I was fifteen, maybe sixteen years old. It was an early release day at school, my sophomore year in high school, and my English teacher evidently didn't feel like teaching the class. Or she had papers to grade, I don't know. So she put on a movie. Where I went to school we had 2 hour periods, so it was ample time.
The movie she put on? Ocean's Twelve. Or Eleven, or Thirteen, I don't remember. One of the Ocean's movies, lol.
Thus began my love for this kind of fiction - whether on the big screen, or in a book. It's not an OBSESSIVE love, mind you... I'm not like an Ocean's diehard fangirl. But heist fiction, the name given to the type of story that movies like the Ocean's series, Money Heist on Netflix, and books like The Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch, is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable thing to get into for me.
Maybe it was a result of subliminal connotation; around the time of midterms as it was, it was a welcome thing for me to go to school and be able to watch an enjoyable movie for 2 hours during one of my periods. I also remember it being a Friday - the weekend was just around the corner. It was raining, a sleepy sort of afternoon. It was nice - and thus, maybe as a result of that, it made the movie I watched even more nice. Either way, to this day, heist fiction is a super fun thing for me to get into. Even Aladdin in some ways can be considered a heist fiction kind of story, albeit in a way more endearing to children, and Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies.
So it's no surprise that very shortly into the writing of my first novel, Sins of Greed, I watched Ocean's Eight with my wife on the Fire Stick, and I experienced a staggering dose of inspiring ideas. As any artist knows, when this happens, you've got to stop whatever you're doing and get to work. So, seemingly right after the movie finished, I sat down at the computer and I began work on my second novel.
The Eye of Yeme.
I would work on this for the next 1-2 weeks, firmly putting on hold my debut novel, to allow me to get my inspiration on paper far enough so as not to lose the bright colors and noises that inspiration often appears to be.
The idea was a simple one: heist fiction, following the format of movies like the Ocean's series, with their grandiose schemes and plots and heists, centered around a group of ultra-skilled thieves, masters of their craft, each with a specific skill set that could contribute to the overall success of the mission. Except mine, much like Aladdin, would be centered in my favored setting for any kind of fiction: fantasy.
Also much like Aladdin, it would take place in the desert world of Yemeatis, a nation introduced in my debut novel, part of the same world - called Olvion - in which Sins of Greed takes place. I envisioned it to be an extremely casual and entertaining piece of fiction, complete with humor and mission mess-ups, followed by ultra smooth solutions mid-heist. Thoroughly fun to read and delve in to, much like, to me, the Ocean's movies are to watch. A stark contrast to the epic piece of fantasy drama that Sins of Greed and it's series, A Tale of Two Fools, would be... yet still taking place in the same world. To me it was genius, and perfect, and I couldn't have been more excited.
This story, however, has evolved into a monster I almost cannot control as I write it. Of the 30 planned chapters of Book One, I've just started 29. Editing is to follow, along with audiobook recording and book cover artwork, so hopefully soon this will be ready for your reading pleasures. Anyway, I couldn't be happier with the result.
While I like to believe that the novel still maintains much of it's initial planned casual charm, there's just been so much more dynamic that has sprouted out of this story as if it has a life of its own. I seem to veer towards fiction of the dramatic type - stories with content that move you emotionally - so a nice chunk of this has been added on top of the casual undertones prevalent throughout the book. There are world-ending, people-crushing, apocalyptic pieces of plot in this novel, and yet somehow, in this world of fiction, it falls on a band of CRIMINALS to stop them. To fix, to save, by STEALING.
I don't know, but it's great! The band of thieves are called The Sand Rogues, and they are the best of the best at what they do. They are led by the enigmatic thief Shaye, a fantasy Danny Ocean. One of my favorite things to write, and surely what will be my favorite thing to read, in this novel and series has been the dynamic of the familial relationship between all of The Sand Rogues, of which there are seven. It, to me, is so relatable.
I'm very proud of this piece of work, and I can't wait to release it to the world! Stay tuned!