Hello everyone! I know I have not got to do an Aspiring Author Spotlight in a few months, but man! Do I have a treat for you today!
This summer, my mom, my younger brother Miles, and I were leaving one of our local antique malls (that have the BEST pretzels and cheese EVER), and Miles confessed that he had been writing a story. I was floored! The three of us met later to get a bite to eat and he was eager to tell me about it, although bashful to start at first. We talked about new genres forming, writing long incantations verses short or none for spells in fantasy, and character and setting development on that car ride and at the restaurant and it warmed my heart to see him find an outlet like me. My brother, as snippy and annoying as he is at times, has a heart that wants to nurture and give confidence to others, even if he shields praise and happiness from himself. I think I see him at his most relaxed self when he throws verbal punches at me and we cackle over bad films, do funny voices for our favorite quotes, or go into our own little rant for fandoms that no one gets, but us, sharing a knowing, secret smirk. But I have seen him at his most tender, his most giving, from afar, with others who need it, and that is another true form of him, a piece of his being that is so quietly strong. I wish he saw what power he had, what goals he could achieve and well. For now, if writing is a way for him to unwind or it becomes a passion we share, I will be there every step of the way.
Yes, he’s my little bro-bro that I thought was my toy the first four years of his life. Yes, we fought, yelled, and hurt each other growing up, having contests on who would crack first. There are things I regret doing to him, like not wanting to play with him when I was a teenager, and when I did, he was a teen and I missed those precious moments. I cringe every time I shut the door on him when he wanted to be with me. But, my heart is filled with joy when he calls me “Sissy,” says “Yo, Sis,” or, even yells “Butt face,” (I call him Butt Head or Rhino Tail.) No one gets me like Miles does, and no one ever will. We are the only two people on the planet with the same parents, sharing that life style. I can tell him anything and there are certain things we can only confess to each other. I don’t know when the light switch clicked and we harmonized together so well, but, without a doubt, Miles is my best friend and I would go to the edge of the universe and back for him, any day, any time, no matter the cost.
Love you bro-bro!
OKAY! Enough sap! Now, on to my very special Aspiring Author Spotlight interview with ‘air France,’ the Green Ranger Wanna-Be, Sonic Screwdriver controlling, RWYB obsessing, gaming addict, monkey lover, and now, author to be, my little brother, Miles Straughan! Boo-yah!
Aspiring Authors Spotlight Questions- Miles Straughan
- How does your day start?
My day starts like any other usually. I get up, wash up, make breakfast, and get ready for the day if I’m going out.
- How did writing find its way into your life?
It just kind of stumbled into my life one night like a stray cat. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, my mind drifting to and fro as I started thinking about one of the prop swords I’d gotten to play around with. I pondered what I could do with it as my mind started creating a scene around the sword and I thought, “what kind of person this sword would belong to, what they would be like, what they would look like?” So, I started slowly creating a character around this sword, then I made characters around him. A world around them came next and before I knew it, I had a city full of people with its own culture. I made sure to write it all down so I wouldn’t forget the vivid images.
- What does writing do for you?
Writing does a lot, more than I ever thought it would. I used to think, “Well anybody can type up a bunch of words and make a story. It can’t be that hard.” The whole ‘put enough monkeys with typewriters in a room and they’ll eventually write Shakespeare’ kinda mentality.
I’ve learned now though that’s it’s not just a job for most authors; it’s a passion or driving force that they have that leads them to create fantastical lands or tear-jerking stories. It makes me feel like I can do so much more then I would ever give myself credit for. It’s an avenue to express yourself in ways that you would probably never in your day-to-day life. In a world of high stress, unknown happenings, and rigid guidelines, it’s a breath of fresh air and a rush of exhilarating freedom to make a world as you would want to live in. In short, writing is a very liberating and creative process through which I can make a world I want to care for and nurture.
- What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?
My favorite genres in most media are fantasy and sci-fi. I know, original I’m sure, but I’m a huge nerd and lover of anything fantastical or out-of-this-world at heart. Give me dragons, spaceships, and magic any day!
- Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?
Absolutely! Our lives, whether we want them to be or not, are shaped by the people and events around us. I’m interested in the things that I am because of the people I’ve been around all my life and the events and actions that have happened because of my interaction with them. People are molded by their environments, just as much as our environments are molded by the people in them.
- What are you currently working on or what was the last thing you wrote?
I’m working on several stories right now; I’ll work on something, then have an idea for another thing while working then have to write it down so I don’t forget. Then I start writing on the new idea and get another newer idea from it, so it’s hard for me to just keep all these ideas from flowing onto the pages.
- Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?
Well, as I’ve said, I’m an avid fantasy and sci-fi fan, so I’m working on one of each. The first story I’m working on is a fantasy tale of adventure, self-discovery, and romance about the princess of a strong peaceful kingdom and her stalwart knight. It’s inspired by all the fantasy books I read as a child and the adventure games I loved so much. It’s classical in its portrayal, but I’m hoping it will be unique in its execution and paint a wonderful world for people to explore.
The second story I have in progress is much different. It’s a sci-fi story about a jaded bounty hunter who catches a big score hoping to cash out and finally turn their luck around. Problems arise and they have to take to the stars to find out what’s really going on and hopefully learn that maybe sometimes, it isn’t so bad to have people you can depend on. It’s inspired by many of the sci-fi classics I grew up, but the biggest building block for me was my love for the anime Cowboy Bebop.
- What character is the most fun to write and why?
That’s a tough one. I see a little bit of myself and my loved ones in every character that I write so I’m attached to them all in different ways. If I had to pick though, I’d probably pick the princess of my fantasy story who is the protagonist. I tried to break the mold a little with her; she’s no damsel in distress. She’s a strong, courageous leader who knows how to care for her people and those around her. She’s very spunky and feisty when it comes down to business, which was a lot of fun to write because it gave me plenty of opportunities to write scenes or dialogue that I thought was quite memorable.
- What are your interests or hobbies?
I’m just your average guy most days: I enjoy reading a good book, watching a movie or TV, I play a lot of games in my free time. I try drawing from time to time, but I shouldn’t quit my day job as they say. I love learning new things and researching interesting topics, usually about history, different cultures, scientific discoveries, or the occasional myth or conspiracy.
- If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help the world?
That’s hard to decide. What hero hasn’t Marvel or DC taken yet? People usually say that my greatest talent if you can call it that is that I’m extremely empathetic and understanding to anyone in need. So, I guess my power would be to be able to sense those in distress or in need of someone and be able to help them solve their problem and make their life better. If I did that around the world, I’d like to think the world would be a better place.
- What was it like growing up with Morgan?
I’m sure this is the part she’s dreading the most, but I won’t lambast her to hard this time. In all honesty, there probably isn’t a single bad thing I could say about her now or ten years ago. I’ve been extremely lucky with the family that I have. Throughout my entire life, at every memory, all I can feel is the fondest love and sincerest affection from not only her, but everyone around me. We have our back and forths we say to each other but it’s all in good fun. I’d never say it to her face because she’d never let me live it down but I don’t know what I’d do without her. Even if I lost every friend that I have and was alone, I know I wouldn’t be because I know we’ve always got each other’s backs.
- What is something Morgan has taught you and what have you taught her?
Well, I guess she wouldn’t be a very good teacher if I didn’t learn at least one thing from her! Over the years, I’ve taken from her indomitable spirit and can -do attitude, always trying to better myself, never giving up when things get hard and always putting others before myself. There aren’t very many good role models for anyone anymore, but I can say she’s the best that you could ever find. With how hard she works, she hardly ever takes a break to give herself some rest or time off. I can do little for her, but whether it’s watching a really bad movie and laughing about, or just a phone call, I try and lighten the day and load whenever I can. No matter who you are, everyone needs a good laugh and a friend sometimes.
The Princess and The Knight
By: Miles Straughan
Our story begins in a faraway land ruled by the just King Rembrand, who has brought peace and prosperity to all the lands under his rule. The kings’ fair daughter, Princess Rayelin, was to be wed by the end of the month to ensure the family line’s safety in the king’s growing age. Though she had not found a single man in the entire kingdom that could captivate her heart, truly, this was a task only true love could conquer. Unbeknownst to her, there was a young knight named Darius Arcana, whose family had served the kingdom for generations. He had a secret he had deemed sacrilege for his position in the castle. He was deeply in love with the princess. He greatly admired her strong determination, righteous character, gentle nature, and of course her radiant beauty. Who was he to dream such lofty ideals though? He was just a servant to the king, a lowly knight. Little did he know though that the winds of change were blowing and his luck was about to change.
It was a joyous day in the kingdom of Manus for it was the harvest festival that spelled the changing of the seasons. The castle town was alive with the sounds of raucous laughter and merry music as fools danced around the crowds, cracking smiles on everybody as they passed. But there was someone who was not happy at all during this festive time. The Princess was busy worrying about her impending deadline; she had still not found a single man that interested her in this kingdom. The knights stood laxly around the tent where the nobles were gathered. The only one standing guard was Darius, who had been stationed next to the Princess herself. He was happy to have been given the honor of guarding the Princess, but he could not help but wonder why during such a momentous time she did not smile even once.
Suddenly, the king slams his mug on the table and gives a hearty deep laugh that silences the crowd. “Citizens of Manus, my people, tonight will mark the end of the cold harsh winter and the welcome embrace of the warm life bringing spring! May this be another fine year for the kingdom and all who dwell in it, may it even be a spring time of love for my dear daughter!” The king laughed, rubbing the princesses’ head teasingly as she scoffed at her father’s flamboyant show of affection. “Now ,let us eat, drink, and be merry for tonight is a celebration of another wondrous year and a tribute to our hard work!” The crowd roared with cheers as the people merrily celebrate.
Darius sighed at seeing the princess unmoved by even the kings’ boisterous speech. He tries to relax but cannot shake this uneasy feeling of dread that permeates his mind. Looking up at the beautiful starry night sky, he felt a little more relaxed seeing the bright twinkling lights. “Maybe it’s just my imagination,” he thought.
Snapping out of his wistful trance, Darius heard a rustle in the bushes. Suddenly, a dark shape shot out towards the princess. He reacted quickly, blocking the speeding object, deflecting it into one of the post of the tent.
The king snapped around at the commotion “Boy, what is going on back there?” the king asks as he sees what is a long, jet-black dagger stuck into one of the post.
“I know not milord. It came from the bushes over there.” Darius pointed to the direction the weapon had come from. Before the king could react to it, another glistening blade came sailing through the shadows, accompanied by a battle cry that shattered the once peaceful night air.
Born and raised in a medium-sized town in Missouri, Miles grew up in a loving home where him and his older sister could find their niches in life (within safe reasoning, of coarse), and after watching his sister play a Pony game on the Sega for months, he held his first controller at age four and never turned back! The way of the gamer, science buff, otaku, sci-fi and fantasy nerd, and lover of classic 90’s and 00’s cartoons soon followed, allowing him to find his true self, meet amazing people, and have excellent adventures, without going too far. With a father who is a history professor, a mother who is a nurse, and a grandmother next door to baby him and teach him the lessons of life, Miles encompassed all their lessons to be a ‘boss’ that will take his place to help others soon. At 22, who knows what he has in store for the world?