Vassar Resident Pens Fantasy World Novels--by Megan Decker, Vassar Pioneer Times
VASSAR--After several years of typing manuscripts, David Steele began publishing volumes in the "Sexton Chronicles" last year.
Steele, originally from Kalamazoo, began writing his first Sexton manuscript as a student at Eureka College in Illinois.
"My fraternity brothers got used to the sound of my typewriter at all hours of the day and night," Steele said. "It was a cheap electric typewriter and for some reason I still don't understand, the 'g' stopped working. It became a great exercise--writing without a 'g'.
"The first novel sat ignored for more than 20 years," Steele went on to say. "When I looked at it after that time, I decided it should stay buried. The idea for the series remained, however, and I wrote Sexton a couple of years ago."
During his college years, Steele became inspired to write his manuscripts after meeting with authors Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Clive Cussler.
"Inspiration came by accident," Steele said. "The stories I wrote at the time were set in a world called Sexton, but I had a habit of including images and thoughts for the characters that had a distinctly American tint. Clive (Cussler) pointed that out several times, usually by drawing a thick black line through the text I had just written. Finally, in exasperation, I created characters who came from America to the world of Sexton. I liked the freedom it allowed me as a writer and Clive enjoyed the storyline.
"All three of those authors told me I could write. I'm very grateful for their encouragement," Steele added.
Although Steele's inspiration for the Sexton Chronicles came much later in life, his passion for writing began as a young boy, he said.
"I've always been interested in writing," Steele said. "I wrote my first short story in third grade and I've been writing ever since.
"I like to write for the same reason I like to read: to see what happens next. I like to go for a ride and I don't enjoy it if I know every twist and turn of the road."
Steele was first introduced to the Vassar community when he worked as an executive for the Boy Scouts. He swerved the local area from 1988-1991.
"I loved Vassar from the first time I saw it," Steele said. "The people I met were great; I like the look and feel of the town and the proximity to Saginaw and Flint."
Steele's wife Tanya is originally from Vassar and currently teaches at the high school. The two met while serving as camp staff. The Steeles lived in Chicago, Wisconsin and Ohio before moving back to Vassar in 2005. It was at that time that Steele decided to focus on his writing career.
"I got ill in 2005 and decided to leave the Boy Scouts to pursue a writing career. It seemed only fair and natural to move back to Tanya's hometown," Steele said. "I'm glad we did. I love it here."
Steele describes the Sexton Chronicles as fantasies. The novels feature three Americans in a world of swords and sorcery.
"My favorite feedback comes from people who don't read fantasy," Steele said. "They like the novels because they can identify easily with the American characters.
"I enjoy writing about American characters in a medieval world. One of them invents fried chicken, donuts, and gunpowder, for example. Their perspective is very different from the perspectives of the other characters, which works both for and against them."
Steele published five novels in 2010: Sexton, Sexton Spice, Storm Clouds Over Sexton, Green Goblin, which is a true story of Steele's illness and recovery from Wernicke's Disease, and Just for Fun: A Little Sexton and Some Other Stuff.
The novels may be purchased from several online retailers including amazon.com, Barnes and Noble's website at www.bn.com, or (and the author prefers this) in paperback or hardcover from www.lulu.com/spotlight/Misticuf The costs are approximately $20 for the paperback and hard-cover editions, and range from $2.99 to $6.99 for Kindle, Nook, and other electronic editions.
"I published Sexton, the first in the series in July 2010," Steele said. "Self-publishing wasn't an easy decision, but I decided I had waited long enough. The economy has hit traditional publishing hard.
"I decided not to wait for the economy to improve before doing something with my books. My wife, a great source of encouragement and always my biggest fan, strongly suggested I do something with my work. I had a stack nearly two feet high and completed drafts of three novels. It was time."
Steele hopes to finish writing the fourth novel in the Sexton Chronicles series, Sexton Sand, in coming weeks. He also has plans to launch a second series about an American wizard named Nick Galizzi. This series will also tie in closely with the Sexton Chronicles, he said.
To learn more about Steele's latest works, individuals may visit his online blog at www.sextonchronicles.blogspot.com