A new historical fantasy novel offers a glimpse of a world seldom seen in American fiction, ancient Japan. It is now available as a free audio fiction podcast for fiction listeners and readers worldwide.
Omaha-area author Travis Heermann launched his upcoming hardcover novel, Heart of the Ronin ($25.95, Five Star Publishing, February 2006), in free audio podcast format. The novel's setting in 13th-Century Japan is unique in American fiction and draws upon the author's extensive research and experiences living in Japan. The book tells the story of a young ronin samurai, a masterless warrior, and his quest to learn the truth about his father's mysterious magical sword and to save himself from the devilish machinations of an underworld crime boss known only as Green Tiger.
Heermann produces the podcast on his own time and budget, employing the voice talents of UNO student Danielle Steen to read the text. The podcast is being released in serialized weekly installments and is available through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Podiobooks.com, and RSS feed from the author's website, http://www.travisheermann.com/podcast/.
Heermann conceived the idea to release this novel in podcast form because of his strong belief in the explosion of "new media" publishing.
"The internet is producing a tremendous shift in the way readers enjoy books and how publishing works," Heermann says. "The tremendous success of podcast fiction authors such as Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty, and J.C. Hutchins proves that tens of thousands of readers and listeners are subscribing, downloading, and enjoying fiction podcasts. Short fiction podcasts like the sci-fi-based Escape Pod have been noticed by mainstream publishing and sci-fi readers alike. And it's about time. I created this podcast to reach readers, and I have to say I enjoy the learning and creative aspects of it tremendously. It's a unique opportunity for authors to connect with their audience."
Travis Heermann is a freelance writer/author and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the English Department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He spent three years living in Japan and teaching English there in public schools, during which time he also researched and produced Heart of the Ronin. His goal with this novel was to harness his passion for Japanese history and culture and introduce a largely overlooked milieu to Western readers.