The Mountain Lords series begins with the humble story of Areth Adelbern, in the novel Mountain Knight, the story of a young man who has just finished with active military service, and returns home expecting peace, but instead finds an all too familiar problem. Because of his experiences and the brashness of youth, he seeks a solution others in his family would not.
In the Beginning
I began writing the Mountain Lords series years ago when I was a journalist. At the time, I was assisting with and editing articles written by a good friend of mine about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of young servicemen and women in the U.S. Army and Marines still over there. Inspiration I drew from their stories found its way into the earliest novels I wrote for the series, of which Mountain Knight is one. But as you might guess, the stories, characters, and themes evolved onward. Before that particular time in my journalism career, I had wanted to write fantasy novels — I had yearned for that since I was a kid. I had completed several, all of which failed to get past the rejection stage with traditional publishers — it was the early days yet for my fictional writing career. Rejection did not stop me. Instead, rejection sent me back to learning, and refining my craft and my stories. The Mountain Lords series grew, and those novels already written were refined.
Then, my inspiration was drawn from Robert Howard, another writer of the American Southwest, as well as notable novelists such as Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan. As well as, remaining humble, my own life experiences and journeys. Drawing upon my scars as well as successes and travels, many of my own experiences find their way into the novels, at the least to add heightened realism. In Mountain Knight, for example, the main character faces against a wild bear. In the novel, the incident is a bit more dramatic, but you can be sure that experience is based upon a few of my own. What about cattle drives, like the one in the novel, you ask? Yes, that too.
I did not read Westerns back then (although a year ago I’ve gotten hooked into reading Louis L’Amour), I desired to create a fantasy world that was a mix of what I knew: the American West, and Classic Medieval. That may sound like a rather odd mixture at first, not exactly chocolate and peanut butter … or maybe it is a tasty mix! So what does that look like? Well, it means the usual armored knights and castles we all love, but now with cattle drives and branding, lariats and rodeos, nomadic tee-pee villages of various tribes following vast herds of elk and bison, a sweeping landscape of prairie, desert or towering mountains covered in pine and aspen, and animals and harsh weather that’ll eat the unwary. This is the rich world you will travel through with Areth Adelbern in the Mountain Knight.
Not Your Classic Hero
The main character for Mountain Knight, Areth Adelbern, is not your classic hero. In years past, I taught a class on the Hero’s Journey at university. I love the archetypes and the journey, but I realized that fantasy fiction has … made extensive use of it. Also, the Mountain Lords series is low-fantasy, which prevents some of the more fantastical, magical elements of the Hero’s Journey. So I toned down the Hero’s Journey for the everyday person. Once I knew what that would look like, how an everyday person living a realistic life in a very realistic world might follow a low-fantasy version of the Journey, I had a guide to the story arcs and themes for my novels. Areth follows the Hero’s Journey, though the dilemmas and his mistakes are ones any of us could make if we were in his situation. Hopefully that makes the characters, setting and situations all the more relatable.
Thank you to the Author’s Lounge for reaching out to me and offering this opportunity to share a few words regarding my novel! If you want to learn more about Mountain Knight, or pursue a copy, here’s some links to guide you:
Series on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MountainLords20/
Mountain Knight is also generally available wherever books are sold.