I was a fairly dense kid while growing up. I wasn’t stupid. I easily managed A’s and B’s throughout school. I just wasn’t very aware of anything outside of my own immediate interests. I wasn’t aspiring to anything. I just ducked my head, hoping I’d make it to the next day, and missed out on lots of pop culture as a result. When my brother got me my first adult novel for Christmas when I was fourteen, I didn’t even notice that it was the last book in a series.
“Star Wars: X-wing: The Bacta War” ignited my love for space opera and fantasy. I felt like I could have been Corran Horn in another life. I loved the starfighter combat and Corran’s green X-Wing, my favorite color. The characters jumped off the page and the final battle screamed classic “Star Wars”. I became obsessed with the movies, went back and read the first three books of the X-Wing series, then consumed the rest of the Bantam line of novels, starting with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy.
The character of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a genius tactician who develops his strategies by studying his target culture’s art, widened my horizons. Zahn got me to look beyond my own shell for the first time in my life at the actions and reactions of others, which helped me to anticipate and avoid or counter bullies during junior high. Without Thrawn, I would not have thought to fake an injury and feign crying after one bully pushed me to the ground at a Boy Scout camp. He rushed toward me, apologizing, afraid I would get him in trouble with our troop leader. When he got near enough, I launched a kick into his chest and was able to walk away from the scuffle, using my walking stick (read: converted Ninja Turtle bo staff) as a deterrent against any further attacks. I ended up sacrificing that walking stick, for he and his friends stole it from my tent when I was away, but they never shoved me again. Thrawn had given me the ability to fight back.
My love of Star Wars evolved into a love of books and movies that had an adventurous, empowering spirit. In college, this wider interest got me into filmmaking, so I wrote a script for a Star Wars fan film and tried to turn it into a movie. The film fell through, but the experience led me into a career that I’d wanted to do for years, but had not yet consciously realized before this point.
I wanted to tell stories.
You see, I thought I had to choose something more pragmatic as a career since writing wasn’t a real job. So I got a degree in Mass Communications, believing that editing footage for television or movies was the most practical thing that would still let me tell stories. But that wasn’t good enough because they weren’t my stories.
So I set out on my own and on Christmas Eve just last year I released “The Lightforce Rebellion”. It’s a young adult fantasy about a 14-year-old kid who ran away from a bully not unlike the one who bullied me at that Boy Scout camp. He finds himself trapped in an alternate world and with the help of friends becomes able to take on an even bigger bully. It is also a story of how his actions empower a girl his age trapped within a web of that bully’s lies to choose and fight for her own destiny.
Because my brother got me “The Bacta War” and because of the domino effect it produced, I’m a much different person than I would have been.
Now I am a storyteller. And this novel is a story that I hope kids who are like my pre-teen self will find as exciting and empowering as I found Grand Admiral Thrawn and Corran Horn.
Chris (www.stormherald.com), as he is known to his friends, was raised in Kansas and is deeply fascinated by history, philosophy, and how the development of our culture has affected our notions of fatherhood and growing up. He currently lives in Vancouver, WA in a third-floor apartment along with his Star Wars novel collection. He is also suffering from a horrible Minecraft addiction. Send an intervention team, please.
His book, The Lightforce Rebellion is available from Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. You can learn more about it at: http://www.stormherald.com/books/the-lightforce-rebellion/