I was heavily influenced by my first attempt at a novel. I started a fantasy novel back in high school, and…. well… it really sucked. It was a plotless, clichéd mess. When I sat down to write this book, I wanted to make something much, much better. I wanted to write something that was pretty much the opposite of that first novel. Also, I read Cyrano De Bergerac, right before I started writing the book. Cyrano’s character reminded me of some important things, namely, what it really means to be a tragic hero. You don’t need a lot of the cliché fantasy trappings to have that cool character. I also read Giacomo Casanova’s memoirs soon after starting this project. That opened my eyes to how interesting an autobiography could be, provided the person telling it has a way with words and has lived a sufficiently adventurous life….