Welcome to the Fold: Behind The Scenes With 'Welcome To The Fold', Pt. 3: The Influences

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-10-20 12:00:00 No comments


In the weeks leading up to the re-release of my novel Welcome To The Fold, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book -- its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

Most of the books in my catalog have multiple influences, but they all tend to flow into one thing: the book itself. Welcome To The Fold has multiple inspirations, but each one flows into one of the two halves of the story: the modern-day, here-and-now part; and the story-within-the-story that is pure fantasy. Each of those are informed by drastically different things.

Fantasy Novels™

It ought to come as no surprise at all that the fantasy novel within the novel is inspired by ... fantasy novels. And by that I mean the idea of them more than any one in particular. It was meant to be more about the idea than homage to or inspiration from any one story. The effect I wanted was akin to, say, someone flipping through a collection of fantasy novel cover art illustrations, and dreaming up their own ideas of what lay within.

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The Rose Of Versailles

This seminal 1970s shōjō manga recently received its first, long-deserved English translation (and in a gorgeous hardback printing to boot). Its main character, Oscar de la Jarjayes, born a woman but raised as a man, became an inspiration for future gender-bending characters. Oscar's story served as the template for the hero/ine in the story-within-the-story. Anyone familiar with Rose will see my character as the homage it was intended to be.

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Revolutionary Girl Utena

Another shōjō creation, from two decades later, influenced by Rose but entirely its own thing. Instead of a historical backdrop with fictional characters, it's set in a purely fantastic private school, where the student council hatches some kind of world-changing plans and a somewhat gormless tomboy becomes the centerpiece for same. The influences on my story are indirect: it's more about the fevered way people dream to change the world in private, along lines that may be impossible to realize but seem totally credible to them. And duelling. Lots of duelling.

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The Demons

I did not actually read Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel first, but rather encountered it by way of Albert Camus's drastically different adaptation of the story, The Possessed, about violent revolutionaries "drawn into the world of destructive ideas through vanity, naïveté, idealism and the susceptibility of youth," as Wikipedia puts it. Those four qualities are all things that found their way into my characters in various combinations. The main character Ann/Kijé is more the last three; the chief antagonist is more a mix of the first three.

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Let Our Children Go!

This book was my first detailed introduction to the workings of both cults and deprogramming, as it was written by Ted Patrick, the man who first brought the mechanics of cults to the attention of the public in the 1970s. The organization at the center of my story has many of the key hallmarks of a cult, and I relied on both Patrick and other investigators of cults for those details. It creates a family unto itself that regards the other world with contempt; it invades all aspects of daily life and replaces them with its own substitutes; it saturates people with synthetic emotional experiences to create bonds; and so on.


Tags: Behind The Scenes: WTTF Welcome to the Fold