Psychonautic (The Life and Death of Julian Frost) by Darren Frey

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Contemporary Fiction, Fiction | 0 comments

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In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, and it was good. As a legally blind author, born with a degenerative eye disease [Retinitis Pigmentosa], indeed, light is good. However, my light is fading. There was once, a long time ago, that I could still see well enough to drive, but now that I have reached my forties, I find myself grasping at straws for what I can still see to do. In my middle age, I am often fearful, knowing that the older I get, the closer to complete blindness I come. It was not just my condition that drove me to author my story, but a lifetime of hardships, ranging from childhood abuse, abandonment, and infidelity in my adulthood. Alas, my child, Psychonautic, was born.

        Part fictional vampire story, part autobiography, Psychonautic begins the meta saga of my alter-ego, Julian Frost, a man, who just like myself, is legally blind. At the end of his eleven-year relationship, following a fateful suicide attempt, Julian retreats to Las Vegas, somewhere far away from his home and traumatic past. There, he submerges himself into deep mental and spiritual work, throwing himself headfirst into an Ayahuasca experience, and then striving to write his own life story. It was not until he met Violet—a vampire, that he wandered aimlessly, desperate to find reason or meaning in his chaotic existence, or at the very least, why he survived an otherwise certain endeavor towards self-destruction, if not to only suffer further. Upon meeting Violet and her family, Julian is offered a choice to join them in the eternal darkness of a forever night, destined to never walk in the sun again.

        When I first began writing Psychonautic, I intended on using it as a form of therapy, a means to explore my past from multiple angles, hoping to find ways to cope with the excess baggage I had carried all the way to my late thirties, the age I was when this adventure began. In 2011, I wrote a novella, The Blood Reapers. In this story, I created Violet, her maker, Xavier, and an early, alternate version of Julian. This was my first try at drafting a book. At the time, I was seven years deep into my toxic, narcissistic relationship. I wrote The Blood Reapers as a release, a coping mechanism to step away from that world and into another. After its publication, I found myself underwhelmed, feeling as if I could have done a much better job with the story, had I not written it under such dire circumstances. Four years later, the relationship ended, and I was free to explore new possibilities.

        Though dissatisfied with my novella from the start, I had always wanted/intended to write a sequel, but I wanted to put real thought and much more effort into the second installment than I had the first. It was not until moving to Las Vegas and I sat with the sacred Shamanic plant medicine, Ayahuasca, that my exploration came full circle. During the two-night ceremony, I sought answers to my provocative questions: “Where does my anguish reside? How do I heal it? Where do I go from there?” To my own surprise, I discovered the answers. My pain was a result of holding my emotions within, never truly allowing myself to feel and release them. How could I feel them, you may ask? I authored my new book, but it was not the sequel that I always wanted to write. It was a whole other version, starting fresh from the beginning. It was a new story that I never could have written before, with new incarnations of my beloved characters and all the troubling events of my past, put on display for the entire world to see: Psychonautic, book one in The Life and Death of Julian Frost.

     Not only does Psychonautic tell a dark, gritty vampire romance, surrounded by a brutal murder mystery, wrapped neatly in a non-stop barrage of twists, turns, and suspense. Nestled between the lines, my own personal memoir unfolds. It was while writing these raw emotional aspects of my past, deeply exploring the potential mindsets of all its key players, that I embarked on my own rigorous journey. The journey was painful. Several times, I cut myself with the intangible blade of recollections, but in the end, I emerged cleaner, and dare I say better than I was before my trials began.

        Since then, I have released the second installment: In Dreams. Though Psychonautic deals so much with my past, In Dreams moves beyond the topic and further explores the lives and expanding world of my vampires, their own pasts, powers, and lore. As the plot’s thickening bend on the mysteries that Psychonautic brings to light continues, In Dreams finds Julian lost in a deeper, darker reality than when his legend began. Moving forward, my trilogy’s epic conclusion will not just reveal all, but once again see Julian’s past come back to haunt him in Through Dead Eyes, which I am working on now, and though I cannot say for certain when the book will be released, if the timeframe of my previous two is any indication, I would suggest being on the lookout for it later next year.

       In closing, I would like to thank Author’s Lounge for offering me the exciting opportunity to share this small piece of myself, my story, and my writing with the world at large. Hopefully, my words can speak volume to others who have faced similar challenges to mine, and like myself, they too can learn to let go and use all they have endured in life to create something positive. Creative writing is a gift. It has always been in my blood, and without it, I would truly be lost.

My name is Darren Frey, and if you would like more information, you can follow me on Facebook and find both of my books in Kindle/KU and paperback on Amazon!


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