purchased at raenajrood.com.

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