Troy Osgood recounts a childhood spent reading high fantasy books and introduces his own foray into the genre with The Taleweaver’s Song.
When it comes to literature, my first love has always been fantasy. I’ve explored works in other genres, but I always find myself drawn back to fantasy. It’s fitting, then, that the fantasy route was where I decided to go for my first book.
Heroic knights, powerful princesses, deadly dragons—I’ve always loved the genre and pretty much everything that goes with it. I never played much Dungeons & Dragons growing up due to not having anyone around with whom I could play, but I devoured the books and the game modules all the same. I created my own worlds. Back in elementary school, we were tasked with writing a book. Mine involved storming a castle. In high school I had notebooks full of stuff that I wrote during study hall (Why study during study hall? There was writing to be done).
I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings early. R. A. Salvatore’s The Crystal Shard was a huge influence on me. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles was a game changer. One Christmas, I received the Siegels’ Tanis: The Shadow Years. I went downstairs and devoured it that day. No toys, no computer games. The book came first.
I’ve been trying to remember what book started it all. It wasn’t The Crystal Shard, Dragonlance Chronicles, or The Hobbit. I want to say that it was a Choose Your Own Adventure-style book from from TSR’s Endless Quest series. I know I read most of them, but Return To Brookmere stands out in my mind as the first, the culprit.
One thing I think that current fantasy books have gotten away from is the sense of fun and adventure. Everything these days has to be some grand epic with huge stakes. The protagonist has to find his or her destiny, which invariably has something to do with saving the world from a terrifying demon or dragon. Some dark wizard seeks a magical maguffin that will give him the power to control the world. An evil warlord and his unstoppable army are about to destroy and conquer everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love those kind of stories and in fact, my favorite series of all time are Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations, both titles epic in scale. But I do feel that there’s a current lack of smaller scale sword and sorcery, classic D&D-style adventure.
When I got the bug to write and finally overcame the fear and writer’s block, I went to my first love. I created a fantasy world, refining ideas I’ve had for years. I didn’t set out to write the next great epic fantasy. That’s just impossible with the way I write. A format similar to that of serial comics is more suited for how I write. I tell stories and they just keep going and going. The Taleweaver’s Song is the result of that. It’s a world that will grow and develop as the stories get written. The first book deals with one little corner, the next book with another corner and so on and so forth. Each book adds to the overall world. To make it even more fun (for readers and myself), it will become a fully functioning pen and paper game environment. Much like the Dungeons & Dragons, readers will be able to live their own adventures in the world of Merelein.
And that is what it is all about, adventure. Books like The Crystal Shard and Dragonlance Chronicles got me to fall in love with all that fantasy could offer. There is so much that can be done, so many worlds to visit. From there I moved on to the larger epics—George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, David Eddings’ Belgariad.
I want The Taleweaver’s Song to be that for young readers. To be a gateway into the world of dragons, swords and sorcery. At the same time, I want it to be something that adults and long-time fantasy fans can enjoy. Read the books, watch the world grow, and live the adventure. Adventure and magic is what fantasy is all about and there’s a lot of it in the world of The Taleweaver’s Song. Enough of it that you could be camping in the woods and the next thing you know, it’s off to a village to save it from rampaging undead skeletons.