Seguin has become home to an up-and-coming fantasy novelist. 

Bryan Babel, a life-long local of Seguin, published his first novel titled “A Grave On Deacon’s Peak” through Dark Tidings Press, which was officially released on July 26.

“The story is about a boy who is about 12 years old and his sister and their family have to move out into the wilderness of the Northwest Territory in the early 1800s,” Babel said. “The mother has to leave them alone and they have a very strange adventure that involves a gang of bandits, an evil revenant magician, a lake monster and a kind of a big-foot eventually and it all happens in one night.”

Babel said that he has roots in the Seguin area that go as far back as 1850, and at 56 years old the author has called Seguin home all his life, crediting his experiences growing up in the area to his recent success. 

“I suppose a lot of people here in Seguin probably remember David Fleming who was a creative writing teacher (at Seguin High School) for me,” he said. “So that’s kind of where I started getting seriously into it back in about 1980 or so. We had a thing called writers round table after school and a writing club so people would get together and read their stuff.”

The idea for the novel came to Babel about 20 years ago in a dream. However, it took many years before the novel was set in motion, surviving many trials and setbacks, he said. 

“After I had the dream, I wrote it down, and then I lost it for a couple of years but I always sort of remembered it and would occasionally talk about it with my brothers until I finally sat down and wrote it,” Babel said. “The dream didn’t have all the details but the broad strokes were all there. I worked to develop it over the years. It’s kind of like I didn’t write it. It’s almost kind of like I discovered it in a way.”

Although he had the groundwork for his novel, Babel didn’t begin writing until one day when the author suffered a mini-stroke, placing him on bed rest at his sister’s home. It also was the push he needed to start writing from his brother John, he said. 

“My sister and her husband were taking care of me afterward and I was trying to live at their house and I thought, ‘I’ve got nothing to do,’ and my brother said, ‘I’ll tell you what I’ll do,’” Babel said. “‘Remember that story we were talking about? You write 20 pages every two weeks and I’ll give you $20.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds like a good deal,’ and so I did and eventually after about four months I had the book.’”

In addition to his latest novel, Babel says he is also working on a series of short stories titled “Tales from the Bureau of Shadows.”

“A few of the short stories I wrote for “Tales” actually take place in a fictionalized version of Seguin,” Babel said. “I call it Walnut Springs. It’s basically about a government bureau who go out and investigate ghosts, witches and monsters.” 

Although “A Grave On Deacon’s Peak” is Babel’s brainchild, the author believes that the story could not have been written had it not been for his family. 

“It was my brother John who I dedicated this book to who actually got me to sit down and write it,” he said. “My brother Michael who passed away was starting to help me with the writing of this book. When he passed away it kind of pushed things back a few years. My brother Kenny who helped me promote myself because he knew I was far too shy. And of course my sister for taking me in. “

With multiple sequels planned to his most recent book, Babel is eager to jump at the work ahead. 

“Right now, I’m sort of preparing for the next book. I have the bones already,” Babel said. “ I also have the book of short stories that I hope will come out soon. And I will begin writing the next book here in September, so we’ll see what’s going on. I just sort of got to plod forward. I won’t see any royalties until about October, so I kind of still need that $20.”

“A Grave on Deacon’s Peak” can be found on Amazon for $2.99 on Kindle, $24.59 hardcover and $9.99 for the paperback. 

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com .

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