Born in Culver City, CA; married Lara Wirtz, July, 2003; children: Elowyn (daughter), Dashiell (son). Education: Colorado College, B.A., 1995.
Writer. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Englewood, CO, special events manager. Pikes Peak Writers' Conference, instructor, 2005.
(With Giles Carwyn) Heir of Autumn (fantasy novel), EOS (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of short fantasy stories to anthologies, including Dragonlance Tales II, Cataclysm, edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, TSR (New York, NY), 1992; Dragonlance History of Krynn, edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, TSR (New York, NY), 1994; (with Giles Carwyn), Heroes and Fools, edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, TSR (New York, NY), 1999; (with Giles Carwyn) Twice upon a Time, edited by Denise Little, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1999. Author of unpublished novels Wildmane, The Humanlands, The Threads of Amrin, Angel's Seduction, and, with Giles Carwyn, Pawns of Elacontiera, Finding the Spark, and The Indestructables.
Todd Fahnestock is the author, with collaborator Giles Carwyn, of the 2006 fantasy novel, Heir of Autumn. Set in the peaceable city-state of Ohndarien, the novel is the first in a proposed fantasy trilogy. Ohndarien is a beacon of freedom in an otherwise cruel world. Ruled by the Children of the Season (four women and four men), the city is suddenly put at risk when the so-called Heir of Autumn, Brophy, is forced to run away, accused of murder. In order to clear his name, he ventures to the far-off land of Vastness.
Reviewers responded positively to this debut effort. Jackie Cassada, writing in Library Journal, praised its "rich details and multilayered story." Cassada also called the same work an "an epic saga." A Publishers Weekly contributor called this debut "overly long and predictable," but also noted that "solid characterization helps redeem" the work. Frieda Murray, writing in Booklist, commended the "well-drawn characters in a well-designed world," concluding that this is "another promising fantasy series." Similarly, a reviewer for California Bookwatch called Heir of Autumn a "winner," and "fantasy at its best in epic form."
Fahnestock told CA: "When I was twelve years old, I went over to my friend's house, and they were playing a strange new game called Dungeons and Dragons. From the first moment my imagination plunged into a fantasy world, I was hooked. I didn't want to be anywhere else. In junior high, I picked up the very first Dragonlance trilogy, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Reading that trilogy was probably the beginning of my writing career. Weis and Hickman had taken characters I could have played in Dungeons and Dragons and wrapped them into an unforgettable epic, and they gave me something magical. As an awkward adolescent, I looked to those noble characters as role models. Very soon after, I knew I wanted to create my own role models, characters that could do and say things that I could only dream of. I wanted to create my own worlds.
"Later, I found other authors that spurred me on, such as Orson Scott Card and his fantastic Ender's Game, and Guy Gavriel Kay with Tigana, a sweeping epic so poignant that it made me weep. As I delved into the craft of writing, I looked to these masters for hints at how they took words and made magic.
"Giles and I have crafted a twelve-step process for our collaboration: 1. We get together and brainstorm the novel's broad strokes, from characters to plot to worldbuilding. 2. Giles writes a 1-3 page synopsis of what happens in each chapter. 3. I write the rough draft of the chapter. 4. Giles revises the chapter. 5. I revise his revision. 6. We send the chapter out to our advance readers to get feedback. 7. Giles implements their comments. 8. I check his implementation, make additions or cuts. 9. We do a final polish together where the computer reads the novel back to us aloud. 10. We do another round of revisions and polishing after getting comments back from our editor. 11. We implement copy edits from the publisher. 12. We implement line edits from publisher.
"I think the most surprising thing is how much I continue to learn about writing. Every novel I've produced has been the best novel I could possibly manage, and yet by the time I write the next novel, I look back and can see all of the horrible mistakes I made in the previous one. When I wrote my first novel in high school, I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know about writing. These days, I can only hope that I'll continue to improve as the years roll by.
"My favorite of the novels I've written is probably Wildmane, which is, as yet, unpublished. It's very close to my heart and it sends a message that is important to me.
"I long to do for someone what Weis and Hickman did for me when I was young and searching: I want to craft a story that gives the reader a unique feeling, a thrill that never goes away, a place to visit where they can feel noble, heroic. Those books were like a crutch for me when I was growing up, something I leaned on when I was learning and growing. They were a template for how to be brave, how to make hard choices and live with them, how to try to be something more than I was, even if it was a struggle every day. They helped me to look for magic in the real world, every day, all around me. I would love to create that for someone else. After all, isn't that what fantasy writing is all about? Creating magic in the world?"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2006, Frieda Murray, review of Heir of Autumn, p. 55.
California Bookwatch, May, 2006, review of Heir of Autumn.
Library Journal, January 1, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Heir of Autumn, p. 104.
Publishers Weekly, January 2, 2006, review of Heir of Autumn, p. 40.
HarperCollins Online, http://www.harpercollins.com/ (July 5, 2006), "Todd Fahnestock Biography."
Todd Fahnestock and Giles Carwyn Official Web site, http://www.carwynfahnestock.com (July 5, 2006).