Grandfather, grandson team up on fantasy novel

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — There’s no generation gap when it comes to the writing partnership between this grandfather and grandson. Not only have they created their first novel together, they’ve already gotten a sequel under their belts.

Chesapeake High sophomore David Lilly was 12 years old when he teamed up with his grandfather, Edwin Roble Jr., on the fantasy fiction, “The Swords of Athos.”

Next Tuesday at 6 p.m. the duo will give a reading and talk about how they created the work at the Chesapeake branch of the Briggs Library. The event is open to the public.

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“I came up with the idea,” Lilly said. “I had a fifth grade teacher and she told me she could see me being an author.”

At the time they started to work together, fantasy fiction was starting its rise in popularity.

“Fantasy books were selling big and I figured why not write one,” Lilly said.

It took about a year to complete, but about four years to get it published. But those setbacks never deterred the two who believed in their project.

“Fantasy fiction allows people to get away from the reality of life,” Roble said “Romances are kind of a dime a dozen. When you get to a fantasy, … you leave the world of reality. You get to go out into this unrealistic world and be a part of it.”

Roble, a native of Pennsylvania, moved to Huntington, W.Va., after he retired from the Army in 1978 as a Sgt First Class.

When he was his grandson’s age, Roble was often garnering prizes for his writing.

Later in the service, he would do freelance writing for newspapers back home.

However, that was reporting. This current project has allowed the man to give free rein to his imagination.

“There is no limit to what you can do. You can get as ridiculous as you want that makes sense,” he said. “Once we got into this, I decided to explore and see how far I could go with my mind.”

As far as working with his grandfather, that collaboration proved easy.

“Sometimes I will write a bit and he will edit. Sometimes he will write,” Roble said. “Normally we go back and forth on an idea. It is really a process.”

Even though at 16, Lilly already had a novel under his belt, he doesn’t envision a career as a professional writer for himself. Rather, his bent is toward computers.

“I can see myself continuing to write, but computers are my profession,” he said. “Writing is something that is fun.”

And when the two seem to be heading in opposite literary directions?

“If we can’t agree on the idea, we compromise,” Lilly said.