Interview with Adam Rowan

Author of The Republic of Reality

Adam Rowan is an emerging Anglo-Irish writer of YA fantasy. He recently went on a trip around Europe and has a black lab called Mabel. The Republic of Reality is Adam’s debut novel. Insta: enstasy999

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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
  • A fun read that doesn’t take itself seriously with a relatable protagonist, memorable characters and a unique premise.

    The plot in a sentence:

    A young gambling addict dies in a random toaster fire, but wakes up on a secret island called Hyleberia where he is given the chance to start a second life.
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • I wanted to make a novel with fantasy/magic elements that was based in philosophy, but not in a pretentious way. I struggled to work out what genre this book is when I was writing it, because there’s no traditional fantasy elements in it like dragons or magic. I have never written fantasy before this novel, and probably won’t ever again unless it’s a sequel or set in this world. I do love more traditional fantasy sometimes like Game of Thrones, but I’m not a big fan of some fantasy tropes.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • My favourite author is James Joyce, although this book is absolutely nothing like anything he ever wrote besides it being very comedic and absurdist.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • There’s only one real world location, Southend. I chose that place to be where Joseph is from because my Grandmother lived there, and I thought it is an interesting, scenic place. I didn’t really attempt to portray it that detailedly or accurately at all though, just to be the background of the first chapter. The rest takes place on Hyleberia, the Republic of Reality.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • I can’t really give advice, because I still consider myself one!
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • This was the first proper, actually somewhat decent novel I wrote, but the first draft was terrible. I don’t get writer’s block, yet I have to edit what I write a lot of times till it gets really frustrating. It was a difficult novel to write because, and not to sound like oh it’s so unique, but I’d never read anything with the exact same idea or style.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • I don’t know really, you’d have to ask them. Some people seem to be saying they find Joseph, the main character really relatable and likeable but other characters a tad one-dimensional. It was a bit difficult to go into details on characters though when I had to get the word count as short as possible, because in publishing longer books are harder to print and get published to begin with.
If the book were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye ?
  • Hmmm, not sure. Maybe Christopher Abbott as Joseph. But he’s American so I don’t know.
How have readers responded ?
  • Vast majority positively! I understand not everyone will like it for a variety of reasons, but so far even if people have criticisms they seem to be enjoying it. It’s my debut novel so this is my first experience getting reviews and stuff. A lot of people are encouraging me to write a sequel, which I’m really happy about because I want to make it a series. I always appreciate whenever anybody gives me any feedback on it, positive or negative. I mean, I only wrote it at 21 years so maybe when I'm 40 I will look back and think it's terrible or amazing, who knows?
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I’ve already finished my next novel, but made no effort on getting it published it yet since that’ll take ages. I won’t say how far I am with the sequel to the Republic of Reality, yet I will confirm my intention for it to exist! It will continue Joseph’s story, although it will be written as its own thing so new readers won’t have to read this one.
Authors – click here to learn about Profile


Hunted by loan sharks, Joseph Shields is a nineteen-year-old in deep debt and even deeper trouble. Thanks to an unfortunate toaster fire, he’s also dead. Well ... sort of.

Miraculously, Joseph wakes up in Hyleberia, an amazing island republic that rules the Earth and everything on it. Having been selected at random to become a citizen, he is given little choice but to start a second life here far from all he once knew. Before long, Joseph finds himself making eccentric friends, learning the secrets of reality and seeing wonders beyond his imagination.

Yet Hyleberia is no heaven. Besides a corrupt government and a troubled history, lurking in the shadows is an evil leader widely believed to be defeated, the fearsome Prince of Darkness. Sooner or later, Joseph must rise to protect the island—not to mention humanity—from a sinister plot that threatens the world itself.