Many people have asked me how I came up with the ideas I write about. I suppose you have caught me in a moment where my response isn’t a touch snarky and tongue-in-cheek.
Before I touch on exactly where my stories came from, I suppose a little background is appropriate.
I grew up a child who enjoyed reading the tales of J.R.R. Tolkien and was dismayed that there were few other choices at the time. I did read a bit of Isaac Asimov, and dabbled in the Sci Fi realm that others were creating. Admittedly with my engineering background, you’d think that I would have gravitated toward that genre for my writing, but I didn’t.
I enjoyed the surreal escapism that a traditional Fantasy genre provided, but admittedly the thing that bothered me with the worlds created by some of the later Fantasy writers was the magic systems they employed. Even Tolkien’s magic system was never really explained in any technical sense aside from it being an innate ability and left it at that. I will admit to having fallen in love with explainable magic systems, two examples I would give are ones created by Dave Farland (RuneLords) and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn). Both of those are in my opinion excellent examples of magic systems that have innate explanations associated with them that I highly appreciated.
With my writing, and the magic system I created, I did attempt to have defined rules and explanations evolve surrounding magic’s use. I will leave it to the reader to let me know how I did (especially as book 2 dives much deeper into the intricacies of magic and its relationship with the world around it.) Book 1 (HEIRS OF PROPHECY) gives a somewhat unique perspective as an otherwise modern family is tossed into a world where magic exists, and their experience with magic is one which the reader can hopefully easily relate to.
Back to where the stories came from….
I used to tell my children a tale on a regular basis about a family that closely resembled our own. It was a yarn born out of the fevered dreams of the author, and in truth, I’d always envisioned the beginning of book 1, and I knew where it ended, but the details in the middle where a bit muddled. As I told my children the tale, details evolved and erupted spontaneously from my imagination. I’ll admit that after a period of time, I decided to start outlining the tale just so I could organize my thoughts for future story-time sessions.
Once I realized that I had something along the lines of 30 pages of outline material the thought of writing it out seemed daunting, but I was curious to know if I could do it. I also realized that the details I had could spin into many different directions, leaving lots of opportunities for spin-offs and parallel stories in the same lands. That can’t be a bad thing, right? :-)
My background isn’t in writing, even though I have written several technical books, none of these were in the, “Creative writing” category. The audience for my prior books, all of which are deeply technical in nature, are used in universities or technology companies around the world. The thought of writing something creative was not daunting due to its size of work – I am very used to work. I was a bit intimidated and unsure if my writing style and imagination was up to par with the requirements for the new audience I was looking to entertain.
Needless to say, when I got a Kirkus review on the first book, and they said “Rothman’s language and description are precise and well-tuned to an adolescent readership” I was quite pleased at least with having not totally embarrassed myself.
Lots of people have started to give me feedback that they enjoyed or are enjoying the first book, and I love hearing all of the feedback. Oddly enough, I personally think the second book is that much better than the first book, so I can’t wait for everyone to read it. I’ve been told by several very successful authors (successful = millions of books sold) that you almost always like your most recent book more than your prior books largely due to having learned more about your craft and your writing. Your storytelling also evolves and gets better with time. You folks will have to tell me what you think once you get your hands on the books. Hopefully, I too am evolving, and this Father’s Tale of Magic and Adventure is one that you all enjoy.