Anthony Huso is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a semi-weekly series where we ask authors to share five facts about their latest books. Huso is the author of The Last Page, the story of a reluctant king whose realm is endangered by the return of his former lover, a witch of great power.
1)The idea for the character of Sena stems from my general dislike of fantasy archetypes. I decided it would be fun and challenging to take an archetype like the hermetic witch, that I assumed almost anyone would recognize, and twist it until, hopefully, it became invisible to readers. The basics of Sena are that she’s a witch with a cat. She also has a cottage in the wilderness and I foisted a broom into her hands with the sentence: Out of habit, she swept the kitchen, ignoring the stains by the door. I often wonder whether people notice this silly little thing and whether I succeeded. These sorts of games inside the overall body of the text are things I do for my own amusement. It’s just fun.
2) Stonehold (minus the mountains) is loosely based on my home state of Minnesota. I think that, subconsciously, the Dunatis Sea is probably Lake Superior.
3) I graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris, which is a very small campus on the edge of the sloughs. They didn’t have an oppressive school motto there, but there’s more than a bit of Morris in the High College of Desdae. For the record, I liked UMM.
4) It’s an absolute fact that I ran an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign back in high school (my Dungeon Master’s Guide bears the late Mr. Gygax’s signature) and that I mapped out a setting that I called the world of Adummim where my players could explore. The region where the campaign took place was called Wardale and it gets a few cursory mentions in the novels. But by the time I wanted to write a novel, my dice were dusty and my rule books were antiques. I left those objects in draws and instead pulled out my hand-drawn maps, of which I have more than a few. I then picked a region that had a name but which I knew nothing about. That place was the Duchy of Stonehold. Novels and games are very different things so I set about fleshing out the Duchy of Stonehold without any regard for game systems. I still talk to the guys I once played with and we have a standing joke that maybe someday, when the kids are gone and we’re all retired, it’ll be Thursday night geriatric old-school D&D.
5) I used to draw more than I do now. I don’t really have a professional eye and my sketches wouldn’t win any awards, but I still doodle. I make rough drawings of some of the monsters and characters in my stories so that I have a better idea of what I’m dealing with. Below, for example is a sketch I did a long time ago as the character of Sena was still forming in my head. Like I said, it won’t win any awards. Her hair’s mighty big…but who knows. Any month now, the Pat Benatar look might be back in style.