So, I had a rather heated discussion with my father about why I should be able to write a fantasy novel. Out of that discussion came my dad’s question: why COULDN’T I write a historical fiction novel? It’s good to stretch my limits, after all! And besides, even historical fiction can have a little fantasy added to it.
Jake is the author of The War Horn, a medieval historical fiction novel. He blogs over at the Teenage Writer. Jake, welcome to Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant!
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love books. I absolutely adore them. Sometimes it borders on weird – when I get new books, I steal furtive glances while I’m doing my school work. It serves as a good motivation to get my school work done!
I also love writing. (Surprise.) I’ve been writing “real” novels for four or five years, and I was penning stories long before that.
I’m living in West Africa. My family and I moved there in November 2011 with a goal of doing business-as-missions: that is, running a business to fund missions, instead of raising support the traditional way. It’s proven to be a challenge, but God has called us here, and He won’t let us down!
My other interests include guitar, maps, ninjas, pirates, and the state of Kansas. And trench-coats.
How exciting! I’m sure adjusting to life in West Africa has been anything but dull. How has living in West Africa impacted your writing?
It’s put things in perspective, as the saying goes. As I realized that certain things were essential to life – such as running water, internet, or even three meals a day – I’m also discovering what’s really essential to writing. Life here is shaving away at my desire to get published, make money, and whatever, and at the same time honing my desire to write meaningful stories that glorify God and further His kingdom.
What first inspired you to write?
Stories. I loved stories long before I grew to love writing. Through writing, I discovered that I could create stories of my own – and have a grand time doing so. My first forays weren’t much more than a handwritten page or two exploring a world I had made up in my head, but that’s how it started.
Where did you get the idea for The War Horn?
Ah, great question! The War Horn’s roots date back more than two years. While I finished the first draft in the summer of 2011, it had been growing in my mind for a long time.
I think it started when I had a discussion with my dad. I was taking the One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) curriculum, which is designed for high school students to write an outline novel in one year. Not only did I resent outlining, I also disliked the fact that OYAN required me to write something other than fantasy, my favorite genre. In fact, it suggested something historical!
That got my imagination going. I imagined a boy, around my age, going on a quest. So what was his goal? Aha! A precious artifact. But hold on, he had to compromise his beliefs in order to get it – he had to steal it. And maybe the artifact was magical. I had no idea why he was searching for this artifact, but in that moment, The War Horn began to form.
It took more than a year – and two failed attempts – before The War Horn would emerge in the form it is now. But I can thank my dad for convincing me to write historical fiction!
I actually just finished reading The War Horn (the review will be coming soon)! So, are there any more books coming down the line?
Depends on what you mean! In publishing terms, I don’t have any plans – at least, not until I get another novel in publishable form. In that case, I’ll be trying to publish traditionally instead of self-publishing, like I did with The War Horn.
However, in terms of writing, I’ve got big plans for this summer. Right now, I’m working on my most ambitious project yet. It’s promising to be the most epic novel I’ve ever written – and this one is through OYAN, too! I can’t release too much about it yet. But here’s a hint: if you browse through my blog, you might be able to find tidbits.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have a novel and most of a second written for a trilogy called the Prophecies. I have my work cut out for me there, as the preliminary writing of the trilogy dates back to 2010 – and the newest stuff isn’t much more than a couple months old! So, I have a wide range of writing quality, and the ending of the second book (as well as the entire third book) has yet to be written.
But, Lord willing, I’ll have some decent books done by the end of 2012!
Jake, thanks for stopping by! Wishing you and your family the best in West Africa and praying for y’all as you carry out the Great Commission!
Be sure to check back in for a review of The War Horn tomorrow.