Friday, July 27, 2012
Skip Quimby, the author, comes to his first work of fiction by way of being an award-winning writer, designer and creative director in the advertising agency business for over 30 years. This fantasy for young people was originally written in 1991 at the request of his then 9-year-old daughter.
"Daddy," she said, as she crawled up into my lap, "will you write a story for me?"
"Sure, sweetheart. What should it be about?"
"Well ... it should be about me, and my friends. And it should be like a fairytale, you know, with weird places and creatures, and maybe some monsters."
"Anything else?" I asked, just to make sure I covered all her bases.
"No. I think that's enough."
About three weeks later, my daughter came to me and asked me when the story I was writing for her would be done.
"Oh, you mean that story I said I'd write, but haven't started on yet," I thought to myself. "Soon, sweetheart. Very soon."
Okay, I thought. I'm a writer in the ad business. I write every day about this or that product or place or person. I've been writing ads for 20 years. Short ads. Long ads. Brochures. Television and radio spots. Speeches. This shouldn't take long. She wants herself and her sister and her friends from school to be the characters. No problem. A fantasy setting here. An otherworldly character there. This shouldn't take long. 500 words or so should take care of it.
Six weeks and 27,000 words later, The Sword of Oranam, was done. And what a wonderful, magical experience it was for me. From the first sentence until the words "The End," it was as if the story kept revealing itself to me, page after page, day after day. As Kashy and Hendra searched for the sword, overcoming danger and obstacles along the way, it was like my daughter and I were sharing a real growing up experience for her. At least, it was my imagined version of her growing up experience and I got to be along for the ride.
Now, like I said, I'm in the advertising business. In 1991, I was working on my own as a freelancer, which means if I wasn't working on a project then I was looking for a project. When you're on your own like that, work is good and no work is very, very bad. But I did carve out time for trying to find a literary agent who might represent me and see if this book of mine was worth publishing. As any aspiring author knows, finding an agent and getting published is a heck of a lot harder than writing a book, and not nearly as satisfying. Needless to say, that effort went nowhere and the box full of mailable manuscripts of The Sword of Oranam went into storage.
Amazon.com, perform a search for The Sword of Oranam, and purchase a Kindle-ready copy for $2.99. Or if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can read it for free.
So now, with the help of others who encourage new authors and the power of the internet, I'm promoting my book. And I've started the sequel. Some of the same characters will appear, along with new ones, many of whom will take on a life of their own as I work through the story, and even into a third book in the series. In fact, just for snicks and grins, here's the short prologue to the sequel. It's titled, The Temple of Ruark. I'd love to know what anyone thinks.
The Temple of Ruark
“So, Anichampas -- at last we speak.”
“I am sorry, tall one, I know not who you are. But I am old and forget many things. Did we meet in the past?”
“Oh, no, Anichampas. We have never met, but I have known of you for many, many years. You are the last of many kings who once ruled this land. Lords of the Faithful. Kings of Mamurabbi. The grandfathers of your grandfathers ruled a great civilization and amassed great wealth, only for it all to disappear into the jungle, never to be seen again.”
“It is true. I descend from kings. But that time reaches back beyond memory. Generation upon generation has come and gone. I am the last of the line, and one day soon, the jungle will consume my body as it has everything else from the past. But tell me. Who are you and how do you know of me and my past?”
“My name, Anichampas? Yes, I will tell you my name. For it will mean nothing to you. But you should know the name of he who will learn what you know -- and find what you hide. For you, Anichampas -- you will show it to me. And all that was once yours will be mine.”
“You speak in riddles, strange one. Who are you? What is it you speak of? As you can see, I have nothing. I am a poor, old man who lives in the jungle with his people. We have but what we need that the land provides. I hide nothing, for I have nothing. Why have you brought me here? What do you want?”
“There are many stories from the dark past, Anichampas. Many superstitions and legends and tales of things mysterious and grand. Most have no truth about them, but give old men and children much to share as the campfire dies at night. But a few, Anichampas -- a few are true. Such as the one you know. The legend of the Temple of Ruark.”
"The legend of the treasure? I only know of the old stories. That is all. My people have lived in these lands for more than a thousand years. If there is a temple still and a treasure inside, it is owned by the jungle, strange one. Nothing more. We hunt along the rivers and streams. We harvest from the trees the land provides. We live. We have never seen such a temple. We do not believe it is real.”
“You are wise, Anichampas. And clever. But I am not deceived by your small diversion. I know you will give me what I want. It will be an easy thing for you to do. For if you refuse me, your people will begin to die before your eyes. You will guide me, and you will show me what I wish to see, lest your people suffer at the long, sharp blades of my warriors. Because you see, I know it is real. For I have this -- the golden scepter of your god, Ruark. It has come to me from the temple. It tells me the temple, and its treasure, are real. So do not deny me, Anichampas. I, too, am wise and clever. But unlike you, I thirst for the treasure.
“My name is Prince Al-Atari, the last descendant of Cephus The Great. But I am called The Beast. And I will drink the blood of those who oppose me to quench my thirst for that which is mine.”
Copyright © by 2012 Skip Quimby
You can learn more about me and my career at my website, SkipQuimby.com. If you like, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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