Reasons for Building the World of El Tor

Statue of El Cid Campeador in Burgos, Spain. (1955) Sculptor: Juan Cristóbal Gonzalez Quesada
(1897 – 1961)

It should be no secret what things have influenced my worldbuilding for Caelon and the surrounding area. Everything that resembles the history of the real world, especially in medieval Spain, as well as Ireland and other European countries, was intentionally used as a model for the world I have been sculpting for the last two years. I wanted to take the backdrop of something familiar so that it would feel welcoming to certain cultures who might one day read my work, but more importantly I wanted, and still want, to achieve a few goals.

For one, I feel very strongly that England-based fantasy has been overdone ever since J. R. R. Tolkien first created Middle Earth and blessed the world with his creation. I’m obviously a fan of his work, as are many of today’s writers and lovers of the fantasy genre. I grew up with it, and am still obsessed with it as I was when I was a child. After visiting Spain back in 2015, however, I became enamored by the rich history of that country, and thought that the world could certainly use more literature using that country as a base.

So I chose to base Caelon on Spain, around the year 1000, right at the start of the time period known as the Reconquista. At the time, the Iberian peninsula was mostly conquered by the Moors, with only a few Christian kingdoms in the northern part of the country. The kingdoms of Castile and León became the focus for my first novel, transforming to Olenos and Vestilla as they entered my world. The way these two kingdoms unite and divide between themselves prior to the country being Christianized, will certainly play a big part in the upcoming conflicts of my novels.

That leads me to my second goal. I want to inject some themes from my life I feel have been important lessons to learn about the dynamics of family. Coming from a large family with an even larger extended family, there are so many things that make for good inspiration for content for a book. I believe that many themes and even characters will resonate with readers who also come from large families such as mine, especially readers in my own family.

While much of the story will contain things that are parallel to events I’ve witnessed in my life, it will also allow me to tell the story through different perspectives, in the hopes that broader sympathy can be achieved for all the people in the books. I believe that while black and white certainly exist in this world, the majority of the color of the hearts of the men and women who live in it is some shade of grey. This will be an important part of my story.

This leads me to my primary goal for the writing of this world. Pictured at the top of the article is the man known to the Spanish speaking world as El Cid. El Cid Campeador, or Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar as he was actually named, fought alongside both Christian kings and Moorish kings, and was a great warrior, eventually creating his own fiefdom in Valencia. He ruled there over both Christians and Moors, and his legacy lies in the epic poem “Cantar de mio Cid.” He is the stuff of legends, and his story will serve as a framework for one of my characters.

That character will be an embodiment of my brother Matthew, who passed away three years ago today. Although I can say with confidence that he is in Heaven, so he is already in a better place, I felt as though on this side of the veil it would be fitting to create a place for him to roam.

Matt was a reader who loved fantasy books, and while some may say it was a mercy that he never had to see the end of Game of Thrones, he still would have loved to see the story carried out. That is why I continue to this day to keep building this world. I have not introduced the character based off of him yet, but I’ve been hard at work at creating the place for him to dwell and carry out his story. I can’t wait for the day I get to finally share all of it with the world.

A year ago, I wrote something similar here. Today, I confirm that my dedication to the task I have set before me still stands, and that unless the forces of nature rise up against me, I will see it to its completion. Even if it takes my whole life to do so, know it will be done.

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