September 15, 2015
Whether from movies or books, I have always enjoyed stories about finding hope or redemption, great quests or adventures, and extraordinary things happening to otherwise ordinary people. That’s why, growing up, I devoured movies like the “Indiana Jones” saga, “D.A.R.Y.L.,” “The Secret of Nimh,” “Escape To Witch Mountain,” the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Flight of the Navigator,” “The Hobbit” (animated,) “Teen Wolf,” “Explorers,” “E.T.,” “Weird Science,” and the “Star Wars” trilogy. I even enjoyed some of the mid-to-bottom shelf stuff like “They Live,” “My Science Project,” “Night of the Comet,” “The Beastmaster,” “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” “Dreamscape,” and “The Last Starfighter.” The same was true with TV shows like “The Incredible Hulk,” “Thundercats,” “Greatest American Hero,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” and the short-lived “Misfits of Science.” And, let’s not forget comic-books like “Spider-Man” and the ultimate extraordinary person masquerading as someone ordinary, “Superman.” I also loved to read books like the H.G. Wells novels “The Time Machine, “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” and “War of the Worlds” as well as the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, and Mark Twain’s wonderful adventures with great characters like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
As I got older, I began to appreciate the more adult themes that were woven into some of the things I was already watching and reading and that appreciation helped lead me into movies like “The Green Mile,” “Groundhog Day,” “The Matrix,” “Ladyhawke,” “Alien Nation,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Starman,” “The Stand,” “Big,” “Phenomenon,” “Enemy Mine,” “Powder” and “V.” One of the books, which is not exactly YA Fantasy, that helped me appreciate that, and the fact that you could pull important themes for all ages out of pint-sized characters was Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”. That’s also a book that made me aware of the importance of presenting themes like justice and truth (sounds like “Superman” again, right?) in fiction. Writing fiction is a chance to talk about important issues. As an author, however, it’s important to know when to drop the hammer and when to refrain from being too on the nose or preachy. Plus, the younger characters are more naïve and innocent regarding the world they live in. So, it gives the author a chance to look at a subject with a less clouded vision. Oh, the bliss of clarity that most adults have simply lost…
As an adult, my tastes haven’t changed much. I still love all of the same fiction I did when I was younger. But, I’ve added the recent crop of superhero movies like “The Dark Knight” trilogy to the list. I also love books (and movies based on them) by J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Matheson and Suzanne Collins.
Since that’s my viewing and reading taste, it makes sense that it would also be my writing taste. My debut novel (out now) is called “The Four Corners” and people have compared it to the aforementioned Narnia series and “A Wrinkle In Time” as well as “Bridge To Terabithia” by Katherine Patterson, which I, of course, find very flattering. But, it’s not shocking that I would write something that fits into that category because I love those kinds of stories so much.
I can’t guarantee that everything I ever write will always land in the category of Young Adult Fantasy Fiction (my favorite movie of all time is actually “The Shawshank Redemption”) but I can say with great confidence that most of it will. Since my second novel (currently in the editing phase) is called “The Gift of Tyler” and focuses on a teenaged boy in a small Eastern Washington town who begins developing abilities he can’t explain, I’d say I’m off to a good start. Who knows, maybe twenty or thirty years down the road a new author will write a posting like this one and I, or something I write, can be mentioned among a long list of writers and stories that have touched or inspired him in some way. One can only hope…