Bryan Young is a convention friend of mine who also does a lot of media tie-in writing. Today, he tells me about tackling an unexpected BattleTech project and everything he had to overcome with it.
I wasn’t supposed to be writing about the Clans in BattleTech. Everything I’d pitched for BattleTech over the last few years had been in wildly different directions. And the few ideas I had involving the Clans, none of them involved the Jade Falcons. That didn’t mean I didn’t like the Clans or the Jade Falcons. I just knew that as a brand-new BattleTech writer, Clans would be the hardest thing to get right.
So when I got my first book assignment to tackle a BattleTech book and was informed it would be Clan Jade Falcon, maybe I panicked a little. I’d really focused a lot of my research on mercenaries, on the Davions, on the Kell Hounds, on the Jihad. I’d only skirted around the Clans. But now I had a tight deadline and a lot of catching up to do.
Honor’s Gauntlet was the end result.
I crammed everything I could and was incredibly grateful for the fact check team to help me through everything else. I’d avoided the Clans to my peril, because I found so much interesting material to work with The Jade Falcons are currently tearing up the Inner Sphere in their march to Terra in hopes of becoming the ilClan and they’re doing it in the most horrific ways possible. But some Jade Falcons stand against the war crimes and I got to tell a story about a Warrior who worked his hardest to thread that needle. How do you serve your clan that has clearly got an unethical bloodlust and still remain true to the actual tenets of honor in combat?
That’s the central question I tried to throw at Archer Pryde, the man who would become the lead character in my book. He’s different than other Jade Falcons and Clan Warriors. He commands with respect for competency and encouragement rather than the fear endemic to the Jade Falcon command structure and he gets results. But the leadership of the Falcons, starting with Malvina Hazen, right at the top, didn’t really like that. And that’s what built the political drama of my story. The big stompy ’Mech action was the easy part.
And now that it’s done, I’m proud of the result. I think I was able to create something unique and interesting in a sprawling universe that sometimes takes a while to get your bearings in. And I had to do it fast, which just goes to show that deadlines spur creativity rather than stifle it.
I hope people enjoy it, but whether they do or not is secondary to the fact that I had a great time and learned a lot doing it.
Bryan Young works across many different media. He worked as a writer and producer of documentary films, which were called "filmmaking gold" by The New York Times. He's also published comic books with Slave Labor Graphics and Image Comics. He's been a regular contributor for the Huffington Post, StarWars.com, Star Wars Insider magazine, SYFY, /Film, and the founder and editor in chief of the geek news and review site Big Shiny Robot! He co-authored Robotech: The Macross Saga RPG in 2019 and in 2020 he wrote a novel in the BattleTech Universe called Honor's Gauntlet.