Hey there! It's Joseph. It's been a while since I've posted no the blog, but as many of you know I've been exceedingly busy releasing Dangerous Faces Vol. 1, not to mention writing Volume 2. But I'm here to introduce the work of another author, Derek Alan Siddoway, whose own book series, the Teutevar Saga, introduces the medieval western genre--a mashup between high fantasy and western. Like Dangerous Faces, the Teutevar Saga, pulls from no single source of inspiration, and Derek's here to tell us a bit about it. Take it away, Derek!
A college friend once told me I was an enigma. I’m still not sure if he meant it as a compliment or not, but as a person, it’s probably true — I’m definitely a strange mix of interests. I grew up on a small farm/ranch in northern Utah where I played football and ran track in high school. I also devoured fantasy books like they were candy and could quote John Wayne movies, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars like they were gospel. I played video games like Knights of the Old Republic, Dungeon Siege, Morrowind and Age of Empires, to name a few. In college, I passed through a range of majors before settling down into Mass Communication — before that I wanted to be an archaeologist, an architect and an athletic director. The one thing I’ve always returned to, however, is author.
With such a range of interests, you can imagine that my writing might be all over the place and you’d be right. In college, I wrote about nonprofits, college football, softball and ski resorts. Before that, I cut my teeth (almost literally, as a wee lad) on Pokemon fan fiction. Soon after, the first draft of what would become Out of Exile started in a five-subject notebook (I’ve still got it by the way). Back then, I’d just finished reading Eragon and was out to prove to myself and the world that I could write a better story than Christopher Paolini and his heinous mashup of Star Wars and Lords of the Rings.
Out of Exile moved forward line by awkward line from the old five-subject to a legal pad until I graduated high school. Fingers flying on my new Dell laptop, I started to transcribe that awful manuscript into a Word doc.
Throughout the next four years, Out of Exile continued grow and change, molded by experience and handfuls of creative writing classes. I’d write and rewrite the first third over and over, never moving toward the finish line. Finally, in my last semester, I made myself a goal: come hell or high water, I was going to finish that book, no matter how twisted and broken the plot was.
Back then, Out of Exile was a straight-up epic fantasy: vanilla world with a chosen hero — nothing new or special. But what happened next changed the Teutevar Saga forever. I read a book called Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling.
Dies the Fire is set in a post apocalyptic western United States where technology (guns, electricity, combustion engines, you name it) doesn’t work. The result is a crazy-awesome world where cowboys run around with machetes, Native Americans go back to their nomadic roots and armored knights fight battles on Idaho plains. Dies the Fire and subsequent books planted the seed of a possibility I’d never thought of before: what if I were to take a medieval fantasy world and give it a western spin?
The result was a sub-genre I coined as medieval western — a mashup of gritty American Westerns themes, folklore, flora, fauna and mythology paired with epic fantasy in a Dark Ages time period. The easiest way I’ve can explain it is John Wayne meets Game of Thrones — a western spin on what is traditionally a genre filled with European landscapes, dialects and motifs. If you’ve chanced upon Red Country by Joe Abercrombie or The Red Knight by Miles Cameron, you’ll know what I mean.
Revising Out of Exile and the sequel, Return to Shadow, opened up a whole new world of possibilities for my writing goals and, like the world of Peldrin, I’m still growing and evolving with every new tale. Even better, I’m able to embrace my full range experiences and interests into a series of books you won’t find from anyone else.
Want to get a taste of medieval western? Grab the second book in Teutevar Saga, Return to Shadow, for free today!
Also, sign up for my author newsletter and get another book on the house! (http://derekalansiddoway.com/newsletter)
Derek Alan Siddoway