I get asked all kinds of questions about my writing: “What kind of tree would you be if you were a tree?”
“What animal best describes your writing style?”
“What color best describes you?”
I had a good deal of trouble with that last one. Dearheart, my wife, assures me I’m orange—a burnt, dark, orange to be exact.
I can tell when someone has actually read one of my stories or not. It’s always nice to be caught off guard with a question that hasn’t been asked before. . .always!
I think that anything you write is exposing some small part of yourself. Writing fantasy is one of the best experiences any writer can have. Given the opportunity to create new worlds with new creatures feeds that secret part of our monomaniacal God-wish part of ourselves.
I’ll give you an example. In The Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield the bad guys are called the Norha. I made them as unattractive as possible.
There, not more than fifty feet away, was a half-naked man. He was shorter than a Jonda but larger than me. From the back of his head grew a long tuft of black hair, braided with leather its full length. His head was shaved with this lone exception. It laid as a single entity across his back, cut square at the bottom of his hunched shoulders. He turned briefly toward us, I was shocked. His face was a dull, ruddy red and stood as stark contrast to the gray tone that covered the remainder of his body. Square, primitive, with a single brow and a protruding jaw his face was like no other I have ever seen. His body and arms were as muscled as any Jonda, only squatter, more compact standing on short powerful legs. He was covered only by a loincloth laced at the hip. It seemed unnatural he would be wearing anything at all.
As you can see they are more beast than man. I wanted to show them as vicious creatures so my readers could feel the fear Littlefield speaks of. They are unstoppable, they never give up, never accept defeat. They are willing to give their life in order to accomplish their goals. I want my readers 100% on the side of the Jonda, a more gentle people who are much closer to ourselves.
In book two, The Black Moon, I give Tucker and my readers a closer look into the Norha and they are not who we thought them to be!
“Brother… in your village, is there no one that stands for you?”
“What do you mean?” I asked trying to stall for time… I knew what he meant and I didn’t like it.
I hated being put on the spot.
“I’ve always been my own man,” I said defensively, stiffening a little.
“Have you no family?”
Grake was looking at me turning his head slowly from side to side as I mulled Bowen’s question over and I looked away.
“No, not at all. I lost them… or they lost me. It was a long time ago.”
For a moment no one spoke. They looked to one another briefly and then to the ground.
“How does such a thing happen?” Bowen pressed.
I spent years pushing this very question out of my mind. In the beginning it occupied my every waking thought. I hadn’t given it any consideration for decades. As I looked into their faces it was clear they weren’t about to let it go.
“My father taught me how to pick pockets before the age of seven to help feed the family… we traveled a lot. We were in a new town for the winter fair. I had never seen so many people… the pickings were plenty, at least until I got caught. I ran in and out of alleys, boxes, wagons, people… anything to escape those who gave chase. Eventually I got away, making my way back to where my father had told me we would meet,” I said, looking away.
It was quite for a moment, not a word between us, just the sound of the fire as it popped and crackled.
“No one was there. I searched for hours but they were gone if they were ever there in the first place. Then it occurred to me I had gone East… maybe he said West. Perhaps I didn’t remember it correctly. So I ran as fast as I could West until my heart felt like it would tear itself out of my chest but no one was there. I spent days looking everywhere but they were gone. I had lost them,” I choked.
“In your village, little man, are children so easily lost?” Grake asked honestly.
I had no answer and we sat in silence once more.
“A Norha father would kill all who stood in his way to find his son. A Norha would die before he lost you,” Grake said clenching his fist to solidify his opinion.
“I hold no doubt.”
“Brother, who comes when you call?”
“No one I guess,” I answered losing interest in this conversation.
“Even the Norha have those that come in time of trouble, Little man,” Grake returned.
I nodded my understanding… I knew what he was saying… I knew he was right and the thought of it hurt me deeply.
As it turns out, they do not see themselves as bad people but view their actions as those needed to survive and that they are righteous. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to lead people in one direction only to reverse what I want them to think.
And while we’re at it, I would love to know if any of my readers got my inside joke about Enon’s dog, Noget. He sees into the minds of all those that he comes in contact with, reads their minds as it were. He knows all they hope for, all they have done both good and bad. He makes the story that much more interesting, a spy that no one would suspect, so I wonder how many of you knew. I am the dog!
The Gift: The Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield – a Review
Service Before Self – a Review
Write What You Know & The Devil is in the Details – Guest Post by Tegon Maus
Machines of the Little People – a Review
Bio-Chemical Electrical Discharge – Guest Post by Tegon Maus
The Wishing Stone (The Eve Project, book 2) – a Review