As my inaugural post here at Black Gate falls upon a holiday, I asked Howard Andrew Jones what sort of topic might be appropriate. Perhaps a survey of the role of birds in fantasy, or the importance of radical Puritanism in the work of Robert E. Howard, or the secret predatory nature of the common turkey . . . friends, have you ever seen a raised eyebrow sent via email? “Maybe if you just introduce yourself,” he said. A wise man, that Howard.
My name is Scott Oden, and I – like those who have blogged before me – am a writer; my genres of choice are historical fiction set in Antiquity and historical fantasy. I maintain a personal blog and a website. And I will tell you this upfront: I have a serious thing for Orcs . . . Tolkien, non-Tolkien, Greenskins, and even those ridiculous porcine brutes from D&D. One of my hobbies is tracing their evolution through modern media (“research for a book,” I tell myself, in hopes of lending an air of respectability to what amounts to a peculiar obsession).
As far as influences go, I owe a great debt to Robert E. Howard. His grim and vibrant adventures have colored my own work since the day I first put pen to paper; indeed, it’s likely I would never have decided to try my hand a writing if I had not come across Conan of Cimmeria in my older brother’s library. Tolkien, too, ranks high on my list, alongside Harold Lamb. The latter’s Alexander of Macedon, which I read as part of a school project in the 5th grade, directly inspired my second novel, Memnon.
When not writing or reading, I can usually be found gaming – both old school dice-and-paper role-playing games and console video games. I’m sure, as we go forward, little bits of all the things that hold my interest will make their way into my posts, and perhaps even what little wisdom I can muster on the business of writing novels.
So, that’s it from me for now. I wish everyone much happiness and contentment on this Thanksgiving Day!