Evan DeCarlo Pens Thrilling New Novel
At 19, Evan DeCarlo has penned a thrilling young adult novel that's inspired, in part, by his native Branford.
"I think it will especially appeal to young adults and teenagers in Branford, because there are so many little nods to things that only Branford residents will get," says Evan of his first novel, Children of the Noah: The Barren Earth, published in July.
"So much of the early parts of the book take place in this community I've coyly nicknamed Stony Creek, that's entirely based on Branford and all its little natural locales."
Evan intends to produce a trilogy centered on the Noah, a time machine from a distant future on the brink of apocalypse. In The Barren Earth, the Noah's piloted to this day in hopes of circumventing the catastrophe.
"It's about three very ordinary young teenagers who are living in this seaside, picturesque, Branford-based community," explains Evan. "By no choice of their own, they get sucked up into this extraordinary adventure that involves time travel, the apocalypse, monsters?[and] all manner of chaos and confusion."
The rising sophomore at School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City started the book while a senior at Hopkins.
"There was a delay one morning because of a snow storm...I had to get there early and no one was there. So I sat down to write. Then I stopped for a long time. I picked it up early in freshman year in college," says Evan, noting it was "sentimentality" for Branford helping to motivate him.
"I was in Branford my whole life, and suddenly, I was in Manhattan. It made me realize how much I loved Branford and missed it; little things, like trees," he says, smiling. "Like hearing spring peepers and cicadas, and just being in a small town where everybody knew each other. So I returned to writing it because of that kind of sentimentality for Branford."
Local readers will recognize Stony Creek Trolley Trail scenery and feel a familiarity with many other outdoor activities Evan describes in the novel, from fishing in shoreline marshes to hiking in the woods.
"When the characters get spirited away from this Stony Creek locale and taken into this fantastical adventure through time and space, one of the things that keeps them grounded is how much they miss Branford and the Branford community, which is what brought me to write the book in the first place."
Evan credits his parents, Catherine and John DeCarlo (Branford's retired police chief) with instilling a love of storytelling in him at an early age.
"My mom and dad always read to me and they did all the voices. They even read to me after I was old enough to read to myself, and we watched a lot of corny B movies," says Evan. "My whole life, I did a lot of theater in Branford. I ended up doing theater at Hopkins and also summer theater with Foote [School]. All the people I've worked with really helped instill in me an abiding love of storytelling."
Evan also credits SVA screenwriting teacher Gary Richards for motivating him.
"He was so fond of my writing for the class, he asked if there was anything I had that I could turn into a young adult novel. He said, 'You've got the chops for it, so you might as well go for it.'"
This past spring at SVA, Evan was selected as a top winner of SVA's first annual writing contest, for his short story, "Roland's Milky Way." Children of the Noah: The Barren Earth and its beautiful original watercolor illustrations, created by Evan's friend and co-SVA student Raisha Friedman, will be on display this fall in the SVA library. Evan has donated copies of his novel for local readers to check out at Branford's Blackstone and Willoughby Wallace libraries and East Haven's Hagaman library.
As he heads back to SVA, Evan says he'll keep up his daily writing regime. He expects to produce the next book in the trilogy (working title, The City of the Star Gods) next year.
Evan thanks many who inspired and motivated him, including his grandmother, Theresa DeCarlo. The Short Beach resident (and Harry Potter fan) gave manuscript feedback from her Kindle. In the book's dedication, he also thanks his screen writing teacher.
"I say, 'To Gary, for giving me a shove,'" says Evan. "What he did is he brought me to the ledge and pushed me off of it. We all have ideas, and 90 percent of the time they stay in our heads. The monumental leap is not finishing the book, it's not editing or publishing it. I think it's starting it that's the bravest thing you can do. Whatever comes afterward is nothing. It's the fact that you had the drive to put pen to paper."
Children of the Noah: The Barren Earth, by Evan DeCarlo is available on amazon.com as a paperback and e-book. Learn more about the author and plans for upcoming sequels a www.evandecarlo.com.
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