I’m pleased to welcome Ron Fritsch to the blog today. Ron has written four award-winning novels set at the end of prehistory. Agriculture and settled living in villages and towns were new to the world. Humanity was on the brink of what we call “civilization” and “history.” Learn more about him and his writing at www.promisedvalley.com. He is a director of the Association of Independent Authors. You can also find him on the Goodreads group “Prehistoric Fiction Writers and Readers Campfire” and Facebook.
Why did you decide to write about this particular time period?
I wanted to write a story involving a major human conflict. I wanted it to be “real.” That is, I didn’t want my characters using magic or supernatural powers to solve their problems. On the other hand, I didn’t want to imagine my drama and characters within the constraints of historical fiction. I didn’t want to take sides in a world where it’s Trojans versus Greeks, Roman Catholics versus Protestants, Muslims versus Christians, Europeans versus Native Americans, slaveholders versus abolitionists, etc. I wanted the freedom to create a possible human world of my own imagination. So it came down to prehistory. Having grown up on a Midwestern farm, I decided a conflict between traditional hunters and upstart farmers at the end of prehistory would serve me well.
How did you end up with a quartet of books featuring these characters?
The hunters and farmers both believe their gods promised them the abundant and fertile river valley they fight and die for. This isn’t a one-shot, winner-take-all, good-versus-evil battle. It’s an epic struggle for survival for all the peoples in my Promised Valley series. For the characters among them who truly wish to stop the endless bloodshed and violence, they must first see the world as their enemy sees it. Only then can they make the necessary compromises to achieve a lasting peace. How many of the people in charge of fighting the present era’s wars are willing and able to do that? None? I’d say that’s a good guess.
You obviously thought about your characters a long time. How do you develop rich characterization?
I imagine characters in a situation. For example, in my first book, Promised Valley Rebellion, Blue Sky has grown up knowing his sister, Rose Leaf, for some reason can’t ever hope to marry their mutual best friend, the farmers’ prince, Morning Sun. But then Blue Sky watches his sister and best friend fall in love. How do they—and every other person in the kingdom—get themselves out of that conflict? Leave the doomed lovers to their fate? Overthrow the king and his ridiculous refusal to let Rose Leaf and Morning Sun marry? The characters, given who they are, tell me what they do. They write themselves. They write their story. I’m merely making it accessible to readers.
What do you want people to learn from these books?
Historical humans—those who’ve left a written record—appear to be addicted to fighting horrific wars, some of them genocidal, many of them incited by differences in religious beliefs. I choose to imagine a time and place—it would have to be in prehistory—when humans realize they can get by very nicely without fighting wars. I believe humans have always been intelligent enough to do that. They could still do it now.
How did you get involved in the Association of Independent Authors?
I first connected with the independent publishing world in 2010, when I published my first novel. The Association of Independent Authors seemed to be the only organization representing indie authors. I joined. The founder of the group, Leigh K. Cunningham, a lawyer who was probably overly-impressed by my graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, asked me to become a director. My duties presently consist of keeping the members informed, mostly by way of Facebook and Twitter, of the latest news affecting indie authors. It’s really not difficult to do. And I find it a good way to keep myself informed.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today!