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Cornelius News

Newly published fantasy author lives in Cornelius in real life

By Dave Yochum. Michael Liguori is a mild-mannered e-commerce guy by day, and a mild-mannered fantasy novelist by night.

Hydra Publications just published “Virtue and Vengeance,” a 500-page fantasy novel. Hydra has also published fantasy novels from New York Times bestselling author Richard A. Knaak and Amazon bestselling author Stuart Thaman.

Louisville-based Hydra is the winner of the 2015 Jason Sizemore Award for Outstanding Small-Press Publishers.

“I’ve always been an avid reader but as I’ve gotten older my tastes have leaned toward a more adult and gritty fantasy style, and I’m a huge fan of historical fiction as well,” says Liguori, who lives in Lake Norman Cove at Jetton.

Originally from Long Island, the 39-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in English from the New York Institute of Technology.

Fantasy literature is a specific and noteworthy segment of fiction that includes such staples as “Lord of the Rings,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Watership Down” and “Dune.”

The most famous author may very well be J.K. Rowling who turned Harry Potter into a billion-dollar literary enterprise.

Liguori was first introduced to the fantasy genre in elementary school, when a teacher read JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” aloud to his class.

“Years later I started writing fantasy stories and novels of my own, and my debut novel “Virtue and Vengeance” was published after about ​10​ years of developing ​my​ craft​,” he said.

He’s not quitting his day job, though. The pay so far is modest, but you never know what will develop a following. He’s received a $1,000 advance so far, and he’ll collect 60 percent of what “Virtue and Vengeance” brings in.

The story unfolds in the capital city of the Anirian Empire which is simmering with unrest. There’s an emperor, various conspiracies, a “lowborn courtesan driven to rule” and a ​“once-powerful general turned reclusive cripple.”

You can find out what happens: $5.99 for the Kindle version and around $14 for the large format paperback version. To find his new book online, go to amazon.com and search “Virtue and Vengeance.”