Toby’s Update – November 2018

Although my notes date the conception of Altir Ealaisian, the Grey Mountain, back to 2014, that universe was alive in my mind well before then. For as long as I can remember I have read and written stories, encouraged by family, friends and teachers who understand me well.

When I was still very young, a lovely old lady who lived across the street from us would always give me a pen for my birthday. A gift for the writer, she would say. One year she coupled it with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; a story I still revel in when I read or watch a televised adaption during the holiday season. To her I should be forever grateful, and I realise how much with every word, sentence and paragraph I write.

As a kid I enjoyed cartoons, especially about knights and heroes, like Dungeons & Dragons, or Prince Valiant, but also M.A.S.K., Transformers and Dragonball Z.  The countless hours I spent watching and rewatching staples of both science fiction and fantasy, such as Star Wars and Star Trek, as a teenager influenced my view of the world tremendously. At the same time I enjoyed reading young adult novels as well as literature very much; a story well told has and always will draw me into its warm embrace.

In this same period, my parents gave me Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, a book that changed the way I experienced stories forever. I must have read it twenty times or more. When as a thirteen year old I asked my English teacher to read a manuscript I had written, I believe he did not expect the 125 A4 sized papers containing an incredible space adventure from a boy with a powerful imagination. Nonetheless he read it and encouraged me to continue; I have kept his handwritten note to this day.

Studying business in Holland I was elated when the opportunity arose for me to go on an exchange to a college in Wellesley, Massachusetts, as they offered literary and writing courses I craved to follow but could not at my alma mater at the time. Both preparing for and part-taking in these classes were some of the best hours of my creative life.

You can describe me as a voracious and eclectic reader.  While studying, I got more and more into console roleplaying games for the opportunity they offered to enact a story. When my then roommate introduced me to The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, immediately I was enamoured. Another contemporary recommended The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. Needless to say that I did not merely get lost in both worlds: the magnificent worlds these author’s built captivated me and provided a place for me to not only escape reality, but also to gain different perspectives on the minor and major challenges of life.

It were the discipline and craft of writing that eluded me for years, yet through consistent and constant deliberate practice I have learnt, and realise now that there will always be more to learn about this marvellous craft.

Right now, I am glad to be able to move from the confines of my study into cyberspace, where I hope you will discover and enjoy the stories to be told of this wondrous place I have spent so much time in already, right here on

With much appreciation,

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