What is the name of your story in Heroika, and in what setting does it take place?
My story is titled “Night Stalkers” and begins in 772 AD in Eresburg, Saxony. It takes place during the time that Charlemagne was setting out to conquer the Saxons.
Tell us about your story and the underlying theme
The heroic ethos is a huge part of all the stories in this anthology (hence the name, Heroika). In particular, Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters is based on the idea of the snake eaters, a nickname given to Special Forces soldiers. The characters in “Night Stalkers” (the name is taken from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment – Airborne, who conduct stealthy nighttime operations) are a group of hardened warriors trained to fight using small unit, covert tactics to harass and destroy the enemy’s will and operational capabilities. In the story, that means pursuing and slaying the dragons that appear to be the secret weapon of the Saxons.
I took the famous Twelve Peers of Roland and turned them into a hardcore special ops unit, lurking in the shadows and spreading fear rather than charging about on the open field of battle.
Night Stalkers is a story of heroic action, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, and unquestionable loyalty amongst brothers-in-arms.
Do you strive for historical accuracy or sacrifice it to better fit the story?
I believe in the importance of historical accuracy and would never sacrifice just to make something fit. I make adjustments to the story to ensure that everything is historically accurate. Now, in the case of fantasy, I will take some artistic license because that’s what is required. Yet even then I still try to build on what history reveals. For instance, while dragons are a part of myth and fantasy rather than historical fact, I still relied on the lore to help create monsters that reflected those historical ideas.
How much research did you conduct?
I studied the geography of the land where my story takes place, the type of armor and weapons employed, and historical events of that time to ensure my story was an accurate portrayal of the time.
Which is more important: action or dialogue?
It depends on the story. I tend to lean towards action, because I want to immerse the reader in the excitement and danger of the story. The dialogue keeps the story moving and provides insight into the characters and their motives for sure, but in a short story about killing dragons, it seems that action wins out.
Why write about dragons?
They are the representation of the primordial forces in our world. A physical manifestation of the monster that is both powerful and intelligent. To slay a dragon is to prove one’s ability to face down any challenge in life.
Plus, let’s face it, heroes battling dragons is just awesome.