St. Louis author Daryl Rothman releasing 2nd installment of his David Rose series


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Daryl Rothman grew up in Olivette loving stories and the books they came in. Like any young child, he loved when his parents would read books to him. And while Rothman’s parents did read him “Where the Wild Things Are,” and “The Giving Tree,” and other bedtime classics – he was also being introduced to an entirely different genre of storytelling.

“Some of my earliest memories are how my dad used to read us Edgar Allan Poe, O’Henry and many other stories,” said Rothman, 53, whose family attends services at Congregation Shaare Emeth.

Where some people “lose themselves” in books, Rothman found himself in the words and work of some of the greatest writers of the last century.

“I was in the ‘Great Books’ program in elementary school, so I read a lot of Newberry Award winners. Other than that, I read things like the Narnia series, Tolkien, Poe, O’ Henry, and eventually Stephen King,” said Rothman.

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Influenced by his father and his 7th-grade English teacher Marjorie Stelmach, Rothman, at age 12, began trying to find his own voice through writing. His early writing was in the Gothic and horror genre.

“I crafted my take on the next Halloween story, calling it, of course, ‘Halloween III’ prior to the actual (dreadful) film of same title hitting theaters,” remembered Rothman. “It was an instructive process, in that I persevered through the creation of an entire manuscript and Mrs. Stelmach took it very seriously and helped me do likewise, giving me sage counsel, regardless of genre, imparting that beautiful but all too rare seamless combination of tough love and emboldening encouragement.”

Getting serious about writing

Years later, after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1993, Rothman returned to St. Louis, where he got married to his wife Linda in 1995. With his master’s degree in social work from Washington University, he began a long executive career in the world of non-profits. But, within him, the writing dream remained. And with the births of his first two children, Rothman had a new muse and new idea.

“After seeing one of the Harry Potter films with my oldest, David, around 15 years ago, I was struck by the sense of wonder these films and stories engendered in audiences of all ages. We talked about what he liked about them, and I asked him if he’d like me to write a story for him perhaps with some of those magical and fantastical themes and he said yes and I promised that I would,” said Rothman.

With a mission to accomplish, Rothman set out. He found a storyline and over the year wrote as much as he could.

“The main holdup, looking back, was that the story lacked a heartbeat, that certain oomph without which no measure of magic or fantasy could overcome,” said Rothman. “One day I took David and his sister Rachel to a park for a birthday party. All of a sudden, an enormous bee had begun dive-bombing Rachel. At that moment David grabbed his sister from harm’s way. Protecting his sister was in his DNA, and at that moment I found the heartbeat of my tale.”

‘The Awakening of David Rose’

Rothman’s first book, “The Awakening of David Rose” was published and released in April 2016. It tells the story of 15-year-old David Rose, who wants his living nightmares to end and the bullies in his life to leave. He and his sister Rachel have lost their mother and embark on a journey to seek the truth of what happened to their family one-year earlier.

The book was awarded the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Young Adult Fiction

‘David Rose and the Forbidden Tournament’

Daryl Rothman and his new book.

Rothman’s new book, the second in the David Rose series, is set to release on Sept. 26 and is available now for pre-order. The book picks up less than a year later, but for David Rose, everything has changed. David finds himself in a wondrous new world, yet one fraught with peril. You’ll need to read the book to find out the rest of the story.

How Judaism fits into the David Rose saga

While Rothman is a Jewish author and his main characters are based on Jewish children, these are not Jewish stories. These books lean more into the fantasy of the stories, but Judaism does fit in.

“I can’t give away too much, because it plays a huge climactic role in the third and final installment, but I can say Judaism plays a fairly big role. Not overtly, in the first two, though more Jewish elements are introduced in book two,” said Rothman. “David is not super religious, but many of his values are derived from his mother and are reflective of many basic Jewish tenets. But book two indeed portends some pretty heavy Old Testament themes, including the High Holy Days, and the Book of Life, and in fact the title of book III is ‘David Rose and the Days of Awe.’”

Look for “David Rose and the Days of Awe” in the spring or summer of 2023.