Within the mind of one of Tauranga’s senior managers is a world beyond our own.
Science fiction, advanced technology, futuristic concepts and martial arts set the scene for imaginative story-telling.
I first met Darren Leggatt while he was organising the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride – DGR – raising funds and awareness for men’s mental health. He’s also a manager for a local company working with a top team involved in infrastructure and logistics.
His deep dive into sci-fi is an exciting progression for someone who loves martial arts, including Muay Thai and Ninjutsu with a heavy influence of Kendo. The interesting balance of discipline and creativity has found its expression in Darren’s fantasy and discombobulated world of action and intrigue.
The first in his Wildcry series is titled ‘Prophecy’ and is set hundreds of thousands of years into the future. A different world from what we know, with only 15 cities across the globe, it is governed by women and family clans. Men have lost their pre-eminent place through wars which nearly wiped out the human race and have gradually descended into a more subservient role as a strong matriarchal society emerges.
The central character, Hunter Valez, is conflicted as he grapples with high anxiety and panic attacks, becoming beset and overwhelmed by strange experiences. Are they connected to the new disease rocking his city? Or is he going crazy as a result of his own diagnosed abnormalities?
The Wildcry series has taken Darren around nine years to write, with the original stretching to nearly 1000 pages.
“I had a start and an end for the series, but needed to write up the middle. It was more barebones than series born, hence a delay in the following books,” says Darren.
He started writing as a child.
“I remember laying on my grandparent’s floor or at home with my mum and writing very basic stories from a very young age, then wrote a few other books over the years, none published though.”
During his career, he has written a self-help blog, born from the desire to help people. This flowed on into the DGR events, delving deeper into how people tick, while riding motorcycles dressed as dapper gentlemen.
‘Prophecy’ will appeal for many reasons. Darren’s inspiration comes mainly from his experience of martial arts.
“And I’ve often felt a little in the middle with both eastern and western thinking, having been lucky – and unlucky – to have been exposed to both in my life.
“With all the martial arts I’ve done, there does seem to come a stage whereby you reach a certain level of proficiency and there becomes a need for balance. A few senior and experienced martial artists I’ve known have often turned to creative outlets as a balance to all the discipline we’ve followed.
“Some write songs or poetry, others paint, mine seems to be writing books.’’
The main writing challenge Darren experienced was time, waiting until after his children had gone to bed, the dog had been walked, and the household chores done.
“My wonderfully supportive wife Andrea and kids have all been great helping out and being encouraging.”
‘Prophecy’ is available on Amazon. Darren is working on the second book in the series.