Meet Trevor Culley: Just your average man, student, and novelist. Yes, novelist. At 19 years old Trevor can claim the title with his book Archus’s War, an account of a bloody, bitter war and its aftermath in a divided world. This story, akin to the genre that encompasses Red Dawn, is sure to grab the attention of fantasy, sci-fi, and historic fiction enthusiasts.
So how did Culley accomplish publishing a book at such a young age? “I started writing short stories in 7th grade,” he says, “it seemed the more mature option than playing games.” Yeah, I suppose it is more productive than playing World of Warcraft for hours.
This hobby takes time, though. It took a year and a half to write and create the story itself, extending a short work he had his now fiance, Emily Yaruss, read over: “It started as writing a short story, she wanted to read it. As an editor’s daughter she sent it back with a lot of red marks and notations, telling me how it could easily turn into a book. I thought about how cool it would be to publish a book, and spent a year and a half writing another chapter, then another, sending them back and forth with her.”
As most know, there is more to writing a novel than meets the eye. Words don’t always come easily, characters don’t always like to listen, and sometimes brainstorming is more of a brain fart. But Trevor remained inspired by his friends and interests throughout the process. “A lot of the plot devices and settings are completely my own ideas,” he says, “but obviously influenced by things subconsciously, just as every writer. I’m obsessed with world building.”
World building leads to the fantasy-like genre of his book. Since it’s near-future science fiction, it is “constrained by boundaries that do exist on Earth, things need to comply with technology and such now. But in a fantasy setting,” Culley explains, “I can create a place, people, their thoughts and behaviors, and it can all be original to the piece as long as it makes sense for the story.”
Inspired by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien (“a given”), Orson Scott Card (“though I don’t support him as a person”), and Michael Scott (author of the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, not the character on The Office), his reading choices and academic interests influence his work. “History and religion classes have lots of exposure to fantastic stories, both mythological and true (although sometimes harder to believe than the myths). Drawing on mythology, which is where any fantastic idea comes from” he says, is great inspiration for his own stories.
Trevor Culley’s next book, a sequel to Archus’s War, will be out, well, “hopefully before senior year of college,” he laughs. As the good sport he is, Trevor proved during a random questionnaire that, though he is mature in some ways, he does still spend time as a regular goofy teen. When asked if he’d prefer to give up cheese or oral sex for life, he chose cheese, and he has even broken his foot while jumping around drunk. As a history geek, he’ll adamantly repeat “There was definitely a second shooter for JFK.”
You can find Trevor Culley’s book Archus’s War, on Amazon, or, preferably, so he can actually make some cash off his hard work, here, for only $7.80!