Raphael Fontenot

Posted in Publication on October 2015

Following a young Frenchman in the mid-sixteenth century, Raphael Fontenot depicts the life of a religious refugee and his family as they flee persecution along with several hundred others—sailing to the New World. As native attacks on their settlement become commonplace, amidst struggling to start a new life, Raphael finds himself abhorring his current homeland. On a routine fishing expedition, his troubles increase as he’s further displaced. He journals his trials after waking up aboard a foreign ship and quickly devises a plan to return home. Although a place he once detested, Raphael is relentless to return home as he’s ensnared in a botched revolt, ruled by an enigmatic captain, and marooned on a foreign coast. Despite the hardships, his struggles are only beginning.

Raphael Fontenot is an impressive story of loss, hope, and determination. The author, who’s a published historian, uses his background to vividly create original characters and intertwining landscapes that Raphael encounters.

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I was never keen on writing a book until after my first journal publication. It was an unexpected pride that enveloped when someone took my writings seriously—not to mention worthy of publishing. A short three years later, I accrued eight publications. I strove to publish as I was applying to PhD programs—wanting to solidify my application with the highest achievements. I eventually decided not to pursue a doctoral program, but favoring my current employment. As my desire to be published in journals waned, I became engrossed in a new medium. I wanted to move onto a bigger stage, especially after I felt that I satisfied my initial goal. Nevertheless, my bucket list gained a new addition—publishing a book. The scholarly journals I was published in were historical, something I’m overtly interested in exploring, so I wanted to take my knowledge of history and shape it into a captivating fictional narrative.

Before the book was finished, I struggled with the publishing aspect. I eventually chose to publish through Amazon for one major reason: I didn’t want a literary agent or a publishing company to drastically change my story. The objective for those companies is sales. They want a book that will create a lot of revenue, but in doing so might require major changes to the book. I didn’t spend three years coming home after work to write just to have it thrown away because someone can’t understand my vision. I didn’t want to add fluff just to pacify a word count, create new characters that were meaningless, or have my vision stripped away.

After three years, my meticulous work is done. It wasn’t a sprint, but a slow process that often woke me many nights just to write down adjustments and dialogue. I’m proud of my hard work and achievement, and thrilled to share my book.

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