The Beginning

Posted: February 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Well, I thought it appropriate to talk a little about where the inspiration came from to write The Midnight Defenders.  You know, now that the first book is published and the second is on the way.

I was an English major.  I took classes on mythology, world cultures, fairy tales.  What always amazed me was, in a world without internet, cell phones, printing presses, cameras, television, etc, the themes of these stories across various cultures — although geographically isolated from each other for hundreds of years — all had intersecting points.  Whether you’re looking at Hebrew lore as captured in the Bible, the tales of the Norse gods, Hinduism, or Native American culture, the same elements repeat: a snake and a tree, a global flood, bigfoots, shapeshifters, magic, tricksters, spirits.  And those are just off the top of my head.

Of course, one can assume that due to scientific ignorance, paranoia, or superstition, it was all one big misunderstanding.  Or, perhaps it was more.  Maybe…just maybe…all of the various stories came from one source.  Maybe stories spread along trade routes.  However it happened, maybe monsters were real.  For whatever reason, they just aren’t around anymore.

I always loved the idea of horror movies, but the plots all fell into the same two categories: teens that pissed off someone who comes back for revenge or teens unleashing an ancient evil and having to seal it away again.  Or, if the movie’s a bit more creative, it’s about teens that just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, usually because their car broke down.

Monsters deserve better.  An actual plot to be involved in.  For this reason, I always loved TV’s “Supernatural.”  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, though.  The fact that every monster, from dragons to ghouls, were just humans with a little make-up didn’t really sit right with me.  Again, monsters deserved better.

I came up with the idea for the Midnight Defenders while I was attempting to develop a comic book.  Originally, Swyftt was a superhero — though not the kind to wear tights.  Ape was still Ape, though more of a gorilla, and Nadia was called Red Light.  So much research went into the book that when I began to explain it all to my wife, she abruptly said, “You need to make this a book, not a comic.  This is something I’d want to read.”

So I did.  I had this crazy story developing, this cool, tough-as-nails, take-no-shit protagonist, and I thought, who the hell is going to read this thing?

That’s about the time I discovered Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.  I’d first picked up the short-lived TV series at a Blockbuster (remember those?) and enjoyed it enough to look into the books.  I enjoyed the first book, was engaged by the second, but the third one hooked me.  And I am definitely a fan of Butcher’s.  If someone wants to compare my stuff to his, I’d consider it a compliment.  I don’t know many doing the Urban Fantasy angle as successfully as he, save maybe the Anita Blake stuff, but I was never into the Fifty Shades of erotica.

Although, I will say — and maybe this is just me, maybe nobody else sees it, though I hope they do — the Midnight Defenders has the fantastic element of a Dresden book, but with more of that gritty “Supernatural” tone.  Which fits, because those two have certainly been huge inspirations for my own work, and I’m a nerdy fanboy of both.

Of course, I have many other inspirations. CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, for one.  I was raised my entire life in the church, and while I pull from various legends and mythological cannons, I’ve tried very hard to tie it all back in with the Bible.  Like Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity like I believe in the sun.  Not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.”  That’s what I’ve tried to do with this series.  I’m a Creationist.  So, I wanted to see where myths and monsters might fit into God’s creation.

And the Bible…I’m fascinated by the mysteries that are just casually glossed over: the talking Serpent, the Nephilim, Melchizedek, the Leviathan, Enoch, Methuselah, Joshua stopping the sun.  Source material as good or better than any myth out there.

But if you’re not into the God scene, it’s okay.  You don’t have to believe the same way I do in order to appreciate a good story.  As evidenced by the character of Swyftt, I’m not writing a christian book.  Or at least, not a traditional one.  I’ve never been one to preach.  So please read on with peace of mind.  These books are not a sermon, nor are they intended to be.  The Dark Communion simply begins the story of one man’s life, and tells of his struggles and fears, his friends and his enemies.  I’m writing the kind of story I would be a fan of, in hopes that you’ll become fans of it, too.

Ten books are planned, with at least six or seven short stories interwoven, and the potential is always there for more.  I know this is just the beginning.  And I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

I hope you’ll take the journey with me.

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