An ancient Mayan artifact, smuggled into Los Angeles, unexpectedly alters three lives in bizarre ways.
Gray, an aspiring artist struggling to provide for his family, Claire, his insomniac wife, and Ashley York, a wealthy socialite striving to make it as a real actress, find their paths crashing together, their dreams and their very identities threatened.
Meanwhile, Saul Parker, a detective and hobbyist magician who is self-conscious about his weight, strives to solve a strange case that seems impossible to comprehend.
Only Wayob, a mysterious chameleon-like killer, has a grasp on the dangerous power that has consumed his life and now infiltrates the others.
The Encanto, Book 1 of the LA Fog series, is an intricately woven, character-based mystery about how the choices we make inform our identity.
Read on for an interview with Arthur Swan.
Q: What inspired your story?
A: All the people in LA who lead socially isolated lives because they are so focused on their careers, and, often, moved to LA from somewhere else, with no family or friends or local support network. I started thinking how some isolated person’s life could go totally off the rails with no one else even knowing. Even things that get reported on often get boiled down of a catchy headline. Often, so much is left out that people come to the wrong conclusion. And more often the truth is even more unbelievable than what you hear.
Also I wanted to write about the difference between people who can believe in something without knowing it’s true and those who can’t.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your book?
A: I want readers to think about the choices they’re making, if they’re really getting where they want to go. And to think about all the misunderstandings that occur when people communicate, all the misperceptions and incorrect assumptions.
Q: Is there a character you identify with more than any of the others?
A: I identify with every one of them. When writing, I imagine I am that character. What it would be like if, for example, I weighed three hundred pounds? I do know what it’s like to want to eat even when I know it’s bad for me or I’m not hungry. When possible, I read something by someone with that experience, or talk to them. I have a friend who’s overweight and I’ve seen the effect on his self-image.
Ashley is probably the character I have the least in common with but I understand her feeling of social isolation caused by ambition, and living in LA. I’ve seen how isolated some people have become by their own wealth. I understand how living with another person’s family seeds this longing she had for one of her own.
Q: What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
A: “We have to remember that the greatest triumphs and the greatest tragedies of the human race are nothing to do with people being basically good or people being basically evil. They’re all to do with people being basically people.” — Neil Gaiman.
Q: When will LA FOG part 2 be released?
A: Wayob’s Revenge is currently in the editing phase. Expect it in April or May, 2022.
Purchase your copy of The Encanto here.
Arthur Swan was raised in North Carolina and now resides in Los Angeles. He has contributed to films ranging from ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to ‘How to Train Your Dragon’.