Wecome to Yawrana-- 3/26/2004
The following article appeared in the Colorado newspaper THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN BULLHORN.
by W. David Work
Local author takes on Tolkien.
It's every closeted writer's fantasy: giving up the nine to five job for a chance to write The Great American Novel or, for the less ambitious, a novel, period.
For most repressed artistes, this scenario always remains a fantasy, as the risk involved in giving up a secure income for the sake of one's dreams usually
makes the aspirant back down before he or she even gets started. Even with a finished manuscript, an assured publisher and a good marketing plan (each an
endeavor unto itself), the chances a novice writer has of producing a seminal work of literature--or even a profitable flavor-of-the-month-- are slim.
Despite overwhelming odds, there are some brave souls who will dare the trials and tribulations of gambling their hard, solitary work on a gauntlet run
betwixt the snares of the modern publishing industry - like Erie resident and fantasy author Scot R. Stone, who has recently published his first novel, The
Chimes of Yawrana: Book 1 of the Snowtear Wars, with Publish America, a print-on-demand publishing house based in Frederick, Maryland. Publish
America can print books as they are ordered without investing in a large press run.
The sword-and-sorcery tale is to be the first in a series of at least five books comprising the Snowtear Wars. Stone says he has completed the second book
and is currently working on the third in the series.
The novel is set in the imaginary kingdom of Yawrana, part of a mythical world wholly imagined by Stone and populated with creatures like bannels, erna
and a mysterious warrior race called the Lazul. A young traveler, Oreus Blake, is sent on a quest to gather a magical herb called the "snowtear" to save the
Queen of Yawrana from death by poisoning. The discovery of the virtues of the snowtears and their seemingly limitless healing and protective power sets off
the war that becomes the basis for the series.
The names, settings and creatures of the Yawrana world are all of Stone's creation - to the point where confusion can result for inattentive readers who miss
the introduction of new species or characters.
"When you're dealing with an entire new world, you're obviously going to have some types of new creatures, if not mostly new types of creatures," Stone
Stone's novel relies on archetypes of myth and fantasy to provide the basis for entry into his world. Though the names and roles of Stone's creatures are
original, some may be familiar to fantasy fans.
"Obviously, the dragul are dragons - then you have other things that are kind of relations to animals on earth," Stone says, "But they have their own little twist
and your just try to build off of that. So you are creating new things, you're just putting different twists on them."
Stone attributes his foundation as a writer to a longtime love of fantasy literature.
"I've been reading fantasy since junior high, when I first picked up a Tolkien book," he says. "I've read fantasy here and there along the way: C.S. Lewis and
Stephen Donaldson and a lot of Stephen King.
"I started writing about five years ago, and it just wasn't working out," Stone explains, saying he abandoned a stream-of-consciousness approach as too
challenging to pull off convincingly. "And then I got married, had a baby and had to get a new house, so life caught up with me at one point, and I just set my
writing aside for a little while."
The turning point for Stone was J.K. Rowling's runaway success with the Harry Potter series.
"Things started settling down again, and lo and behold, the Harry Potter series came out, and I really picked up on and related to Rowling's style of writing,"
Stone developed a similar storyboard approach that resulted in the Snowtear Wars.
Stone's hope is that his stories will equal the gold standard established by authors as influential as J.R.R. Tolkien or Rowling.
"I think people are looking for that series that can take them again to that next level - I really hope that this is the series that will get them there," he says,
acknowledging that his aim is ambitious. "If you want to be the best in the business, you have to compare yourself to the best in the business. Whether it
happens or not is up to the public, but you have to try and emulate what's already been done while still having your own voice."