I’ve been a storyteller as long as I can remember. When I was small, I told stories to my sisters and brother. At age eleven, I was playing hooky from Sunday School to make up outer-space soap-operas in the woods behind church. Once I got to college, I started writing something I affectionately refer to as “fanfic on crack,” a pastiche of “what if’s” containing characters from pretty much everything nerdy. I graduated from Duke University in 1990 with a B.A. in English and a no-better-than-C average, because I was spending more time writing stories than studying. I also had enough geek street-cred to get a professional gig writing short stories for the Star Wars Adventure Journal until the magazine folded in the late ’90’s.
By that time, though, I’d gotten tired of playing in the big kids’ driveway, as it were, and having my favorite stories run over by their “official” plots. I realized that “hard” science fiction was about as far from my brain as stories could get. What I liked about sci-fi was the “reality is optional” nature of the stories, and that the characters were involved in lofty quests–or at least pursuits more lofty than raking in cash through questionable means on Wall Street (Yes, I survived the ’80’s).
I’d been raised on the classics of fantasy by my closet-geek mother, who treated a Tolkien calendar like it was an illuminated scripture. I’d joined the SCA my freshman year in college, and was spending up to a week at a time without modern technology (sometimes without running water or indoor toilets). So around 1995, I filed the serial numbers off one of my fanfics, changed the names to protect the guilty, and wrote my first “original” Medieval fantasy novel.
It currently resides in the Drawer of Shame awaiting a complete overhaul. It was pretty much what you’d expect from a first novel: rambling, derivative, full of clichés and half-developed characters. But it had some ideas of merit, most notably the beginnings of the world that Edward Red Mage would come to inhabit. I’ve been writing about dear Eddie, my “drunk-ass wizard detective” for over twenty years now.