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  • Jason Eldred

Sehn·sucht

/ˈzānˌzo͝oKHt/

Meaning: yearning; wistful longing.*


This German noun cannot be adequately rendered in English. While it describes a somewhat different experience for each person, if you have ever felt it, then you will understand the word.


For me, it is an awareness of the imperfection of life combined with a mental glimpse of the Utopian. One moment I will be going about my day and the next moment some falling leaf, a wistful strain of music, a breath of crisp air, or a whiff of cinnamon will transport me to a place simultaneously Earth-like yet unearthly in its perfection. I see these places and then they fade, and I find myself Earth-bound once more. The slingshot excursion thrills me and grieves me with its parting, leaving only a remembered detail or two as souvenirs. This can happen at any time, though most frequently during the Autumn and Christmas seasons.


These experiences become inspiration for much of my creative work, and my favorites became founding images for my Bard and Raven books. My world began with pumpkins and a lantern.


* from Google dictionary

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  • Jason Eldred


While I labor each early morning on The Bard and Raven books, I also work five days (or more) a week as a video game designer for Bethesda Game Studios (and previously for companies such as BioWare and Irrational Games). I have been asked, does what I do for my day job bleed over into what I write? Certainly I avoid incorporating similarities to my professional game projects into my books, but is my writing style, for lack of a better term, "video-gamey" (summoning to mind such stories as Ernest Cline's Ready Player One)? I think I can honestly say, not particularly, but the thought processes and attention to detail acquired from my career do impact my writing.

The same childhood ambitions that drove me to my career have driven me to write my novels: to craft unique but believable alternate worlds, to realize memorable characters with unique abilities, and to capture an audience with unforgettable stories. Before becoming a game designer, I might have described super-human characters manipulating objects with their telekinetic minds in little greater detail than if they had been using their hands. Having realized such powers in a game, however, I have spent a disquieting amount of time contemplating the timing, the angles of motion, and how one might be exposing themselves while telekineticly manipulating their opponents. I have choreographed martial arts for motion capture, arranged props to attract attention or to obfuscate, and considered how to employ colors and sounds to build a mood. I have worked with writers to invent the science behind "space magic" and to evolve combat tools into characters with personality.


So while I strive to approach world creation, plot, and characterization from a novel-writer's perspective, I do feel that my game design career has infused my writing with unique perspective, and that The Bard and Raven books are deeper for it.

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  • Jason Eldred


Introducing Saoirse (pronounced SAIR-sha in her native Sídhe tongue), my trusty editorial assistant. Her responsibilities include improvisational editing, translation, and fuzzy logic. She's a proponent of seat-of-the-pants (or at least lap) writing. While my characters tend to be shades of gray, with Saoirse everything is black and white. I've asked her to try to stay out of my way, but she can still be a source of writer's block. At least, when I need to exert my writer's voice, she finds something to chew on.

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