Wendell is a young man who learns what his potential is while on a strange, enchanted world with a funny old wizard and ugly troll to mentor and guide him. Prelude to a Hero, the debut book about how Wendell came to be the one expected to save an entire world. . . by accident.
In 2010, Jaime’s daughter and wife finally encouraged him to rebuild the dream by returning and committing to the full story in novel form. Both Jaime and Kathi (as editor) worked diligently on the first installment (Prelude to a Hero), hoping the reaction from readers would be favorable.
When NY Times Best Selling Author David Farland read the first draft, he encouraged the Buckley’s concerning Wanted: Hero. “This should be a series,” he said. “A long series.”
Now, distant worlds and exploding magic are pretty cool. Frankly, I quite like the bit about shape shifting sand. But don’t get distracted.
Aren’t you wondering who the Council is watching?
“You can’t do that!”
Oh, good. He is listening. Wendell knew, of course, that locking the door behind the girls seemed….well, serial killer. Even he could hear the sirens, see the blue and red lights flashing through the front window. He didn’t want to scare them but he was feeling a little desperate and his best friend Evan was yawning while Wendell wanted to work out the details of ‘The Plan’. (Operation: GWG – Get Wendell a Girlfriend)-(Mission 101: Find a Girl)
The invigorating energy in fresh-cut grass and cool, crisp chlorine filled Wendell’s nostrils as they lounged by the pool in Evan’s back yard. Looking past the back fence the wild grass bowed to the playful persuasion of the warm summer breeze and the corn lilies and columbines bounced their jeweled heads, laughing and teasing butterflies. Even the Cooper’s hawk atop a nearby fence post, content with feasting on a woodpecker knew, it was a perfect day.
When Wendell woke up this morning he knew today was the day to start turning plans into reality. High School and graduation were over and he wanted, no, he needed to play. He sat up in the creaky lounge chair, chatting away and waving his lanky arms to emphasize his ideas, while Evan was stretched out, hands behind his head, showing off his bulky biceps that were barely contained in the white t-shirt, eyes closed and yawning.
Evan had no idea how hard it was for Wendell to be his friend. Everything Wendell wanted and worked for came so easy to Evan. Wendell was tired of being just ‘Evan’s friend, Wendell’.
Evan was the hero, always in the right place at the right time, with impeccable manners and bronzed, greek-god, good looks. He even had a great job with Mr. Stolsen at the nearby garage. He always had options and prospects. Turns out Evan’s deep passion for engines and racing was exactly what Mr. Stolsen was looking for. It gave him plenty of time to work on his roadster and hang out with the girls. Everybody wanted to be around Evan, especially the girls. And there were always girls hanging around. Evan was the magnet.
Usually, Wendell felt grateful that someone like that would want to hang out with him. Part of what made Evan so great is that he always shared and included Wendell. Somehow Evan made him feel as if Wendell were the great one and Evan was lucky to have him as a friend. When they were eight or nine it really confused Wendell, but he learned to not think about it and be grateful. They sure had a lot of fun together.
Wendell looked over at Evan. Silently frustrated, Wendell’s entire upper torso sagged. “But what if they just leave?…again.”
“No, man. Patience. We have ‘The Plan’. It’ll work. I promise. This is not the twisted social structure of high school. No more bullies, no more jocks and no more locker room pranks. And remember, Wendell. Girls don’t care about blue ribbons if they’re from a belching contest or the latest victory at the role playing convention.”
“Alright,” Wendell resigned. “So, let’s have a pool party.”
Evan peeked through cracked lids, “Yeah. Okay. What for?”
“First step to ‘The Plan’ and to celebrate me getting my own place.”
“What?” Now his eyes were wide open. “You didn’t tell me. Where? How? You haven’t even turned in that resume we’ve been working on.”
“Hey, I’m tellin’ ya, it feels real good to be on my own. I am…” he said with exaggerated conviction, “a man of the world.”
Wendell sat upright, frowning. “What? I thought that was a key part to our plan. Get our own place? When are you gonna break free?”
Evan just shrugged. “Just figured I’d keep my options open for now. Save some money, that kind of stuff.”
“Yeah. Okay….” Wendell made a mental note to ask about that later. Right now, he was bursting with good news. “I’ll tell ya’ Evan, it wasn’t easy breaking it to my mom like that, ‘cause I didn’t want to leave her on her own. You know, with dad being gone. But, let’s face it, moms never think there’s a right time. But a man needs his space! So, I walked into the kitchen and said, ‘Mom, I love you and you’re the greatest, but I’m not a child anymore. I’ve decided to move out into the trailer.’ She was all choked up. Laughing on the outside to hide the heartbreak on the inside. I’m sure going to miss her.”
Turning his face to the heat of the sun, Wendell pressed his lips together in a self-satisfied smirk and lifted his arms to link his fingers behind his head.
Dumbstruck, Evan had to ask, “In the back yard?”
Evan was sitting up now, thick arms folded, staring at the concrete with one hand over his mouth. His eyebrows going up, then down, then together, then up again. There was a snort, a muffled gag and finally the unmistakable guffaw, “HAHAHAHAHA!” Evan couldn’t help it.
“Does it come with maid service?” he taunted, but Wendell tried to ignore him. “How about free food or laundry options?” Wiping tears from his eyes, Evan wrapped a huge arm around his stomach as he gasped for a breath.
Wendell grit his teeth and glared, heat rising to his cheeks. What a dirt bag! I can’t believe he’s really laughing at me! “Well,…technically I moved out,” Wendell muttered with a weak sigh. Folding his arms across his chest he sank into the chair like a deflated balloon. “I didn’t want to go TOO far.”
Evan didn’t mean to hurt his feelings. Sometimes, Wendell just didn’t get it. “I’m sorry, man,” and jabbed Wendell in the shoulder.
Wendell returned an over-enthusiastic slug to the gut. Truth was, he could never stay mad at Evan for long. The return jab was the sure sign that all was well. Best friends. Always had been—always would be.
Evan bounced out of his chair which creaked in protest, reaching out to jab Wendell in the shoulder again. “Hey, let’s have that party! What do you think, I’ll go make some phone calls?” He paused, expectantly.
“Seriously?” asked Wendell. “Mission 101: Find the Girl?”
“Of course. It’ll be great!”
“Maybe I can try some of the lines from the book I just bought: Geeks Guide to Getting Girlfriends.”
Evan scratched the scruff on his face. “Hmmm.” Rolling his eyes he trotted to the back door. This will be interesting.
Wendell started making a list of all the girls he wanted to invite as soon as the screen door screeched and clunked closed behind Evan. Man, I wonder if there is any way to get the girls from the Wiki-Tiki Ski Shop to show up. We would be the talk of the town! A vision of the owner’s daughters, Ashley and Britney lingered in his mind. The head cashier always smiles ear to ear when Evan walks through the door, and…oh, yeah!…
Copyright© Jaime Buckley. All rights reserved.