Mr. Daniel O’Connell of Plymouth, MA released his first book of the OCODA Chronicles, a nine-book series that finally filled a gaping hole in the science-fiction section of the young adult/adult’s reading genre. Dan, has toiled long and hard in completing this series. He began drafting his ideas when he was only thirteen years old after being inspired from reading the Flying Dutchman and then from a field trip to a battleship cove in Massachusetts along with the proliferation of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica at that time. But after he married his wife in 2004, Emily Calagui (Yovee to most of her friends and families) of Cagayan, Philippines – he immediately revised his initial concept of the series. At that time, he noticed that children of biracial marriage do not have a clear superhero whom they can identify with themselves. Sure, superheroes abound – but none of them combines the historic and genetic make-up of two culture, two religion and two races into a family with only one mission. Thus, the idea of THE OCODA CHRONICLES was born.
There are so many things that make his books special: (1) he is finally giving biracial children a superhero they can look up to and giving them the opportunity that Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, etc. are just alternatives. Read: biracial children do not have to dress up as Japanese animated heroes anymore! (2) through his books, he wants to send the message that biracial children’s culture should be represented very well. His books will answer this plea: an epic tale that expands for five thousand years about a Filipino family’s sacrifice to save the world. (3) the theme of the chronicles though with minimal use of weapons and violence, has been carefully infused with some Filipino values as armors to beat the villains. He blends the support of Filipino families, friends and the Filipino tradition of sacrificial blessing, putting yourself behind to meet someone’s needs. (4) he taps into the visual artistry of a Filipino artist, Rio Villegas of Cebu City whose graphic representation of the characters in his books are enigmatic!
Mr. O’Connell spent a whooping thirty two years (32) to write these books! This proves that anybody can pursue their dreams and continue to dream despite the many winding roads that may hinder the achievement of one’s dreams. Dan, himself may be a superhero in the making for bringing together two cultural divides into one. He has definitely filled in the void for this among Filipino-Americans or other biracial combinations.
Book 1 of the Ocoda Chronicles can now be purchased on Amazon.com for shipping worldwide. (Trivia: Yesterday morning it was reported that over 6000 copies of Dan O’Connell’s books were shipped worldwide from Amazon. Amazing!)
While Book 1 is out in the market through Kindle, Amazon and the National Book Store in the Philippines, you may want to reserve for Book 2’s release in April 2012.
Here is his story:
AMS: Dan, your book was just officially released yesterday (11/11/11) – how does it feel like having it finally released in print?
Dan: Not really sure how i feel kinda excited i guess, but I’m a little reserved as i don’t want to expect too much.
AMS: We know you’ve toiled long and hard in completing this chronicle, how long did it take you again?
Dan: I started with the original Idea in 1979. I was 13 years old, I completed the first version 15 years later at age 28, but the series was just an action adventure, the characters didn’t have a soul, nor did the story, so I put it away for ten years till I met Yovemyl my ASAWA.
AMS: How did it all come about? Could you share us the story why and how you started your book?
Dan: Back in 1979 that was when Star Wars was the biggest thing, and BattleStar Galactica, The New adventures of Buck Rodgers, Star Blazers, etc. etc. etc. At that time I was reading one of the many different books for school called the flying Dutchman and we had a school field trip to Battleship Cove, and that’s when the premise of the story actually hit me. However it wasn’t until I went to Manila and met my Asawa and discovered the culture, the people and the strong family based values.
AMS: So, after years of writing them, what made you decide to get them off the dust and publish them?
Dan: My daughter. That renewed my interest in my original series. I rewrote the characters. Different races, different cultures, different religions. Now my characters had a soul. The story was no longer my own, and a 50000 word book became 100000. Each book doubled in size. I decided that I was going to have children of mixed racial heritage, and I wanted to give them heroes of there own culture
AMS: What was the biggest challenge in publishing them? How long did it take to put everything together?
Dan: Well, finding an audience. Today’s book industry is going the way of the record and music industry. They are out of touch with people, and will only publish authors who have been successful in the past. I was very lucky, I was able to get Amazon to put up my book in Kindle and I sold over 1000 copies. Then Amazon contacted me to put my book in Paperback.
AMS: Did you have official background as a writer/author? If not, who are your editorial team?
Dan: No, I’m just a mechanic with very limited grammar skills. I have lots of good friends that helped me edit my book.
AMS: Let us get to your book. Tell us about the OCODA Chronicles, what is it about? Who are the target audience?
Dan: The Ocoda chronicles depicts the Ocoda’s, a Filipino’s family adventure that covers 9 books and over 5000 years. The book is Science fiction and shows the Ocoda’s as they use the gifts given to them by an alien race, and with what make Filipino’s great their ability to pull everyone around them into a family. My target audience is everyone that can see beyond the color of there own skin and culture and see the world for what it is… We are one people with many faces.
AMS: You mentioned to me before that there are nine books/series on this chronicle – would you mind giving us a snapshot of each of the book series?
Dan: Well, I’ll do my best without giving away too much.
Book 1 Paladin. The beginning where we build the foundation. We were introduced to Caleb Ocoda and his family. This book is released 11-11-11
Book 2 Lost Heroes. This is one I hated to write, but every proof reader says is the best of the series. It is also the hinge pin where the entire series is centered on. This book is released 4-18-12
Book 3 Ronin. The beginning of Carla Ocoda’s time in the spotlight, as she is forced into a roll she is not ready for, and has much to learn, but everyone needs her. This book is released 12-12-12
Book 4 Present Future Past. I’m currently 35% done with the rewrite of this book. We learn of events that go back to book 2, and what happened to cause things to happen in book 2.
Book 5 Paladonian’s. This is a series of short stories that explains a civilization called the Paladonian’s, and their beginning and purpose, and covers over 2000 years of earths history.
Book 6 Family Ties. Carla has grown over the years and accepted her role set before her by her father, but when she is confronted with a possibility of finding her family she risks all to find out that what may be her doom.
Book 7 Enemy Myself. Carla’s husband Abraham is confronted with a threat beyond even his great intellect would ever believe. When something from Book 4 appears from the events that happened there.
Book 8 Hope. A enemy of unstoppable power is rampaging across the galaxy, and nothing appears to be able to stop it, but then when all else looks hopeless . Hope returns
Book 9 Untitled as of yet. But I have written the last few pages. This book is outlined and often changes, but the end is clear. This shows what real power is, and its nothing alien, its the power of family love.
AMS: What is your most favorite chapter or book?
Dan: Book 1 chapter 3, and Book 2 chapter 1 is a tie.
AMS: How about your wife, Yovee – what does she think of the book series?
Dan: She is speechless.
AMS: Do you think there will be more than Book 9?
Dan: Not by my hand no. I leave that for my children to carry -on if they want.
AMS: As the author, creator of the OCODA Chronicles what are your hopes about this project?
Dan: Only one, and its not fame or fortune it’s that the story gets the recognition it deserves. Not for me, but for what it represents.
AMS: Since it is just the second of being released, do you have further plans of marketing it?
Dan: I have several newspaper interviews set up and a few conventions. Several fans from major Facebook pages have been helping me like Definitely Filipino, and others like that.
AMS: Would you be willing to quit your day job to pursue your passion – any time now?
AMS: Would you be willing to quit your day job to pursue your passion – any time now?
Dan: If I could, I’d move to Penablanca with my Asawa, and raise my daughter there around her family, so that my child will grow in a loving environment like my Asawa had.
AMS: Finally, how does success play in the end of your book? How about you, what is your definition of success.
Dan: I don’t know. When it all comes down to it. The only people that I hope to make proud is my Asawa and my children.