The History of Tallwood
I was writing ideas for Tallwood while I was writing The Murderer’s Cloth. I feel like I’ve been writing Tallwood for a decade, but I’m pretty sure it was only three or four years. Maybe five.
There are so many characters in Tallwood; so many places, and so many different behaviours to capture. I researched the heck out of alternative weapons (crossbows, mainly) and food sources. Thing is, with my folks living underground and unable to farm or harvest in great quantities, I needed an out. The Verinahl nuts solved that problem for me for the most part.
The food for the monsters became food for my heroes.
The self-made mythology of these later generations, having grown up in the dark and the silence of their cities, was almost a reverse Watership Down. Rabbits became something to be awed with their skills of survival, their burrows, their speed and their silence. The characters of Tallwood are no longer at the top of the food chain and they know it. Even those cotton-tailed little racers fare better ‘up top’.
There were two really tough things about writing the book. One was the mindset. Try living in a post-apocalyptic frame of mind for a few years and your head becomes a weird place to be. I saw things differently. Everyday luxuries became strange dependencies that I wasn’t comfortable with. What if the power went out? What if it didn’t rain? What if a bomb went off? Where would be the best place to flee to? What would I take?
I still have these plans in my head, but for a while there, my friends did think I was a little…strange.
The second thing was banning religion. Tallwood’s apocalypse is a supernatural one and one based on the many faiths out there. The surviving characters and their ancestors simply banned all religious words, symbols and numbers from their vocabulary.
Try swearing or cursing without using Holy shit, Goddamn, Jesus, or For Christ’s sake! It’s tough. There’s a ton of profanity in Tallwood, but none of it is blasphemous 😉
I loved every minute of writing Tallwood and those character’s voices still sometimes speak in my head. I do wonder what they are doing now that it’s over.
‘Luck up top.