Today I wanted to do something a little different and highlight one of the biggest influences on my work. He’s my best friend, I’ve known him almost my whole life, and he practically lives in my house. Not to mention he’s also rather awesome. This is John Gavan, the idea guy that injected the fearsome darkness into the Ephix Books world.
When I first met John we were probably around 5 years old, living across the street from one another. In a neighborhood full of older kids who didn’t want anything to do with us, we had to stick together. It also helped that we both loved video games, and that’s where our friendship really kicked off.
Growing up, we spent a lot of time playing little pretend games where we were the characters from our favorite video game series. Or the kids of those characters. Or their kids. Soon we had completely original characters of our own, which was great, because this was around the time that I was sure I wanted to be an author when I grew up. In other words, I had a testing ground for all the people and places and things that I had made up for my stories.
It wasn’t just that, though. Because of the way things worked, all those things I made up became tied to the things he made up. One simply could not exist without the other any longer. He was the one who introduced demons, the undead, and other dark influences into the story, and once he had, there was no way my characters could exist without them.
Most importantly, though, John created a character known as Eibmoz. Eibmoz was weird and had an obsession with one of the female characters. In an occult ritual he died, but eventually came back to help the others. As the generations of the story went on, Eibmoz stayed around, getting more and more insane (and hilarious), and orchestrating everything from behind the scenes. This is the one character that’s most inseparable from my work, but he’s also the one that’s most completely John’s creation.
I didn’t see John much for a few years while I was cementing the exact way I wanted these stories to be told, and where to place each character for the best effect. I rearranged just about everything in that time, but his influence is still obvious. These days, in contrast, he’s around all the time, and we’ve taken to sparring with the cool weapons we both collect. My hope is that the next step in working from my friendship with him is to include what I’ve learned about swords in a future book. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see that pretty soon.
Is your writing tied to someone, too?