Fezariu’s Epiphany is the first tale in a story that began more than 10 years ago. I’d left school in 1998 and headed straight for college to study History, English and Computing. In my spare time I was most often found on my brother’s Playstation and one day I discovered the landmark Japanese RPG series Final Fantasy when I took a chance and purchased Final Fantasy VII in 1998. It was a life-changing moment. I’d never played anything like Final Fantasy and was immediately hooked by the engaging characters, the epic storylines and the chance to become immersed in a new world.
By 1999 I had completed Final Fantasy VII and was eagerly awaiting the release of Final Fantasy VIII, which would become my favourite game of all time. In the meantime Final Fantasy’s use of gods had introduced me to Norse mythology and, again, I lost myself for months in the legends and when I emerged from the shallows I had decided I wanted to create my own world. I drew a world map of Elenchera and began building the world history. It was a project that would occupy me for the next ten years and being honest it’s still a work in progress now as I’m compiling the epic A-Z of my world.
While writing the history of Elenchera I did manage to write four novels – Endeavour (2000-4), The Anglo-Asininity Chronicle (2004), Amarstrea (2004) and The Voice of Elenchera (2005-6) but none of the manuscripts were up to scratch, the world didn’t feel right and I knew there was lot more work to do. I shelved any ambitions of novel writing until Elenchera felt more complete and it was only in late 2008 that the biggest influence on my writing entered my life – my muse and wife, Donna.
Donna and I were work colleagues when she became the first person to read the history of Elenchera. She was immediately fascinated by Elenchera and within a few months the two of us got together and have been side by side ever since, marrying in April 2010. When I first got to know Donna I revealed that during the world building of Elenchera many ideas had come to mind for novels and one, in particular, was screaming the loudest to be written – Fezariu’s Epiphany.
The original plot for Fezariu’s Epiphany was very different to how it is today. The idea first came to me during the compiling of the history. In the early Shards (ages of history) there is a renowned military institution known as the Merelax Mercenaries and I was enthralled by them but even though I dictated every historical event, the mercenaries were something of bit players rather than central to anything major. I decided a novel about the mercenaries was essential and Fezariu’s Epiphany was simply to be the story of a man named Fezariu who has romantic dreams of the mercenary life only to find the reality is far from what he ever imagined. It was a basic story and I knew it wouldn’t amount to anything special and that changes had to be made.
Discussing ideas with Donna I revealed a short story, A Mother’s Blessing, about an assassin hired for his latest assignment who spends the night before the killing remembering his upbringing with the mother who never had time for him. Suddenly, A Mother’s Blessing became the missing part of Fezariu’s Epiphany though many amendments were still required. As I started writing the novel it became less about the Merelax Mercenaries and more about Fezariu and a difficult childhood he desperately wants to forget and the mercenaries seem like the path to salvation but the past never lets go and Fezariu has to face up to it to be free of it once and for all.
Much of the novel wrote itself once I approached it from a different angle. I’m delighted with how it turned out as well. Elenchera novels are meant to give precedence to the characters rather than the world they inhabit. I want readers to love Elenchera, its societies, its races, its history and its landscape but most of all I want them to adore the characters, love the heroes and heroines, despise the villains and just be content in the company of Elencheran folk. Feedback for Fezariu’s Epiphany suggests I’ve achieved what I set out to do and in my next novel, A World Apart, I will be aiming to focus primarily on characters once more rather than the world of Elenchera though each novel that is written will unlock yet another door in the vast history I have compiled.
Fezariu’s Epiphany took six drafts to complete and I couldn’t have finished it without Donna. She was there when I hadn’t written a single word and I was confident she’d be there when the final draft was completed. Since I started the novel, Donna has become my editor, critic, agent and publicist so the road to publication has not been a lonely one. We chose to self-publish Fezariu’s Epiphany to give ourselves full control of the book but to reach out carefully to readers and reviewers and see how they responded.
Once the book had been published on the likes of Amazon and Lulu.com we set about publicising, beginning with a book trailer which you can view on YouTube or through the main website http://www.elenchera.com After that, it was time to do some blog tours and I’ve been involved in these for many months. They tend to involve either a guest post or an actual interview so are always interesting to take part in. I do love the interviews and it’s only in reading some of them back that I realise how much depth I’ve created in Fezariu’s Epiphany. Discussing the themes, plot twists and characters, it makes me proud to think this narrative came from my mind. That never stops being an overwhelming experience.
The unwavering support of Donna during the publicising of Fezariu’s Epiphany has allowed me the freedom to begin my next novel, A World Apart. This was one is going to be more ambitious than Fezariu’s Epiphany and could be close to eight or even nine hundred pages! Writing this second book I already feel more confident than with my previous one. I’ve learned many valuable lessons along the way and it would be rude not to share a couple of bits of wisdom with you.
First of all, if you don’t have a blog then get one set up. Not only can you blog about any subject you can think of, they’re quick to write and they reach wide audiences instantly. Having a blog can build up a loyal fan base over time and if they enjoy reading your work then what’s to stop them reading your book when it’s published? I also believe blog writing curtails the dangers of writer’s block. Having blogs to write alongside your novels and short stories can help keep your mind fresh with ideas and your writing skills very sharp. Twitter and Facebook are great networks to use to share your blog and your work with many readers. The social networks are also overflowing with writing communities. If you’re a writer that joins Twitter or Facebook for the first time it won’t take long for writers to find you. You can make some great friends along the way as well just as I have, especially on Twitter.
Finally, whatever stage you are at in your writing career it’s vital to have a critic you trust in your life. Donna was the first person I ever met that read my work and pinpointed areas she liked but – crucially – areas she didn’t. Prior to meeting her, friends and family had told me my writing was perfect, no issues whatsoever. I’m a very humble person so I knew they were lying to me and being polite. I know my writing isn’t perfect, I imagine it will always be that way, and it makes me strive to always improve. As Donna read Fezariu’s Epiphany she handed me the manuscript back covered in red pen and cited passages, plotlines and even characters that had no place in the narrative. Rather than be defensive I listened to the feedback. If Donna was finding issues in the book then other readers would as well. It took some time but eventually Donna gave the novel the thumbs up and seeing the response since publication in May 2011 it’s a good thing I did take notice of my wife.
Having a critic you trust will help improve your writing over time. It’s too easy to become protective of your work and dismiss any negative opinions. At the same time it’s okay to want to fight for your work. I would never insist you always listen to your chosen critic but if they do have problems with some of your work then do at least listen and reassess your own viewpoint. You may not change a thing but at least you have considered that there may be weaknesses in your work. Even though she’s my wife, Donna is ruthless with feedback but I honestly feel I’m a better writer today because of it. Without Donna, I would probably be twiddling my thumbs, willing myself to start a novel but never finding the belief and motivation to do it. Having someone believe in you the way Donna does in me makes the writing life a lot easier.
In short, never give up on the writing dream. I’ve fulfilled part of the fantasy by publishing one book but now I want to write and publish more. One day I’ll hopefully be able to write full-time but in the meantime I’ll snatch whatever moments I can to work on my next novel. Hopefully when A World Apart is published many of you will have completed the first phase of your long and incredible journeys. I look forward to catching up with you along the way.
David Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and first conceived the idea of the Elencheran Chronicles at college in 1999. He spent ten years compiling the history of Elenchera, resulting in 47,000+ years of events, 500+ maps, 2000+ pages, several short stories and many much-needed acquaintances with Jack Daniels.
David also has a blog, The World According to Dave (http://blog.elenchera.com), which features reviews, stories and dramatic tales of the horrors of owning cats.
David now lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with his wife, Donna, and their six cats.
Fezariu’s Epiphany is his first novel. David is currently working on his second.