THE WIND RAIDER NOVEL - PART ONE is FREE!!!!
"While I’m certainly a writer at heart... I have developed that 'marketing sense' to latch on to the spectacle of landsailors and Ki-summoned tornadoes..."
We felt this was the perfect time for all readers of THE WIND RAIDER Book Series to get to know the co-creator DEAN LOFTIS.
I first came in contact with Dean in 2002 and almost immediately we began working on THE WIND RAIDER together.
We lived in different states, but still managed to collaborate through emails and phone calls.
The first novel was published in December, 2013.
So for over ten years Dean and I have been tied together.
And we've come together again for this interview.
Not in person. To this day we still haven’t personally met each other.
FINNEY: What inspired you to create THE WIND RAIDER?
LOFTIS: I wanted to capture or recreate the "epic" feeling I experienced from fantasy/sci fi novels and films I grew up loving, such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and The Road Warrior. One of my favorite epic fantasy book series is the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson, who has talked about how combining the familiar with the exotic helped him spark what became the very expansive Covenant universe. I remember sitting in my dark basement in Kansas City at 4:00 a.m., my “writing time” back then after having had newborn twins and working around a full time job, and somehow coming across an image of people landsailing at dusk across a dry lake bed in Arizona, with an almost haunting full moon in the background. The “exotic” image of the landsailor and that haunting moon “hooked” my imagination and in hours I had created the boy protagonist Josh (who was really me in search of a financially life-changing event, as I still am today) scouring the windswept wasteland for valuable “sky rocks” beneath a haunted, fragmented moon. And I thought wind would be so important in this world, the defining, all-encompassing element. I also mused about some type of religion springing up around the wind.
FINNEY: What were some of the challenges you encountered?
LOFTIS: Creating any new world that is unique and intriguing is challenging. Perhaps the greatest challenge is also to make the world familiar and realistic for the reader. The more fantastical elements you create for a world, the more realistic and believable these elements must be to pull in an audience.
My goal was to create a fictional world where people were realistically struggling to survive in a harsh setting -- Josh was searching for something valuable; Lore was weaving rugs for money; and water was a valuable commodity for everyone fighting for their lives in the desert. What helps readers believe and accept fantastical elements is genuine human emotions and motives. I believe the best way to accomplish this is to create an organically driven world, one that would naturally feature a thriving city of commerce, which would also attract thieves. Familiar and realistic, while at the same time… unique. This is the setting that triggers the action in the main story.
FINNEY: We came from different backgrounds when we first met. You worked in Public Relations and I was a screenwriter and a film producer. Is there anything about your job in Public Relations that helped you developing THE WIND RAIDER?
LOFTIS: Having worked with so many clients and campaigns in advertising – having had to execute many bad ideas forced on me along with some of my own bad ideas -- I think I've developed a fairly reliable filter or instinct for what is a “good idea” in the sense of identifying the elements that would appeal to a certain target audience. I've learned to better apply my marketing sense to my own creativity and works, including the development of the various aspects of The Wind Raider. One example would be while I’m certainly a writer at heart and know ultimately what matters and resonates are the characters, their interactions and themes explored, I have developed that “marketing sense” to latch on to the spectacle of landsailors, Ki-summoned tornadoes, a shattered moon, a city floating in the sky, etc.
FINNEY: THE WIND RAIDER quickly received interest from Hollywood. What was it about the project that made it so attractive?
LOFTIS: From a Hollywood feature film perspective, I think the THE WIND RAIDER is not what they call "high concept." That is, it cannot easily be summed up with a catchy or pithy phrase over lunch, such as "Scientists extract DNA and create living dinosaurs for a Jurassic theme park in which a group of visitors become trapped." Unlike some other writers, perhaps because of my annoying advertising background, I don't criticize Hollywood for this; the very easily pitchable nature of a high concept, the ability for the many players involved in Hollywood to quickly "get" and in turn transmit a concept up the ladder to their superiors is very powerful, from a pragmatic business point of view. There is no more collaborative industry than Hollywood and no industry that risks more money and careers trying to bring to life "good ideas."
I think THE WIND RAIDER has originality and depth, both visually and dramatically. Many high concept ideas make it through the initial Hollywood door, but then die from lack of execution and originality, which means they were "good ideas" to talk about from a birds-eye view, but not compelling in execution.