IDYLL is the end result of a long strange trip that started in February of 2006. Since then, I’ve married, had two kids, began and released another novel, took a writing hiatus, and went through a short-story phase.
Before all that, IDYLL started with an image in my head of two horseman in a big woolly field surrounded by mountains. I knew that I was having was a sci-fi daydream, but the riders were dressed like Stone Age hunters, replete with slings and polished spears. How did they get to this desolate place? Why were they carrying prehistoric weaponry? Why were they riding alone?
With these questions in mind I formed the backbone of a big story. These future riders were dressed like prehistoric hunters because they believed that cavemen live purer, more ‘human’ lives than spacemen. (Ah, that old cavemen versus astronauts debate lives on!) They were alone because their world had been ravaged by a plague. And yes, in early drafts, that plague was of the zombie variety. They were riding to a towering spaceship, which was stuck like a thumb emerging from the ancient landscape. A retro-ancient quest to find a technological cure for an apocalyptic disease. That was the start of the premise anyway.
Over ten years, lot of the important details changed. Very early on I saw the movie I Capture the Castle. Then I read the book by Dodie Smith. That’s when I knew that my two lonesome brothers were going to meet two isolated sisters. An extra complication. To make my book more relatable, or possibly more marketable, I decided to shift from a Stone Age setting to a Western. (After all, if you lived in the future, and you turn back the clock to live in any time period, would you choose to live in an era before plumbing, before beer, before some form of dentistry?)
Making the book possibly less marketable (but hopefully less cliched) I got rid of the zombie idea.
This manuscript has been through seven significant overhauls. Most of those ,thankfully, were not start-to-finish rewrites. Usually a quarter or halfway through my new status quo I would realize that it was seriously flawed in some way, and would have to start over. The final manuscript of IDYLL was titled ‘7th Round5f.’ But hey, who’s counting?!
But finally it’s ready (I hope). A nearly-ten-year process coming to a close, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And there’s a whole new vista beyond. IDYLL is the first in a trilogy, after all.
The journey ends. The journey continues…