OMG, The time is finally here! After six years of writing and publishing short stories. After glad handing and building relationships throughout the writers community, I will be publishing my first novel, The Gallowglass, on Wednesday, July 10th. It has been a strange and weird voyage from the time I quit teaching full time until now. I will go over that journey another day. Right now, I want to talk about how The Gallowglass came to be.
My formative years were in the 1980s. The decade of the action movie. Commando and Indiana Jones. Escape from New York and Beverly Hills Cop. Terminator and Rambo. If it had a gun in it I wanted to watch it. So I grew up craving action.
When I was a young kid, my mother had to work until 4 or 5 PM. School got out around 2, so I spent the time in between at my grandparents house. If you grew up before the 1990s then you know television was a big part of any kids childhood. I watched a LOT of TV.
During one afternoon I stumbled on a show that would change my life. It was called Matinee at the Bijou. It was a nostalgic mashing of old Warner Bros. Cartoons, old news reels, serial nobody watched and B level films. As an 8 year old I ate that stuff up. I particularly loved the war movie. As time went on I scoured syndicated television for great, old fashioned war movies. Movies like What So Proudly They Hale, and The Buccaneer. It didn’t matter if the good guys were fighting Nazis with machine guns or Brits with flintlocks. I ate it up.
You can imagine how happy I was when Last of the Mohicans came out with Daniel Day Lewis. (And yes, it makes a mockery of the book.) When I saw that movie for the first time and I saw the Native attack on the Brits after the surrender of Ft. William Henry, my mind went into overdrive. I would be fair to say I was obsessed with that film – particularly that battle. I particularly liked it because the good guys (supposedly the British,) lost. I couldn’t remember a film where that happens. (Zulu and Empire Strikes Back were the exceptions.)
At the same time I started working at the Renaissance Faire in Southern California. I joined the Guild of St. Andrews, also known as the Clan MacColin. Now, if you’ve never worked at out faire, please understand we take history seriously. Every group had a required reading list. MacColin’s list had an older book called The Twilight Lords. That book got me fascinated about Tudor Ireland. As I read and learned I came across a story called The Battle of the Yellow Ford. It was very much like the battle I saw in The Last of the Mohicans. Beleaguered English/British troops getting ambushed by Natives who knew the territory better than they did.
And that was it.
Now, I tried to write this book about half a dozen times between 1996 and 2016. I would get 45 pages in and lose interest. Or my computer would die when I was 85 pages in. But the idea always stuck in my head. I wrote a draft of this book back in 2014 that was awful. I made all the rookie mistakes. Then in 2015 I realized after having a couple of short stories published that I had to do a page one re-write. So after throwing myself a pity party I started to re-write the novel from scratch. Later on I added one subplot, then another. I rewrote fight scenes. I added a romantic subplot.
So the book I have uploaded on Amazon has been trying to get out of my head for almost 25 years. It is almost here.
The Gallowglass will be released on Wednesday, July 10th. For pre-order, click the link here.