If that title didn’t catch your attention, why are we even friends? You know my first novels were historical fiction. Now add the fact that growing up in BC we used to play “Sasquatch Hunters” at recess in the woods behind the school in Mission BC. So I was thrilled to hear about fellow Black Rose Writer David Buzan’s book In the Lair of Legends.
David let’s start with who the heck you are.
I’m a late-to-the-party author who didn’t even begin writing my debut novel until the end of 2020. Although I had started selling short fiction in high school and early into college, I found myself exclusively pursuing screenwriting after graduating from the Vancouver Film School in 1994. It was a wild ride! Fifteen years, three agents, a half-dozen spec scripts, two options…and plenty of heartache. In fact, I had become so disillusioned with the entire process that I found myself walking away from it entirely. I had truly convinced myself that I was a failure, and turned my back on any new creative writing for over a decade.
There was a distinct moment in October of 2020 when everything changed. It was in the midst of the worst wildfire season in Oregon’s history. The sky had been choked with smoke for endless days, and several close friends and family members had to be evacuated from their homes. While this was happening, the whole world was dealing with Covid-19. Being a manager for an essential business, I was working right through the treacherous smoke and the threat of the virus. One afternoon at work, strong emotions totally overwhelmed me. I remember walking outside and staring up at the dark skies. I thought about my writing and was instantly filled with regret.
There’s a moment in ROCKY BALBOA when Rocky explains that his desire to step back into the ring was akin to feeling “something in the basement.” It’s a compunction to return to a past dream and finally prove something to yourself. That’s certainly the way that I felt at that moment. Before I walked back inside that day, I had made the unwavering commitment to start writing again. And so I did.
I did the spec script thing back in the 80s and 90s, and am working on a Johnny Lycan script, so I feel ya about coming back after so long at the day job. What’s your book about?
“In the Lair of Legends” centers around a Native American Civil War veteran who finds himself battling a unit of Army traitors and a legendary monster in a desperate fight for survival. The story itself is a unique genre mishmash: action-adventure/historical fiction/western/horror. It’s got the large-scale stunts of a James Bond picture, wild Schwarzenegger-esque one-liners, and the bone-crunching action of a “Die Hard” film. But at its center is Jolon Winterhawk, an honorable and moral indigenous protagonist whose spiritual journey is every bit as difficult as his physical one. Plus, the book showcases a pair of Sasquatch maneaters!
Shut up at take my money! What are the roots of the story?
As a writer, heroes that are on some sort of redemptive journey always appeal to me. In this instance, there was a man straddling two vastly different ideologies: the Nez Perce tribe he’s fighting to defend, as well as the nation he’s sworn to protect. The dichotomy of that was the fertile soil that Winterhawk grew from. In terms of history, most of us are ignorant of the fact that nearly a quarter-million Native Americans fought during the Civil War. With certain aspects of this story, I wanted to show how they were treated not only on the battlefield by fellow soldiers but also how they were ultimately received after returning home to their tribes. Added to this is the relatively unknown aspects of the Army Balloon Corps during that era, whose last remaining aeronauts are the book’s duplicitous human antagonists.
As for the ravenous monsters, I wanted to reframe the idea of Bigfoot in the imagination of my readers. Growing up in Oregon, you see Sasquatch images everywhere: bumper stickers, candy wrappers, jam bottles, and t-shirts. Bigfoot is very much like our state animal! Of course, he’s always portrayed as some sort of gentle giant. That definitely wasn’t my intent here. With “In the Lair of Legends,” I wanted to make the Sasquatch into a terrifying defender of his forest domain. In this book, Bigfoot is much more reminiscent of “Jaws” than “Harry and the Hendersons.”
Who are the authors you enjoy?
My favorite author is David Morrell. His work (especially the groundbreaking “First Blood”) created entire genres and subgenres in the thriller category. I’m also an avid reader of Stephen King, Tana French, and Matthew Reilly. All are different writers with totally opposite styles. But they each have a unique voice that sets them apart from everyone else.
Where can we learn more about you?
You’ll find me interacting a lot on social media, especially on the platform-formally-known-as-Twitter. I enjoy talking about a myriad of topics with people, especially movies and film score appreciation. There are links to follow me on various social media platforms found on my website: www.davidbuzan.com.
It’s been a while since I plugged my own historical fiction, but just because it’s older work doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. Check out The Count of the Sahara, and the Lucca Le Pou Stories: Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans. Heck, check everything out on my Amazon page.