Growing up, my first iteration of dragon worship was in my love of dinosaurs. I loved them all. I memorized them all. I even had a behind the scenes tour at the Natural History Museum in Chicago because of my passion for it. I wanted to be a Paleontologist. Not just because of the cool creatures, but because it was about new amazing worlds hidden beneath my feet.
I was raised to love exploring the natural world around me. But the potential of the world always stirred my imagination. Where I played in the yard was a vast inland ocean teeming with Prehistoric life millions of years ago. I used to dig up fossils of ancient coral beds and sea floor critters during recess at school. The fact that I could look at fragments of other worlds and envision what they were once like was simply astonishing and it drove my mind to new heights.
I like to imagine that this early fascination helped to prepare me for my future of writing. There are certainly hints of it in Rise of Tears as Durn points out fragments of a fallen world to paint pictures of it in the present. But I think more than just that, Paleontology helped to teach my mind to look at creatures as more than just individuals but as entire ecosystems dependent and interconnected. In studying past ecosystems, many times you have to fill in the blanks not with concrete evidence, but with assumptions based on our understanding of the natural relationships and niches in the natural world. I do that when creating worlds.
I carry that understanding along when I build worlds. I do not just create a creature to fit in the world, I build the web of relationships of the environment around it. I understand why it is, and how it fits. And that helps me to make it more real. It not only has a place in the story, it fits its place in the world as well.
If anyone is looking for examples of extreme worlds and extreme stretches of evolution, I strongly suggest looking into our own world's history. Dinosaurs are only a small sliver of the diversity. From Pre-dinosaur proto-mammals to the ages of ocean giants, or the abundance of the massive mammals during recent ice ages, there is a vast array of options to draw inspiration. I know I did.
And with that glimpse into my past, I hope you find bits of it in my writing. Perhaps you will remember young Brand hunting fossils as you explore the High Plains in Tears of Hatsunae or ride the waves of Nix.
Thank you for you interest. I would love to hear more about what you would like to hear from me in this blog. Are there questions you have? Things you want to know about me?