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Tell Me – Dylan Birtolo

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Dylan Birtolo is a great friend of mine and I have had the privilege of working for him several times. This time, I do have skin in the game. It is my company that will be publishing the Sheynan trilogy. The Kickstarter (5 days left) involved is already funded with extra books coming from Apocalypse Ink Productions. Dylan is here to tell me who his fictional hero is and why.

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We all have heroes when we are growing up – people that we respect, admire, and want to emulate or even become. As you can imagine, I was a very imaginative child and grew up with a lot of science fiction and fantasy, for which I am immensely grateful. Heck, I am told that the first book I “read” was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story I have been told is that I had it read to me so many times that I memorized the words and “read along.” Needless to say, there were a lot of opportunities to find heroes.

The one that rose to the top was Buckaroo Banzai from the cult hit The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Why was he my hero above and beyond all of the other stories I read or watched? I had Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and more to pull from – a very competitive lineup. Quite simply, he did everything. He was a scientist, a race car driver, a neurosurgeon, a martial artist, a rock star, and had his own comic book. He was everything that you could possibly be. I guess when I was a child and my parents said I could be anything I wanted, I took that to mean that I could be EVERYTHING.

With writing, I get a taste of that. For me, writing is a form of wish fulfillment. I get to create worlds and characters that can do anything, where anything is possible. I have the opportunity to write the stories that I want to read. There are characters and worlds in my head that I want to explore, and “what if” questions I want to see the answers to. Writing is a way to do that. Not only that, but it also lets me share those ideas with others.

This is especially true because I write a lot of fantasy. The idea for my first novel, The Shadow Chaser, was born from a very simple wish. I wished that I had the ability to change into an animal. That got my brain going. What if I could? What if I wasn’t the only one? How would it work? What if there were hundreds of people living in this world who can do it, and we just don’t know about them? That was the seed that grew into this novel.

While I may not be able to do everything (although I am making as good a stab at it as I can), being a writer lets me emulate Buckaroo in my own way.

Right now I am in the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to rewrite my first two novels and write the third in the series. I’m excited about this. It is an opportunity to revisit one of the first worlds I created with all of the writing skills and knowledge I have now. I have gotten to the point where, while I am proud of what I have done with my first novels, I cringe a little to read them because I know I am a much better writer now. With this project, I will be able to go back and give this world another turn so I can share it again with people.

Because let’s face it – a world where some people can take on the shape of an animal sounds like a lot of fun.