Coalville native Derek Siddoway publishes debut eBook
North Summit High School graduate Derek Alan Siddoway had made a dream come true.
The book is the first in Siddoway’s "Teutevar Saga," and features an exiled beggar king named Ravyn Teutevar."
Siddoway, a former Park Record intern who works at Intrepid public relations, said Ravyn Teutevar is tired of hiding and is hunting for his mother’s kidnappers with a renegade leprechaun.
While the book culls many themes from the fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander, Siddoway doesn’t want to categorize "Out of Exile" as a fantasy novel.
"The word ‘fantasy’ conjures a lot of images that aren’t really what the book is about," Siddoway told The Park Record. "I am a big fan of medieval stories, items and video games, and I wanted to write a story about medieval times, but put in some Western undertones and themes."
Although Siddoway isn’t an avid Western reader, he has read a few.
"I’m not a Louis L’Amour buff, but I am a big John Wayne fan, so there are some elements of him in some of the characters I wrote," Siddoway said.
adding that swagger, Siddoway, who recently graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in mass communication and creative writing, thought it would be interesting to create a fictional and magic land that was similar to an American setting.
"I tried to touch on my childhood, growing up in Summit County with the mountains that surrounded me," he said. "Being a fan of the outdoors, I wanted to bring in some natural elements, so there are some references of elk and mule deer, which definitely stand out."
"Out of Exile" even features some elements of American folklore.
"I repurposed a couple of folk songs for the story, and there will be more references in the books to come," he said.
Siddoway knew he needed to create characters that were multi-dimensional in order for his book to work.
"When I write, I insert myself a little into every character, and then I make adjustments," he said. "Ravyn originally started out as a totally different character with a different name, but over a course of nine or 10 years, he has evolved into someone different.
"I knew he was going to grow up in exile and so when he finally got out into the real world, he would come across things that he just doesn’t understand," Siddoway said. "I knew I wanted to make him a character that had no home or country."
Siddoway first connected with Ravyn, because the book was going to be his story from beginning to end.
"Then in high school and college, I started reading the ‘Game of Thrones’ books by George R.R. Martin, before HBO made a TV series out of them," Siddoway said. "I was fascinated by the way he developed his characters, because he has a lot of grey characters, who aren’t good or evil and are neither the protagonists or the antagonists."
That’s when Siddoway realized there were other points of view that he wanted to tell in his books.
"There’s a character named Arund and though he doesn’t really play a big part in this book, you get his backstory," Siddoway explained. "You can be sure he’ll play a bigger part in the following books."
To date, the leprechaun Shamus is Siddoway’s favorite character, which was something he didn’t expect.
"He’s just fun to write," Siddoway said. "His interaction with the other characters remind me when a bunch of my friends and I got together just did crazy stuff."
Right now, "The Teutevar Saga" will consist of five books.
"I have a bullet-item list of things that need to happen in a certain order," Siddoway said. "There are different themes that I want to write about, and to keep the story moving forward, I start each of the sections with a quote from a historical figure."
The author used quotes from a diverse cast including Henry Ford and Harry S. Truman to Greek and Roman generals.
"I looked for quotes that defined these sections," Siddoway said. "It may not make any sense, but it was helpful."
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“One of the underlined themes of these works is my hope that if people see all Black faces in ski gear, conceptually, it will trigger some thoughts so they will feel different the next time they get on the mountain and see a person of color skiing or snowboarding.”