The Voyage of the Minotaur was actually the second novel that I wrote– sort of. As I mentioned the other day, it was originally the first part of a very long novel– almost 400,00 words, about 850 pages. I was almost done with this book before I even had a working title, but settled on The Steel Dragon, and this of course later became Senta and the Steel Dragon. The three parts were originally called– Expedition, Colony, Dominion.
After the book was done and had gone through editing, I decided that it was just too big and had to be split into three parts. So part one became The Voyage of the Minotaur.
Several things influenced me to devise this story. A friend had encouraged me to self-publish Princess of Amathar, and the success of that book, minor though it was, encouraged me to write a second. Lord of the Rings had just come out and so I was already thinking of a three part fantasy story. I had also just read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and remembered his notes about it being his Lord of the Rings. Finally, I had recently watched James Michener’s Hawaii. Putting this all together with several non-fiction books I had recently read about colonial imperialism (particularly Britain in Africa), I came up with the story outline for Senta and the Steel Dragon.
I wanted a story that told about colonialism over a long period– in this case about ten years. I had thought about how badly native people were treated by the colonial powers and wondered just how much worse it would have been if those natives were an entirely different species. I already had a world map that I had created a few years earlier when I had toyed with the idea of writing a role-playing setting. All of this went into the mix. I also used the setting I had created twenty years before for a few fantasy vignettes I had written– the otherworldly place that people visit when they use the magic drug opthalium. Throwing all this into the mix, I just started writing. It took 14 months to write the drafts for what became three books.