Weekend Novelist

imageSource: The Red River Sun, Lifestyles & Entertainment section, page 8A. July 20, 2016.

The following article entitled “Colson publishes masterpiece” appeared on page 8A of the Lifestyles & Entertainment section of The Red River Sun on July 20, 2016.

WELLINGTON — Lonnie Colson never set out to become an author let alone a writer of fantasy horror. His first love has always been medieval history, and no period captivates him more than fifteenth-century England. As a kid growing up in Wellington, his only outlet was dueling friends with trashcan lids and cane poles in his back yard and watching Arthurian movies such as Knights of the Round Table, Sword of the Valiant, and Excalibur. One day while leafing through newspapers in search of a debate topic for Gay McAlister’s high school English class, he came across a small article highlighting the life of “modern-day knights” who would joust at Renaissance festivals in far-off California. That small story planted a seed that grew into a lifetime fascination with knights and armor.

Colson went on to graduate in 1990 from Wellington High School, and he received his Bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University four years later. In 2002 he moved to Chicago, Illinois, in order to start a career in the transportation industry. The job allowed him to travel the world in search of castles and ruins that he would otherwise never had an opportunity to explore. Over the past 15 years he has visited some of the greatest collections of medieval arms and armor in England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and even here in the United States.

In his spare time Lonnie enjoys studying historical European martial arts. After relocating back to Texas, he bought a horse and built a tiltyard behind his house where he practices riding with lance, sword, and spear. For the past few years he has been competing in the mounted skill-at-arms events at Tournament of the Phoenix in San Diego. He has also given a number of educational demonstrations to groups ranging from kindergarten classes to high school cooperatives and children’s homes. Most recently he commissioned a suit of tournament-grade armor with every intention of one day using it in an international jousting competition.

Colson also loves to read. He primarily enjoys historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell, but he does occasionally pick up a modern-day thriller like The Da Vinci Code. Ironically he is not normally a fan of fantasy or horror as he often loses interest (Continued on page 17A)

when the author does not convince him the story is real. Colson has always wanted to read an account of the "Wars of the Roses" written like Mark Bowden recounted "Operation Gothic Serpent" in "Black Hawk Down." But, with no survivors to interview, few academics are able to faithfully describe a medieval battle because they have never felt the weight of armor or seen the world through the narrow slit of a lowered visor. It was with that lofty goal that made Colson decide to take up a pen and begin writing his novel tentatively titled "Men of Armes."

Then, as so often is the case, a funny thing happened along the way. While doing tons more research than actual writing, he simply got bored and decided to take a break. It occurred to him that it might be fun to describe a battle scene between a few men-at-arms and a horde of zombies. The next thing he knew, he had close to a hundred pages, and the story just kept pouring out. "The Second Great Mortality" was born. Set in Medieval England and written in the style of a historical fiction novel, his novel offers an interesting twist to the zombie genre. It should be noted that the word "zombie" is a relatively modern addition to the English language - having been borrowed from Haitian folklore sometime in the nineteenth century - and would have been as foreign to the medieval man as the word "zipper." For that reason he employs several more period terms for everyone’s favorite undead nemesis.

Colson is regularly asked questions about concepts such as writing style and story development. Although he has heard that many professional authors start with an outline and slowly flesh it out, he prefers to let the story unfold like the scenes of a movie playing out in his head. It took him the better part of a year to complete the final draft but the actual writing time was probably only a few months. There were days that he could barely type fast enough to keep up with the story as it evolved, and there were weeks that would sometimes go by with little or no inspiration. He plans to one day finish his original novel about the Wars of the Roses.

Colson currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three children.

Subtext under photo: Courtesy photo for The Sun. “The Second Great Mortality” is Lonnie Colson’s first novel to be published. He will be in Wellington signing copies of his book at the Collingsworth County Museum on Friday, July 22, from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. It is also available to order in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as in digital download for Kindle, iBooks, and Nook. He is always eager to hear what his fellow zombie aficionados think of the story.

Note: Some paragraphs were combined to save space on this page.

Armoured Jousting
It has been a childhood dream of mine to compete in a historical jousting tournament. I was finally given the opportunity to break my first lance at Lysts on the Lake 2019.
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Mounted Skills at Arms
Hunting was considered better training for war than jousting. The skill-at-arms competition is a way to demonstrate those abilities.
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Fighting in Armour on Foot
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Traditional Hunting
For a member of the knightly class in the fifteenth century, hunting was far more than a simple hobby or pleasurable pastime--it was the very essence of life.
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Art of Maille-Making
Making maille, or chainmail, is like crocheting. But for men. And with steel.
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