Foreword to The Interloper

I started writing The Interloper when I was sixteen, in the summer of 1998. That version was built upon the tumult of adolescent emotions. It was the escape from reality that I so desperately sought.

A lot happens to a person in twenty years. I took forwards steps and backwards stumbles, but no matter what happened in the external world, The Interloper did not leave me; it would not.

In 1998, I dreamed that I sat upon white sand and stared out at a shimmering, otherworldly sea. In that dream I made a promise to my characters that I would finish their story. At the time, I did not fully comprehend the weight of this promise.

Years passed and the story lay dormant in the jungle of my imagination like some gigantic boulder, immovable except by miracle or magic. I could have left it, gathering moss and vines about itself and, eventually, perhaps, I would have forgotten it had ever existed. The promises we make ourselves sometimes do more harm than good.

But the boulder preoccupied me. I raged against the unmoving stone and tried to shatter it to pieces. The boulder would not break, or budge, and still… The Interloper would not leave me.

Now it is the year 2021 and I have finished what I started.

This story is based on original draft written when I was sixteen and so it still contains those seams of adolescent rage. Woven amongst them, I hope, are threads of the man I have become.

The ending of this story may prove unsatisfactory. This story is merely the beginning of something that was intended to be part of a much larger epic. That story I still know, but I don’t know if I will ever tell it. Perhaps more importantly: I have not made any promises to my characters in that regard.

For me, all any of this means is that that I shifted the boulder. A long time ago I learned that anything can be moved if you have a long enough lever: in this case, the lever needed to be twenty years long.

Michael Scott Hand