If George RR Martin is the American Tolkien, then Casey Caracciolo might just be the American Rowling—or so he hopes. Caracciolo has spent the last six years of his life crafting the first installment in the Scargen series, The Shadow of the Gauntlet. His first novel promises to be the start to an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy experience. “It’s like the best parts of Science Fiction mingled with Fantasy staples, with a healthy sprinkling of Comics and Anime,” says Caracciolo. “Dragons, vampires, robots, and fireballs shooting out of people’s hands. What more do you want?”
Caracciolo spent his afternoons working as a bartender while compiling notes and sketches on the backs of the special menus as he worked at Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope. “Ideas would just pop in my head, and if I didn’t get them down as soon as possible, I was scared they’d be lost to the cosmos.” He would make detailed outlines and draw characters just to get the concepts on paper. And using these notes, he’d go home and write, and rewrite, and rewrite some more. In the summer of 2012, this dedication paid off and the manuscript for the first book in the Scargen series, The Shadow of the Gauntlet was complete.
But now Caracciolo faced another dilemma. Should he go the traditional publishing route, or try to do things his way?
After researching the choices, the decision was made to self publish. “It just seemed like a ridiculously impersonal process for something I’ve spent six years of my life on, and the more I read, the more I realized that the traditional publishing model is antiquated,” explains Caracciolo. “Who are they to say what I can and can’t write, or worse, what you as a reader can and can’t read? With all the advancements in digital printing and online marketing, you just don’t need them anymore.
But he needed funding to make it happen. To help make The Shadow of the Gauntlet a reality, Caracciolo decided to use the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Caracciolo went to work creating a Kickstarter project that would help people understand his vision and help him reach his dream. The project was selected as a staff pick on Kickstarter and was Geekadelphia’s Kickstarter project of the week. Geekadelphia described the book as covering “well worn, well loved territory, but puts a fresh spin on the magic, tech, and fantasy that we’ve all grown up loving. A Shakespeare quoting, whiskey-swilling werewolf style spin.”
The project was a success, and in January, with the help of 109 backers, from across the country, Caracciolo raised over $7,000. The Shadow of the Gauntlet was another step closer to being a reality.
This support with his own determination has spurred Caracciolo to do what he has done. His background in animation helped Caracciolo when it came to the design and graphic elements of such an undertaking. Everything you see that has any component of design, Caracciolo has had a hand in, from the Scargen merchandise to the cover of The Shadow of the Gauntlet. “It’s not enough to write a good book anymore. We have a brand, and I think that will help get people to the writing. My idea is to be as approachable as I can be. Accessibility is important to me. I understand what it is like to be invested in a series, and it’s my hope that the reader loves these characters as much as I do. The least I can do is be there when they want to talk about it.”