Gay author Jason Michael Primrose's first book was 24 pagesan impressive feat for a 9-year-old.
Inspired by Bruce Coville's Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, the handwritten "novel," called Dragon Wars, combined some of his favorite things: aliens, vast universes and dragons.
Primrose's story followed a young Black boy attempting to navigate a society working to emancipate the enslaved dragons. Along the margins of the pages were numerous doodles and sketches of his characters and their environment.
"[Coville's] story inspired me to write Dragon Wars, except I made the main character a little Black boy like me," Primrose said.
Dragon Wars ultimately became the framework for his expansive series titled The Lost Children of Andromeda, set in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world. It follows Allister Adams, a young Evolutionary (a human with supernatural abilities), as he waits for the end of the world. The first book in the series, ZOSMA, was released in 2018.
Primrose recently released the second installment of the series "205Z: Time and Salvation"which focuses on humanity's last year on Earth. Allister gets caught in the middle of a war between government-sanctioned Evolutionaries and stateless Evolutionaries fighting over the only thing that would ensure survival. Throughout the novel, Allister interacts and fights other Evolutionaries while at the same time learning to harness his powers.
"This book is a place where people can experience themselves. It is fantastical, mystical and spiritual. It's meant to be empowering and meant to provoke thought," he said.
Primrose began reading at a young age to escape the bullying he experienced as a young Black gay boy living in Alexandria, Virginia. He was drawn to fantasy books, like "Chronicles of Narnia" and "A Wrinkle in Time," but quickly noticed the lack of inclusivity in the genre.
"I read a ton of fantasy. I never saw myself at all," Primrose said. He wanted to ensure that his audience would have a different experience.
Through his descriptions, most of the characters in Primrose's world are easily identifiable as people of color. The books also include numerous highly-detailed, comic renditions of the characters, which allows his readers of color to see themselves in the fantasy genre.
As Primrose developed his characters and settings, he found that Allister became a reflection of himself. At first, he had difficulty writing Allister because Primrose hadn't yet faced his own "inner fears." But, after attending a personal development and leadership seminar, Primrose began his transformation as he stepped into his power, allowing him to connect with the young protagonist in a vulnerable way.
"The more and more I distanced myself from myself, the more challenging it was to write Allister as a compelling character," he explained. But, when "I was in touch with myself and I was speaking to other people that were really in touch with themselves, then there was a lot of vulnerability, a lot of openness and a lot of really deep listening."
His own experience as a Black gay man permeates the pages of his books as he writes in a compassionate and accepting way.
"[The story] is love, connection and seeing people for how powerful they are or could be, not for whatever ideas we have worked up in our heads about them. That's been my experience of how people have experienced me and how I experienced other people," Primrose said. "I believe at the core of our awakening is our ability to heal what's within us first."
He plans to write nine more books for the Lost Children of Andromeda and continue expanding the world he began creating at nine years old.
Primrose is in the early stages of adapting his books into a gamified experience so his audience can further connect with his universe. On a "cool website," he hopes to create a "game in real-world" where players can collect objects and artifacts mentioned in the books.
He also wants to make an audiobook so that his audience can listen to the chapters. This would be paired with numerous quizzes about the story and about the reader's own experiences as it relates to Allister's world.
Primrose hopes his characters and writing will encourage his readers to reflect and step into their power.
"I hope people remember that they can be powerful and people are affirmed in their power if they're already there," Primrose said. "It's a call to people to remember themselves and to brave their own inner darkness to find their greatest potential."
To learn more about The Lost Children of Andromeda and 205Z: Time and Salvation, See lostchildrenofandromeda.com/ .