My son, Robert, was an avid skier and a very fine one. He was also a reader. There was a time when he was reading the Redwall series by British writer, Brian Jacques, and was deeply involved in the books. Good books they are, and Mr. Jacques, whom I met a couple of times, was quite charming.
Now, I liked the Redwall books, too, but I asked myself this question: Why do so many of our fantasy books lean so heavily on European folk tales? The Grimm Brothers stories and all that are wonderful to be sure, but they are European. Nothing wrong with that, but could there not be fantasy based on—so to speak—the American landscape? Might such a tale be attractive to Robert?
The result was Perloo the Bold. Here we have, ostensibly the Rocky Mountains—snow-covered, of course—along with Montmers, rabbit-like creatures, with very long feet—so they can ski. Then there are the Felbarts, coyote-like villains.
(Where did the name Perloo come from? I have no idea.) There is also the philosophical musings of Mogwat the Magpie, whose teachings include such sayings as, “If you learn to know your enemy before you hate him, you may learn not to have an enemy.” And, “Life is given. The rest one gives oneself.”
And Robert was there to provide technical help on aspects of skiing.
Perloo the Bold is not epic fantasy—nothing to compare to such a work as The Fellowship of the Ring. Indeed, the climactic scene here revolves around a snowball fight. But as sometimes happen when a book is written to give pleasure to one child—which it did—it attracts others—which it did.
It was also fun to write. Not all books are like that.