Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Story behind 'Dragon Rising'

Cover by Jayson Kretzer
I have a new book available through Kindle and soon in print via Amazon's CreateSpace. "Dragon Rising" is the first of a projected series about The Shadow War, and like many of my recent works, it has been incubating for decades. I wrote the initial outline for the story in the early 1990s, when it seemed like there would never be new additions to the Star Wars trilogy, and I wanted a space opera-type story.

The first real work on it came in the latter 1990s, as Phantom Menace hyperbole began to take over the geek world in anticipation of the first prequel to Star Wars. I wrote it with my children in mind, who were at the time not yet in their teens; I made the protagonist, Kit Tanner, a 15-year-old from a backwater world and set him in dangerous situations that he had to think his way out of, and be brave, and be true.

A few years ago, I set about updating the novella I wrote for them and tried submitting it to various publishers. I even rewrote it to appeal to the Christian market at one point, pumping up the philosophical aspects and religious questions, as well as Kit's faith. Still no nibbles. In this most recent rewrite, I believe I kept the best of both versions. You be the judge (please, I'd love to read your reviews at Amazon.com!).

A funny thing happened on the way to publication, however. I asked my friend, Jayson Kretzer (creator of the Wannabe Heroes comic) to do a cover for the book. When he sent me the early version, uncolored, I had to ask him who one of the characters was. He identified the female as "Oracle," a robot or "mech" in the story. I replied that Oracle was never described as female, and in fact was referred to as "it" throughout the narrative; he said when he read the character's dialogue he "heard" a woman's voice. He offered to change the art, but his response made me rethink some of the passages in the story. It became clear to me that Oracle was in many ways a maternal care-giving and peacemaking figure that was missing from the story at that point, and I wondered how Kit was react to Oracle differently if "it" had the outer aspect and voice of a "she." So, another rewrite took place, one that is still having ripple effects on the subsequent storyline. We retained his interpretation, which informed (and in ways, transformed) the story.

That's what happens when you collaborate.

Dragon Rising will be followed later this year by Dragon Rampant, as the Shadow War breaks out in earnest. I also have in mind to do a sort of Federal Encyclopedia, with technical and historical info about the universe in which Kit Tanner lives. After Dragon Rampant, if there's clamor for further adventures, I anticipate a third tale, and more to follow.

I hope you'll read Dragon Rising, or read it to your kids, or buy it for some youngster you know. Let me know what worked for you, what you want more of, or less of. I'm working on the first sequel now, and your feedback would be invaluable. Collaborate in the Shadow War, if you dare to challenge the Dragon.

Peace.
Post a Comment