Being a professional historian has taken me in unexpected directions and to even unlikelier places, culminating in this new path as a fiction author. The study of history allowed me to travel overseas to work in dusty archives reading documents from the era of the world wars, to meet people who lived through those years, and to develop broader and deeper understandings of myself and my own time. I’ve always tried to make history interesting, accessible, and relevant to the present. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that viewing the past, and ourselves, through various “perspectacles” is the best way to illuminate the myths and realities of the human condition. Oftentimes these reveal themselves as four universal elements that shape each of us and our histories: possibility, choice, consequences, and change.
These four elements have been vitally powerful in my own life, to both positive and negative effect. As a result, I have both succeeded and failed spectacularly in every area of my life. My priority has been to learn from success and failure equally in order to build increasingly better versions of Me. At times, this is like trying to repair and upgrade a car while it’s in motion--difficult and unwieldy at best, frightening and dangerous at worst. I do my best to keep my eyes on the road, not swerve into oncoming traffic, avoid rubbernecking, not run over myself, or drive into a ditch or over a cliff. That ongoing effort--the sum total of my own choices, their consequences, and the resulting changes--have brought me onto a new road—Krelle’s Inferno.
As the historian Peter N. Stearns so accurately put it, “The past causes the present, and so the future.” My work as a historian focused not only on the history of nations at war, but on the individuals who shaped--and were affected by--that history. My fiction writing seeks similar goals—to separate fact from fiction, connect consequence and choice, challenge notions of inevitability with possibility, and portray one’s ability to rise and recover from seemingly impossible situations. These are the foundations of good storytelling in history, in fiction, and in life. These are also the foundations of a life well lived and realized.
Krelle’s Inferno is not only about illuminating some global lessons of history through a fictional lens; it’s also about showing people that their lives, however local they feel, are part of our larger history. We all can recognize the choices in front of us, weigh their consequences, imagine the possibilities moving forward, and prepare to rise and recover as needed. We then can choose paths forward, whatever the consequences our pasts have given us. Krelle’s Inferno is a story about the interchange of individual lives in a larger world, and of how choices, consequences, possibilities, and change bind them together to make history.
I hope that Krelle’s story will help readers (re)examine their own (hi)stories. With its unique framework of differing perspectives and alternative historical timelines, my wish is for Krelle’s Inferno to inspire readers to better frame their past, navigate their present, choose their future, and appreciate them more deeply via a (hopefully) damned good story.