The Big Idea: Stephen Aryan

As a child, author Stephen Aryan wanted to see people like him in fantasy books, but rarely did. Now that he writes books himself, he made sure to represent his roots in his new novel, The Judas Blossom. Follow along in his Big Idea to see how this first installment of the trilogy came to be.


So, why did I write a historic fantasy book set in Persia? And, have you ever felt like an outsider?

If you’re reading this in America then you may have noticed my surname. Forget what you think you know, as that came from a Frenchman in the 1850s who thought racism was a good idea. Fair warning, his wiki entry is an eye-opener. It actually comes from the term Aryan or Arya, which was used in ancient times as an ethnocultural self-designation by Indo-Iranians.

I was born in Iran, but moved to the UK as a baby, and I’ve lived here my entire life. I’m one of a small but growing community of Geordie-British-Iranians, from in, or around, the city of Newcastle. In the 1980s in England, the racial mix in schools was not what it is today. Add in the fact that I’ve been tall my entire life, and am now well over six feet tall, and it’s fair to say that growing up, I kind of stood out.

So reading fantasy growing up, there wasn’t anyone like me, and yet. Tanis Half-Elven came from two different people and had a foot in each camp. Weis and Hickman also wrote the Rose of the Prophet trilogy in the late 1980s, set in a pseudo-Middle-Eastern setting, with a cast of characters that are all people of colour. Most of the people in Le Guin’s Earthsea books had brown skin. Although there have been many others over the years, these three are my earliest recollections of seeing someone familiar. Now, own voice books are far more common, and there are fantasy series with connections to many different countries around the world.

The Judas Blossom: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s 

Author socials: Twitter|Instagram

Read the complete article at: The Big Idea: Stephen Aryan

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