The Long Road

The Long Road

I was first introduced to fantasy literature around the age of ten when my teacher read to the class John White’s, The Tower of Geburah. Up until that point I had little interest in reading anything and no real interest in academics. Yet, a simple story of children being transported to another realm and their resulting adventures made my brain pop. Very quickly after that you would have been hard pressed not to find me with my nose in a book, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Robert E. Howard were among the authors I immersed myself in.

My first attempt at fantasy fiction and spark of interest in anything to do with class assignments was creative writing in sixth grade. It was the first time a teacher noticed my interest in schooling, to this day I have kept some of those early stories, cringe worthy and full of mistakes though they be.

A short while later a neighbourhood kid thought I would be interested in a game he and a couple of his friends played and my introduction to Dungeons and Dragons blew my mind. Days after that introduction to tabletop role-playing games I ran my own adventure for a couple other friends of mine, no rule books or dice, just youthful imagination and a couple scraps of paper. Soon I was regularly playing in two games a week and chomping at the bit for more.

My interest in speculative fiction broadened and soon I had read Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and many more. I also consumed every movie and TV show at the time that had even a slight fantasy or sci-fi theme, though there was not many and most of them were the worst of the B movies.

I also had to deal with the big satanic scare, related to rpgs, and my very Christian parents made sure I would not fall under the sway of evil by taking away all my rpg books and related materials. As adulthood approached I had to find alternate rpg systems that were more in line with my parent’s sensibilities.

In my final years of public school I had an excellent history teacher and developed a deep interest in ancient history, archaeology and anthropology. This had a big impact on my outlook and would influence my own world development in the future.

As an adult I had a very hard time finding a job I was interested in, I did a brief stint in the military and tried university, owned a used book store for a while and then floated from one job to the next. Being self employed was better than working for someone else, I was always drawn to writing. though despite a number of attempts at various points throughout my twenties and thirties I never published more than a few newspaper articles and some rather sad poetry.

While I struggled to find a meaningful adult vocation and had a couple of bad relationships, my interest in rpgs and speculative fiction remained my most persistent interest. Even when my life was falling apart, gaming and developing my fantasy world was always there and the single thing in my life that has provided consistent satisfaction.

So, finally, after many life altering experiences I decided that I needed to write my stories and get them out to a broader audience.

Thank you for your indulgence,

JB Michaels

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