For a number of years, authors Nathan Palmer, Jordan Benoit, and Vincent Hobbes knew they were all avid writers but never expected to collaborate to write a novel while working together at a restaurant in The Colony.
“We started talking about a story line that started as a joke and ended up pretty serious,” said Hobbes.
That joke became Legends in Time, a fantasy series combining unique races and a falling empire with political, social, and other real world issues. The books, they explained, contain a modern story set in an ancient world
Part of the reason why they started writing together, said Benoit, a Plano resident, stemmed from their appearance. The three looked somewhat alike, sporting long hair and beards.
“We called ourselves the Barbarian Warlords,” Palmer joked.
The three released their first book in the series, The Contrived Senator, in December 2007. This book, which took a year to write, introduces the reader to the world and the characters, developing the journey the protagonist must make to save his empire.
The second book, Exiles, is set to release late this summer and took only three months to complete. The third book, they hope, will be released this December.
Palmer, Benoit, and Hobbes are working on the third and fourth books. Their fast turnover rate, they said, is because they already know where they want the plot to go, filling in details in between.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Benoit about the complexity of the story.
Although the series started out as all one book, there were too many angles, he said, that they had to cover.
According to Palmer, some of the first pieces he had written will not appear until book five or six. Many good ideas, he said, are often left to “marinate” before they can be used, because they fit into later plotlines.
“Quite often, the story tells itself,” said Hobbes.
The series, which has appealed to readers from middle school up to 95 years old, has been successful outside of the fantasy genre. The success, they said, is from the fast pace and universal themes.
“It really is just a good story, whether you’re into fantasy or not,” said Benoit.
Action, romance, and an intense plot, Hobbes said, make this series enjoyable for all readers. In addition, many fantasy novels are thick and bulky, while each book in the series is just over 200 pages.
“One thing we pride ourselves on is that it’s a book that reads like a movie,” he said. “It gets you from point A to point B.”
To create the story line, the three brainstorm ideas together, often adding something on to the story before passing it on to the next person. Although having three minds work together involves “a lot of compromising,” the end product, according to Benoit, is something everyone is happy with.
“It is truly a writing style of the three of us combined,” said Hobbes.
Many of the characters, creatures, and settings have Latin roots, while Roman and Egyptian themes run through the books. Benoit, who is a history buff, did much of the research. The world they have created, according to Palmer, “is an amazing place.”
“We want to make reading cool again,” he said.
For more information about the series or the authors, visit www.myspace.com/legendsintime, where they have pages for each of the characters.
The comments were made to an assistant district attorney who happens to be Jewish, from New York, and the proud wearer of a full beard. To the district attorney’s secretary, Schildknecht referred to him as a “New York Jew”, a comment she later claimed referred to where he was from and his religion, not his physical appearance. According to the judge, she feels it justified as the district attorney seems to have a completely different perception of the legal process in comparison to what is considered the norm in Texas.
So should she have been publicly admonished for that statement?
Before you make a decision, understand that the commission was also concerned about a marathon court session, where the judge refused to allow any of the participants a formal break to eat, drink or use the restroom. This lasted from 1 pm until 4 am the following day. According to the judge, it was necessary in order to cut down on jail over-crowding. Then there was the time when she refused admission of the same district attorney into her courtroom, telling the bailiff that she did not want to see his face. According to her, it was because he was there after court had adjourned for the day.
If that wasn’t enough, there was also an incident where she told an assistant district attorney that his beard made him look like a Muslim. She then proceeded to tell him that she would not hire him that way. In her defense, this was said during downtime.
According to the commission, this comment along with the other shows a religious or cultural bias, not befitting a Texas judge. Or maybe she just doesn’t like beards? If that’s the case then it is she who is out of place, as beards in Texas are very common. Practically everywhere you turn you are going to find a southern gentleman who has mastered the art of using his beard trimmer and beard balm like Liberty.
For punishment, Schildknecht was publicly admonished for her behavior, and she must spend four hours with a mentor in order to receive lessons on how to conduct herself in court, and not express any bias. Considering that are state is often seen as being openly prejudicial to outside cultures, having a judge behave in this way only hurts the reputation of our judicial system.
Thankfully, this did not occur in Plano but as fellow Texans, we have a vested interest in what law officials and court employees are doing across the state. Had that happened here, the punishment likely would have been more severe.