You Are Here
This is a story about Mythakians— Greek-speaking human villagers living on a fictional representation of the real Ithaki and all the metaphorical ones; creatures created through inspiration, written words, and long coffee-flavored nights. It is a story about Greeks—the Greeks who once lived with hearts pulsing with the deepest emotions (such joys, sorrows, rages, passions), with bodies toughened to shoot and run and love and conceive, with minds sharpened and haunted by life’s most tragic scenes, with spines steeled by centuries of warfare, repression, and revolution. It is a story about Germans, about Italians, about Australians, about Brits. It is a story about farmers, fisherfolk, shepherds, monks, leaders, soldiers, children, killers, lovers. It is about neglectful gods and timeless myths, about a God of miracles and mercy, about a civilization of poverty and pride.
Most of all, The Art of War: a Novel is about my friends, my dreams, my nightmares, my family, my soulmate, and myself. It is an exploration of who I am—and, through me as a sample, an exploration of humanness. It can also work the other way around (usually, of course, it’s both); after researching and writing about other human beings, I discover more about myself. It’s a two-way street that your pen walks you down, whether you plan it or not.
But it’s not that at all—or rather, it’s not all that, only. It’s far more… It begins like that, you see, and then it evolves, like a tree whose soul you’ve planted in the ground in springtime and which by summer begins unfurling branches and dropping fruit from angles you never even knew existed.
That is why sometimes I am hesitant to say: My dear, this character was based after you… but he sort of took a life of his own along the way. He says what he wants, he packs off and goes to war without asking me, he almost gets himself shot in the head like a fool. This being a war novel, you must know, chances of him getting shot are huge. So it isn’t you, you see! Except he is your namesake—or you are his, I always get that mixed up—and his compassion, wit, and rugged good looks are all you. I like to include you in my writing, because you’ve either make a big impression on me as a person, or I simply loved your name and had to use it, or I wanted to feel close to you (on a more intimate note, I like to sketch the faces of the people I love most when I miss them). So as that Elton John song goes, “I don’t have much / but it’s the best I can do / my gift is my song, yea / and this one’s for you…”
This kind of all ties in to the reason I actually began writing. I read a lovely quote once that I really disliked but couldn’t help agreeing with. It went something along the lines of—and I’m paraphrasing here, so forgive—writers are people who shun society in order to speak with and connect to society. It’s a pretty little paradox, but to an extent somehow I think it works. There’s the self-imposed aloneness, of course; but there’s also an imposed loneliness, of a sorts. The latter is mine. It’s as they say; sometimes your choices form your circumstances, and sometimes your circumstances form your choices. When I was still a kid, I moved half-way around the world and was homeschooled in a very rural region of Europe. I had a lot of precious time to spend in the company of my family’s big wheezing computer and my rampant imagination.
I wrote a lot of fantasy when I was little—mostly because I could have things my way. My world, my friends. I could bring all the people I loved and missed so much, talk with them, remember them, imagine their reactions, and invite them in a world that I’d created. No surprise then, how this pattern of attachment and connection continued, even when I was back in a busy-as-a-beehive university surrounded by amazing people I’d also come to love. I decided these people deserve to be written about, too.
A lot of people, when they write fiction, like to disclaim that any and all persons within their books are fictional and any resemblance to any real persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Sometimes, okay, I’ll let it slide. Other times, sorry, but it’s obvious bullshit. That’s a red flag trying to camouflage itself in a jungle. This book is probably inspired by all the people I know but legalities are freaking me out so let’s not say it.
Okay, not everyone in my novel is based on someone. Some characters were just dreamed up along the way, simply because they were needed there. But many were inspired by real people, people like me and you. If you recognize yourself in this book—and you might just catch one name, or one character trait, or one all-too-familiar phrase—just know that you’re in there for a reason. At some point in my life, you’ve touched my heart, and I sought to keep and thank you just so.
The Art of War: a Novel. From me, to you, with love.
You can purchase The Art of War: a Novel via Smashworlds. You can also view trailers for Angela's book, which I'll be linking to below: