Since I started writing these books (and since people found out I was writing them) they ask “Well, what books are you currently reading?” or “Have you read <fillintheblank>?” My answer to them is that I have studiously avoided reading anything in the genre I am writing in since I sat down and started writing. I don’t want any Tolkien or CS Lewis or Lloyd Alexander slipping in unintentionally. I have been reading Star Wars novels (starting with The Truce at Bakura and moving forward chronologically – I still detest everything George Lucas has done with the
altered, re-altered, altered yet again Star Wars universe since Return of the Jedi), various things online (including researching things like how quickly one can string an unstrung bow, what manner of trees would be likely to occur in a Norse style environment, what manner of wildlife and livestock you would find, etc.) and of course, the Bible.
The interesting thing is that I have intentionally gone out and lifted several verses from the Bible and incorporated them directly into my books, and I don’t know if folks have noticed. The Duke speaking to The Baron in Chapter 15 of Book One was a direct quote of Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV), and there are several other places. The Bible has an amazing number of good things to say – I often wonder why people shun it these days.
I long for the opportunity to sit back down and re-read the Lord of the Rings and to read a few books that folks have recommended since I started writing this, but I will be patient. I think that the end product will be worth it (but then, I’m the author). I will say that the mission undertaken in Book Three (yes, as I said previously, it is already outlined before I finish writing Book Two) will be a refreshing new type of adventure that is well outside the range of a typical fantasy book. Oh well, when Book Two is done (hopefully later this summer) I will try to get Book Three’s prologue out there ASAP.