The Unintended Authors

By , February 12, 2013

How I got involved in Foreworld. I suppose that I should start by saying that didn’t intend to become an author…

I’ve been a sword-maker for many years now, specializing in medieval european and viking-era swords. Having been raised by an engineer I was always interested not merely in how these swords were made, but why they were made that way and how their intended function affected their design. How they were meant to be used is an essential element of their design, so when and as I could I studied that as well. In the late nineties I got involved with the online sword community and spent a lot of time writing posts, essays and articles about the functional aspects of swords.

After a while people started bugging me to write a book about swords. A couple of publishers hinted that they would be interested in such a book and I vaguely intended to write one some day. Fate intervened when I screwed my back up one spring. I was going to be out of work for at least a week or two, and the only comfortable place for me to spend time was my office chair. I got an icepack, took some ibuprofen and wrote ‘The Medieval Sword in the Modern World and self-published it, first as an ebook and then as a print-on-demand book. It sold quite well for a niche book and continues to do so. It is now in its second edition.

Then I met Neal Stephenson and I was introduced to his intrepid band of sword-play enthusiasts. I was teaching a class on the combative techniques found in Fior dei Battaglia at the time, and when we lost our training space it was only natural that I fell in with Neal’s merry band. When they became interested in a variety of media projects centered around Historic European Martial Arts it was only natural that they would consult me (among many others.)

So I consulted and wound up helping with videos, fight choreography etc. Occasionally I would sit in on brainstorming sessions during the writing of ‘The Mongoliad’ and I generally tried to be helpful. But while I had written a non-fiction book and had sold a short-story or two I was not a ‘real writer’ and was content to leave that to others. Then the call went out for the Foreworld Side-Quests, a series of novellas set in the Foreworld. One of the story ideas intrigued my wife and I and the Foreworld team graciously let us take a crack at it.

So we wrote The Shield Maiden. Over the course of that experience Linda and I learned how to write together without killing each other, and found that we actually enjoyed it. Linda does the research. We brainstorm the story and I do the grunt-work of writing. Then Linda steps in; she is the ‘Amnesty International’ of our efforts, rescuing my tortured sentences and rehabilitating them into something that some one might actually want to read.  With ample assistance from Mark Teppo and our editor it came out in November and has been quite well-received.

We liked writing together so much that we kept at it and have just now finished our first novel, a heroic fantasy called Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman. God-willing-and-the-creek-don’t-rise we’ll be publishing that in late February.




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