I have been developing the fictional setting of my Galahad's Doom stories for years. But My Brother's Keeper is not the first time this setting has appeared in print.
Beating it to publication by a mere three months, is a short story of mine called Wind of Change that appeared in Hero's Best Friend from Seventh Star Press. It is an anthology themed around animal companions.
When I discovered the open call for submissions for this book in February of 2013, I knew immediately which character I would want to use if I could think of a story.
Two of my favorite supporting characters in the novel are a Native American-type warrior and his red-tail hawk companion. And I had been keeping my ear out for open calls that might inspire me to write some ancillary short stories related to my novels.
Clearly, I had the perfect character on which to base my story. But I didn't have an idea. How could I write a story based on Kaja, the hawk, without reducing it to some sort of cartoon with the hawk capable of speech or at internal dialogue?
How could I match the tone of my novel?
More importantly, could I somehow keep a spiritual bent to it that would resonate with the theme of my book?
Months passed and an idea never came. The deadline was June 30. On June 16, it came to me. I wasn't trying to think of it, it just popped in my head. I would tell a prequel story. An origin story of how my Native American-type warrior and his hawk sidekick first met.
Then a couple of other ideas quickly fell into place. This story would be where their bond was explained, where their limited ability to communicate would be explained. And when I realized there was already a ready-made way to introduce the spiritual aspect of things to the world of a hawk, I had my story.
I finished it in two days. It is very short, barely reaching the required minimum of 2000 words. But I am very pleased with how it came out. It hit all the marks I wanted it to hit and I was able to write the hawk story without making him anthropomorphic in any way.
Hero's Best Friend is a thick volume of about twenty stories by various authors, told in various styles. It was published in February 2014 and earned the right to be known as the world debut of the Galahad's Doom setting.
And speaking of hawks, the week my novel was published I had a close encounter with one. I was fortunate enough to have my camera with me. Enjoy!