Would it be too self-serving to say that the story of The Chronicles of Landon Wicker is what inspired me to pursue writing The Chronicles of Landon Wicker?
I started writing it on a whim. I was still in graduate school at Northwestern University at the time (studying marketing) and had taken to young adult fiction as an entertaining reprieve from the statistics and research papers I was forced to read for my studies. And this next part might sound cliché, but I had a dream. As I sat on the couch the day after that slumbering vision, I remember watching TV but not really paying any attention to the show. The story of Landon Wicker, this kid I had visions of, was so vivid in my mind and so intriguing to me. That dream replayed over and over again in my mind all day–through classes, while eating, as I tuned out friends during conversation–and in that moment on my couch, there was nothing else for me to do but turn off the television and write it down. It seemed like the only way to get the story out of my head. That dream became chapter one of The Search for Artemis.
Since that moment, though, my thoughts and dreams have been wholeheartedly consumed by Landon Wicker and his adventures. I had a dream, literally, and that dream has propelled my mind into an entirely new world that I seem to live and breath in. I have my Landon Wicker goggles on, and it skews my reality. I can remember sitting in graduate classes concerned more with what would happen next in Landon’s journey as opposed to acing my upcoming exam. I remember walking the streets of Chicago and just watching the people around me sparked ideas and scenes in what quickly became an outline for an entire book series. By the time I graduated, I had written multiple chapters, had built a world of characters and had a plot that would sustain at least four books, multiple novellas, a collection of short stories, and a graphic novel prequel.
But I think the world of Landon Wicker and what influences it truly all stem from a childhood absorbed in adventure and fantasy. I was an avid reader as a child, which is pretty unique for a boy, and I always found myself engrossed in some new adventure story, comic book superhero tale, mystery or fantasy. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia, Sherlock Holmes or The Hobbit. As I grew up, I went on to be particularly fond of stories that delved into the heart of human nature, like The Picture of Dorian Grey, Crime and Punishment and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or classic tales of epic heroes and myths, like The Once and Future King and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
I can also remember playing superhero in my backyard with my brother and some of the neighborhood kids. Everyone would say they wanted to fly or have super strength or read people’s minds, and my response was always, I want to have telekinesis, like Jean Grey from X-Men or the Jedi using the Force from Star Wars, because then I could do everything my friends wanted, and more. I always considered myself the clever one, and with an older brother, I’m naturally über competitive. It was actually those days in the yard, climbing up trees and playing pretend, that translated into the abilities discovered in The Chronicles of Landon Wicker. The science, the limits of their psychokinetics’ abilities and the technology stem as direct lines from odd questions and musing I had while sitting in class during high school and daydreaming. And the mythology? That inspiration originates more so from a personal passion for the subject which has inadvertently snuck its way into my writing.
The Chronicles of Landon Wicker is personal. It’s my labor of love and my guilty pleasure. Landon Wicker gets to do everything I dreamed of. All the things I wished for and imagined as a kid I finally get to experience in his world. The psychokinetic abilities, the espionage, Landon’s journey—they’re extracted from a childhood of reading fantasies, playing pretend and watching cartoons. The Chronicles of Landon Wicker is an amalgamation of dreams, questions, musings and fantasies I had from the cradle through college, and I hope readers find it as entertaining and exciting to read as I find it to write every day.