Del Mar author self-publishes space adventure novel

Andrew Armao, a graduate of Canyon Crest Academy and Cal Poly Pomona, self-published his debut novel, "Auroraden."

Combining his interests in suspense, romance, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, space exploration and colonization, Andrew Armao, a Del Mar resident and Canyon Crest Academy graduate, self-published his debut novel “Auroraden: Mars Chosen Ones.”

A young adult, science fiction story, “Auroraden” takes place on a dystopian Earth in the year 2100, where the wealthy live in an opulent Sky City. The main character, Jake, wins a social media contest to be one of 108 teens who get to travel to a new colony on Mars. But, according to a summary of the book, it turns out to be a ruse by an evil overlord from another planet, who forces Jake and the other contestants to fend for their lives and the future of humanity.

“It’s not an extremely hard read, but at the same time I do employ subplots to make it a full book,” said Armao, 26, who studied theater at Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in 2017.

He added that the book should appeal to “anyone who’s interested in space.”

The book opens with Jake at home, surrounded by his family, getting ready to perform a rap to try to move up a few spots on the leader board of 108 teens vying for a chance to go to Mars.

Armao said he draws inspiration from Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and others who have pursued interests in space exploration. Stephen King, R.L. Stein, James Patterson and J.K. Rowling are among his favorite writers. He works at Cinepolis, but his long-term plan is to be a writer.

“I definitely feel like as my first book, I did really well,” he said.

Armao spends his nights writing fiction and song lyrics after work. He said his mom encouraged him to write “Auroraden” as a way to blend his interests in space and new technologies. In addition to his novel, Armao also wrote a screenplay, “Funny and Fit,” about a 30-year-old comedian from San Antonio who struggles with his act and his weight before a chance meeting with two brothers who run a fitness company.

Armao said it took about a year to complete “Auroraden.” He’s planning on writing a sequel, in addition to other stories in the “Auroraden” universe.

“Auroraden: Mars Chosen Ones” is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, located at 5943 Balboa Ave.