PETER Huddleston lived a dull life in a quiet town with his decidedly normal father and stepmother. He awoke each morning with the intention of just fitting in and being like everyone else—that is until he gets shipped to Hillside Manor—a house with 3,000 rooms and serves as a gateway to the magical and mysterious world of Galadria, where Peter’s family reigns.
As the only heir to the throne, Peter learns that he has been summoned to face the “Rites of Passage” and quickly realizes why fitting in and being normal has never been easy for him.
There cannot be a more fascinating read for children than that of a 12-year-old boy who carries a boomerang, faces magical challenges, and needs to prove himself worthy of a kingdom’s throne. An inspiring story that will teach the young that whatever life throws at them, there is greatness in store for them.
This is exactly what Miguel Lopez de Leon, author of Galadria: Peter Huddleston and the Rites of Passage, wants to impart to his readers, may it be the young or the young at heart.
The Los Angeles-based Filipino writer, whose young-adult fiction became an Amazon bestseller during the first week of its publication, was recently in the Philippines to launch and promote his book to his fellowmen.
De Leon is very thrilled to finally bring his book here despite the overwhelming reception Galadria is already getting from counties like the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.
“I’m just happy that I’m able to bring the book [back] to my country. There’s really nothing like going home,” de Leon said in a press interview held on September 19.
De Leon, who was born in the Philippines, revealed that he was the only one living in the United States, as the rest of his family is still settled here.
He recalled how he grew up shuffling back and forth from US to the Philippines. He studied at Brent International School and after finishing high school, returned again to the States. Staying in the US for good, he attended the American Academy of Arts in Los Angeles and studied business to understand his family’s real estate business.
In the US, de Leon saw his hobby in writing turning into something serious. The short stories he wrote got published in different publications. One story even won grand prize in an international contest by Writer’s Digest Magazine.
The turn of events encouraged de Leon to delve more into writing. Early in 2002, he started writing notes for a novel that was to be the Galadria series.
Finishing Galadria’s final manuscript, de Leon submitted it to Wakestone Press, a nonfiction publisher based in Nashville, Tennessee. The nonfiction publishers liked his novel so much, they opened a fiction label, Moon Shadow Press, just for it.
As it turned out, Galadria: Peter Huddleston and the Rites of Passage, became the first fiction ever published under Wakestone Press. Since then, many have braved the journey to the world of Galadria together with its hero Peter Huddleston and his many adventures.
“The story is around a 12-year-old boy who lives in the suburbs and doesn’t have a happy life,” started de Leon. Peter who frequently has misunderstandings with his father and stepmother is then sent away to his Aunt Gillian’s hillside house. “And the house ends up being a 3000-room manor with its own lake and its own animal preserve [where Peter] got his own butler,” revealed de Leon.
Peter soon finds out that his aunt is the queen of the world of Galadria, and that he is the sole heir to the throne. But to claim the crown, Peter has to undergo the “Rites of the Passage.” With his ever reliable boomerang, creamers that give magical powers, and friends to support him, Peter discovers his own capabilities and what he can achieve.
“I really wanted for kids to identify with the challenges that Peter is going through, whether his relationship with this father, or being a loner,” the author shared.
De Leon told his readers to believe in themselves. He said, “You really shouldn’t judge or doubt yourself. You might not even know what your talents are. That’s what happened to Peter. He has a destiny that he did not know existed.”
This man is even very hands on in bringing the world of Galadria closer to children as he personally visits public schools in Los Angeles to give students his book.
He recalled that his most memorable experience involved going to a school located in LA’s gang-infested territories. He shared how he was the first author the school invited who went out of his way to see the children.
“They [students] were very appreciative,” de Leon said of the experience that touched his heart. This also inspired him to eventually do the same in Filipino public schools. Meanwhile, he expressed his joy and excitement over the Rustan’s book launch on September 24 and 25 that brought in Filipino kids.
Asked what he feels being a Filipino author who claimed international success, De Leon was quick to react, “I don’t give it much thought only because I don’t think it’s anything out of the ordinary for Filipinos to succeed internationally.
“I think we’re a brilliant culture and a brilliant people. It’s not something that should be like “Wow, you’re a Filipino succeeding internationally!” I think it should be “Of course, you are! You should succeed internationally because you’re Filipino!” de Leon concluded.
Galadria: Peter Huddleston and the Rites of Passage is exclusively sold at Rustan’s Makati and Alabang. Visit www.miguellopezdeleon.com or www.wakestonepress.com.