Recent Lee High Grad Publishes Fantasy Novel
Ryan Wilshusen self-published 'Darkest Siege: Book One of the Blade Chronicles' this year as a senior at Robert E. Lee High School.
Ryan Wilshusen began writing stories when he was 10 years old.
Years later, some of them became part of his first novel, which he started during his junior year at Robert E. Lee High School. He only intended to write a short story, but after five pages, he felt as though the story wasn't finished.
"I got to 70 pages and thought, well, that could be an entire book, but that's not long enough to justify being an actual story," Wilshusen said. He continued to add more characters and story lines and ended up with 297 pages by the end of the week.
Now, Wilshusen, a 2012 Lee graduate, has published his novel Darkest Siege, a story set in the late Renaissance period which chronicles the fictional adventures of three young men, Emesos, Ishik and Paolin. The trio finds themselves defending the Kingdoms of Daclynand from an ancient enemy, Vrasta, while facing their own personal battles.
Wilshusen has always been a big fan of fantasy novels and mythical tales, and said he was inspired to begin writing in the genre after reading Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle.
But he credits the ideas for his book to the Twilight series, which angered him enough to write on his own, he said. In the popular fantasy romance novel, a werewolf, Jacob, befriends a human, Bella.
"They had werewolves so misconstrued to me. In my mind, werewolves are something that are venemous, scary," Wilshusen said. "You want to run away from them. That's the way that myths have always played out; they're enemies of humans."
He added that Lord of the Rings also taught him about mistakes to avoid. He thinks the movie became popular because it was one of the first of that genre. Now that hobbits, vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters are more common in mainstream media, people are more interested in characters than scenery or concepts.
"It taught me not to be over-descriptive," Wilshusen said. "People want a cinematic kind of storytelling. They want the back and forth. They want the natural flow of it all."
"Lord of the Rings does not work like that. It has a character die at the very beginning of the movie which you have an attachment to from the first book. It cut off at an awkward point, and it starts at an awkward point."
The male characters in Darkest Siege show emotion and human qualities that Wilshusen thinks is lacking from other fantasy novels.
"My male characters constantly question themselves, they break down and cry, they get angry, they get scared," Wilshusen said. "My characters to me are true heroes because despite being humans with normal emotions and normal flaws, they go through with it anyway to help other people."