By Erasmo Guerra
Richard Delgado, an online graduate student in the School of Visual Development (VIS) has been drawing and writing stories since he was a kid growing up in Houston, Texas. And when he heard criticism of a certain vampire YA novel series, he decided to pen his own. Inspired by his favorite vampire movies such as “The Lost Boys” and “Interview with the Vampire,”—and yes, he saw “Twilight” at the movie theater, he just hadn’t read the books themselves—he set his novel in the 1700s in Pennsylvania. Delgado said, in a recent phone interview, that he wanted to return to the classic narratives he knew, such as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” which he read as a teenager.
Delgado’s novel, “The Ancient Chronicles: The Newborn,” the first in a proposed series, was self-published on September 1. He chose to publish the novel himself in e-book and paperback editions after spending six years developing the manuscript and realizing how much longer it would take to get the finished book on bookstore shelves through the traditional publishing channels of literary agents and New York publishing houses.
Yet, for someone currently enrolled in a master’s program focused on drawing and creating character designs, you might have expected something a little more visual than just words on the page. Delgado said he insisted on writing the first book as a regular novel, which weighs in at nearly two-hundred pages of text. And while there are a few illustrations by Delgado within the book, he doesn’t plan on bringing out a graphic novel version of the story until sometime in the future.
Delgado said he was first taught to draw by his father, who hand-painted murals and billboards for local shops in their neighborhood in North Houston. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, his father taught him the fundamentals of geometric shapes and anatomy. Delgado admitted that after high school he’d wanted to get his bachelor’s degree at Academy of Art University, but his traditional Mexican family thought he was too young to leave home, so he attended an art school nearby.
When it was time to further his studies and earn a master’s, Delgado again looked to the Academy and decided to enroll in the online program. And while he didn’t move to San Francisco then, he did recently move to Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles, where he plans to pursue a career in an animation studio. And while you might think someone who wrote a vampire novel would be into darker, gothic themes, Delgado said that he looked to the work by Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki as a model for what he’d like to do.
Delgado has been taking graduate classes online for the past four years and is set to graduate this fall. He credits his wife, Melody, and his family for their support of his work and the new book, which is out now wherever e-books are sold and on his website.
Delgado will be doing a signing at the Open Book in Santa Clarita on October 20.