So, you've made it this far, have you? It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
As a reward, I present to you five new ways to immerse yourself within this novel. Some of it is insightful, other aspects of it is meant to make you laugh and smile. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be eager to explore the book if you haven't already, or take a moment to read through it once again knowing what you do now.
“No, no, no! No, not know. No, no way I would use know as in to know. No gnome would know knowing from Gnowing. Gnomes knowing Gnowing, now that makes sense. Knowing Gnowing will become a tradition. But no, knowing knowing, that’s just ridiculous. Gnomes knowing knowing, no. Gnomes knowing Gnowing, yes.” - Gonomaly
Say Hello - The Cast of Mystical Alliance
“We can change our fate if we desire to.”
“Humans live short, fast paced lives and are quick to lead themselves to danger and possible death due to these erratic ideas like what has drawn you out of your homeland.”
“I do not want to be a damsel in distress needing to be rescued by someone. This is not a fairy tale. There may not be a happily ever after.”
“Oh! Stories? I love stories, I have dozens of them. I can’t confirm most of them since I wasn’t there and a lot of them involve things like… And no one survived. Yet, if no one survived, who was around to tell the story afterwards?”
Gnome Map Maker
“Fate and destiny may have chosen for us to be there at a given time or be involved in a specific thing, but it was up to us to decide what to do once we got there.”
“You yourself have no power. You are little more than words, a manipulator of minds. The only reason you had power is because people allowed you to have such strength. Without those to listen to you, to follow your guidance, you… are… NOTHING!”
“A few travelers staying at my inn said that they had heard of a man whose cousin of a wise woman said she knew of someone who did something like that. That much I’m certain of.” - Vernon
“How wonderful! I was so hoping that you would show up. Now then, where to begin… How exactly does it feel to be the wondering souls of the dead? Don’t be shy…” – Gregory
It began with a map.
I remember drawing a crude map with six points representing the various realms. I wanted all the elements of what I loved about sword and sorcery fantasy. Wizards, warriors, elves, dwarves, minotaurs, and gnomes. I was greatly inspired by the Dragonlance series concerning minotaurs and gnomes. Both were heavily influenced by my reading of that series.
Once I had a map, I thought about where the story would take place. The most innocent and safest being Gnowing, so I started there.
Originally Benjamin was written in first person, another "I" voice as was Joshua in Tapestry of the Second Born. I wanted to move away from that so edited it to fit third person narrative.
Initially I would write a flashback scene, whichever one came to mind, and then wrote a chapter in present day. Then a new flashback and another chapter. The battle of the human castle was actually the first "past" scene I wrote. After finishing the book, I reorganized them to fit with the present day narrative.
For the most part I just followed that crude map I had came up with. I didn't know where the story was going to take me until I got there.
Concept Art for Cover
Concept Art For Cover
I wrote Mystical Alliance before the Lord of the Rings movies first came out. I hadn't read the books and was only aware of elements of it such as watching the old cartoon, the Hobbit. Did I know that there was going to be an army of ghosts in that story? No... Did I realize that my book had something similar? Sometimes great minds think alike and it was a coincidence.
Another element I didn't plan for was the symbolism of Christian faith. Benjamin allows himself to be sacrificed to stop a great evil. He absorbs all this evil in the world and then dies to protect those he loves from this threat. Then he's brought back to life? Does that sound like the Jesus narrative? Yeah... Again, coincidence in that I didn't realize that there was a parallel there until after I had finished writing the book.
There was a sequel that I attempted to write shortly after finishing this one. It involved an island with humanoid animals like cat people. It involved the core group of heroes from the first book. Beastial Alliance never took off and I eventually gave up on it. However, One day I may return to that project and try again.
Originally it was going to be Benjamin and Gertrude represented on the front cover but I changed it to Fera since they started the story together.
“I shall answer the one question that despite every effort you have made to find the answer to, the answer has always been just beyond your grasp. This is the question filling every gnome’s mind throughout history. The one question that will be the key to unlocking every other curiosity and in time unraveling every mystery ever to be discovered. The answer to this question is… Yes.” – Gonomaly
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
Thinking Man's Name
Brian, the farmer's son, is named after the word "brain", since Gnomes love using their minds to create new ideas.
Originally Gertrude was going to go by "Gears" throughout most of the novel until her true name is finally revealed. A wink at this concept is in her introduction.
Father Knows Best
Gertrude's appearance and magnification goggles were greatly inspired by Belle's father from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Xenex is modeled after Merlin from Disney's Sword in the Stone, which is why he wears a blue robe.
The Minotaur culture was greatly inspired by the Dragonlance series, Feudal Japan, Native American Cultures, and Klingons from Star Trek.
This and That
Gregory's statement of "Stuff, Junk, and Things" is something I said when I was a child, a story my father loved to tell. When I left a room, this stuff stays here, throw away that junk, and take these things with me.
Rock, Paper, Wait...
Many of the dwarven names are based off objects like an axe or chisel, while others have to do with rocks, stones, boulders.
I drew my inspiration for the goblin culture, their appearance, and general behavior from Magic: The Gathering concepts.
King William, founder of the Mystical Alliance, is named after William Thatcher from the movie: A Knight's Tale.
And now... My Favorite.
On page 66, Gertrude mentions ways of telling time. One theory was using "clicks, cycles, phases, and rotations" which "would relate to traveling beyond the stars." This is how time is referred to in the Sunfire Chronicles. This is a subtle reference to how these books all interconnect in small ways creating the Mattiverse.
“Changing the path of a single person, by giving them hope when they feel lost and helpless, even that minor change can affect the world. For every light that is kindled within one’s heart, that illumination further pushes back the crushing darkness that lurks on the horizon. With each new hope given life, the darkness that once ruled fades away to nothing.” – William