If you've ever read a book, you've probably wondered where the author got the idea from. It's a completely normal phenomenon, or at least I hope it is. It's a curiosity that has certainly always been a tickle in the back of my brain whenever I read a story I really love. And it's especially true when I find the idea to be particularly unique. There's a part of me that always wishes I'd have thought of whatever clever thing it is I'm so impressed with.
Now I'm not saying that my ideas are especially unique or impressive. That's not for me to decide. I don't have that big an ego to make statements like that. Though an artist of any kind who tells you they don't crave some sort of validation of their work is telling you a big, bald-faced lie.
But with a little bit less than a week left before "The Forbidden Scrolls" releases, I thought it might be fun to give you all a glimpse behind the curtain at the seedling that sprouted this massive undertaking. It all started about fifteen years ago in York, Pennsylvania...
I've lived in Arizona for the last fourteen years. But before that, I live in Pennsylvania for a decade. I went to York College of Pennsylvania, and then stayed in the area afterwards. It's where I met some of the best friends I've ever had in my life.
It was with one group of friends in particular, that eventually led to this book being written. I got together with a specific group of guys every Thursday night for a game night. For the longest time, my friend Kris and I alternated weeks running different table top role playing games. He would run Dungeons and Dragons, I would run Vampire: The Masquerade. Eventually other games got mixed into the rotation. I ran some Star Wars, Kris ran some Delta Green and Star Hero.
It was in this time I decided to give building my own RPG a shot. I built my own rules and world rather than learning all the rules in something else. I thought it would be an easier undertaking.
I was wrong. The game was a flop, because the rules didn't really work. And my story was a little too "epic" for a group of low level adventurers. But this is the first story in which the characters Juliya and Frost, as well as the basic concept behind "The Forbidden Scrolls" was born. I've had these characters and their quest stuck kicking around in the back of my head ever since.
So when it came time to write a second book after "The Stairs in the Woods," I kicked around a few ideas. I even started one other book that I ended up getting roughly sixteen-thousand words into before I got stuck.
(I may come back to that idea later, I still like it).
But in reality, there was one story in brain that needed to be told. It needed to be told in an epic format. One book wouldn't be enough to cover all of the content that I'd had the last decade and a half to toy with in the back of my mind. So I decided to write a trilogy.
In the crazy place that is my mind, I initially thought that I knew what the story would be. And while I thought it might be a longer book, I thought that I'd get it all done in one novel and move on.
But then chapter 21 happened, and everything changed. The story exploded, became larger and branched out in a way I wasn't expecting. When you write by the seat of your pants, that happens sometimes. You'll see what I mean soon enough. But that's when I knew with absolute certainty that I was looking at a trilogy of books to complete this story.
But long before you get to chapter 21 in "The Forbidden Scrolls," you'll see the dedication at the front of the book; To the five friends who first entered this story in my head, so many, many years ago. This book was written for them as much as it is for me. To give them the story that the clunky game mechanics I created would not allow. And to let them know that I still miss them all these years later on the opposite side on the continent.
So Bill, Dave, Kris, Neil, and Scott: this book is for you...