I haven’t posted anything regarding the rewrite to Black Mask & Pale Rider, because it’s a real slow process and I want to get this one right. But, I thought I’d go into the way back machine and bring back a couple of things that really helped inspire the first part of the original writing.
Believe it or not, this song (and the video) helped begin The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the saga of two elven women who traveled from the Union to the Confederacy and back again.
The story telling technique of some country and western songs, such as some of the songs of Big & Rich, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Juice Newton and others, helped tell the story of Shani and Pania as they met up just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Between Raisin’ Hell and Amazin’ Grace played such a role that the first series of the stories was called Between Raisin’ Hell and Amazin’ Grace. It helped set the tone of a pair of gunslingers who were also adept at magic (as Pania is a bard and sorceress). I even wanted to create a character that was a drunk preacher that followed Shani and Pania around (I might still do that).
In an odd mix, Big & Rich and Nightwish help mould the tales of the elven gunfighters. And they still help at that, as I continue the major rewrite, hoping to add some representation and historical fact (most gunslingers in the mid 1800s were black or Native American).
This is the second biggest influence for the Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider. You might ask, how does a symphonic metal song by a Finnish metal band help inspire a western style book that takes place in the United States. Because the main characters are elves, and Wishmaster, if you listen to the lyrics, speak about the great fantasy lore of the 20th Century.
That being the Dragonlance novels:
“I’ll be with you soon, my Shalafi”
Which anyone who read the Dragonlance series would know, means master/teacher in elven. It also is said to be another name for Raistlin. It also mentions The Inn of Last Home, as in the lyric:
A maiden elf calling with her cunning song
“Meet me at the Inn of Last Home”
Heartborne will find the way
The Inn of Last Home is known in the Forgotten Realms series and within the handbooks and manuals for D&D.
There’s also hints of Lord of the Rings as in the first few lyrics of the song:
A dreamy-eye child staring into night
On a journey to storyteller’s mind
Elbereth is a Valar, or a god in Middle Earth mythology. And Lorien is a magical forest of the elves of Middle Earth.
So yes, a country western song and a symphonic metal song by a Finnish band can have a great deal of inspiration in a western fantasy novel.