Many of the authors I know like to joke that if the FBI, CIA, NSA, or any other 3-letter federal agency looked at the search results in Internet browser history, they (the writers, that is) would swiftly be hauled away to either a black site for intensive interrogation, or to a mental institution for lengthy observation. That’s because we sci-fi/fantasy writers research the oddest stuff for our work.
Case in point, here’s a partial list of what I pulled up the other night while writing two scenes of the latest chapter I’m working on for This Wasted Land, a young adult dark fantasy I’ll publish later this year:
- “Big Empty,” by Stone Temple Pilots
- Shopping malls and stores of western Africa
- Currency of Ghana
- Symptoms of jaundice
- Popular candy bars from outside the U.S.
- “Go tell Aunt Rhody”
- The correct spelling of SpaghettiOs, Cheetos, and Powerade
- Mossberg shotgun with pistol grip
- Bushmaster AR-15
- How you pronounce “skraeling” (What? You don’t know what a skraeling is?)
- The Beothuk people
- Leif Erikson
- T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (specifically, Part II, “A Game of Chess”)
From that list, you might be forgiven if you suppose that TWL is about Vikings, armed with military weapons, who raid a convenience store in Africa. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I must admit that would make a kick-ass story–maybe some other time. I describe TWL as:
- Boy meets girl
- Boy is abducted by witch
- Girl goes to get him back.
Come back soon, and I’ll have more about This Wasted Land, including some sneak peeks. Next time out, I’ll talk about the music I’m listening to–and is inspiring–TWL.
Kenton Kilgore is forging a new direction in young adult science-fiction and fantasy. His latest work-in-progress is This Wasted Land, a modern-fantasy/horror novel, to be published in 2017.
Kenton is the author of Dragontamer’s Daughters, based on Navajo culture and belief. He also wrote Lost Dogs, the story of a German Shepherd and a Beagle-mix who survive the end of the human world, only to find that their struggles have just begun. With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.
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