Local author Wil Radcliffe, who writes young adult fantasy, gains much of his inspiration from his own experiences growing up in northeast Indiana. The scenic forests, lakes and farmland are ingrained into his writing and his own background as an Indiana boy who came up in the midst of our rural surroundings.
He is a graduate of Ball State University’s Telecommunications Department and earned the David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship based on a script and storyboards featuring his original character, the mad goblin scholar Bugbear.
Like many authors who dream of selling a Danielle Steel-like 800 million books, Radcliffe supplements his income with his day job as the creative specialist at Three Rivers Archery, the world’s largest traditional archery supplier. That vocation has worked out well, as he has incorporated archery into his books. It has also enabled him to establish tie-ins with the development of a line of Noggle Stones youth archery products.
An avid fan of comic books, Radcliffe decided to create a hybrid superhero character for his breakout novel, Noggle Stones. Instead of a bombastic entity with a chiseled physique and endowed with superpowers, he created the lovable goblin Bugbear. Bugbear is short and unimposing, and instead of using brute force, spider webs, flying or lightning bolts, this character utilizes his intellect as his secret weapon.
As happens with many artists, plots and characters develop over a long period of time before they’re actually shared with an audience. Radcliffe says that Bugbear was a product of his imagination from his days as a junior high student in Fremont. Over time, Bugbear and his sub-characters evolved from their original conception into more mainstream series-worthy personalities. Influenced by popular adult fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and T.H. White, Radcliffe honed his craft at writing in his genre and also drew for the suspense and drama elements from television shows like Doctor Who, Dark Shadows and The Night Stalker. He also credits Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Monty Python for influencing the humorous aspects of his writing. The books are set in the 1800s, and Radcliffe developed an affinity for that time period as a result of reading about infamous frontier bandit Silas Doty.
Radcliffe’s writings are well thought out, and he has a structured format that carries the plot. “Unity is an important theme in Noggle Stones,” Radcliffe says. “The characters must put aside their differences and learn to work together in order to defeat an ancient, ominous threat which has been reawakened by the uniting of the two worlds. Alliances, apprenticeships and friendships all play an important part in the advancement of the plot as well as the development of the characters.”
Young adult fantasy readers like to identify with the characters by seeing them as well as reading about them, making illustrations an important aspect of the finished product. Originally, Radcliffe shaped the characters by drawing them himself. After deciding to get serious and put out a more professional offering, he made the decision to use professional illustrators. One of the most recognizable contributing artists is Ernie Colo, the primary artist on the Richie Rich comic books for several years.
Noggle Stones Book I – The Goblin’s Apprentice has spawned a sequel, Noggle Stones – The Tragic Empire. As the series celebrates its 10th anniversary, there are both the Noggle Stones Role Playing Game and the Noggle Stones Card Game to add to the fun. The role playing game puts the players in the roles of either mysterious creatures of myth and legend or humble folk of turn-of-the-century America. The Noggle Stones Role Playing Game is available in print and digital download. The Noggle Stones Card Game is a two-player game that pits the Hero Characters against the Shadow Characters in a fun, fast-paced format. You will enjoy the endearing characters Bugbear, Manchester, Maga, Riley and Tudmire as you take a step back in time with the fantastical Noggle Stones Books, Games and licensed Noggle Stones Archery line compliments of our own Fremont, Indiana author, Wil Radcliffe.
Noggle Stones books and games are all available at www.Nogglestones.com, game retailers, comic book stores and, of course, Amazon.
by Patrick Boylen