The Swithen is a series of novels that attempts to tell the actual Medieval legend of King Arthur (as written between the years 1136 – 1485 AD) in the most cohesive and deluxe telling of the Arthurian legend in existence.
The rule of The Swithen, and the challenge author Scott Telek has set out for himself, is that nothing from the original legend can be changed. Scenes, characters, psychology and connecting material can be added or enhanced, but everything must slot seamlessly into the existing Arthurian legend without changing it.
The only exception to this is if there are two different versions of a story, or spellings of a character’s name; then Telek can choose which he likes best, or which works best for the story. The other overriding objective is to further unify a disconnected set of stories never intended to be one continuous saga.
That said, the aim is to create the most detailed, comprehensive telling of the actual Medieval Arthurian legend that exists, while attempting to maintain the mystery, scope and majesty of the original Middle English material.
You should be warned that almost all people who dig a sufficient amount into the real Arthurian legend become obsessed with it.
Author Scott Telek is the kind of guy you can imagine reading nothing but Medieval Arthurian literature for six years. Scott began reading Le Morte D’Arthur while riding the subway in New York City. Of course he could not pay the required attention in that environment, but the stories and poetic tone seeped in and left their impression in his mind. After he moved to Chicago, having finally read the complete thing, he thought he would read the earlier sources for Le Morte D’Arthur, suspecting that he would quickly lose interest.
Instead, he became obsessed.
When Scott read the legendary origin of Merlin, he realized that people actually don’t know a lot of what is in the real Arthurian legend, and that since the Middle English texts contain almost no emotion, psychology or character development, a place existed for a telling of these tales that could flesh all of that out. Soon after starting, he also realized that merely giving the story’s women equal representation would vastly skew the legend from what exists.
Scott maintains an enormous spreadsheet with the events of all twenty-five books, as well as the names and ages of each character, when they enter and when they leave, where they are developmentally at the time of each book, and what happens to them in each book. He has a separate spreadsheet that gathers the plots of all twenty-five books, with room for him to write notes on future volumes in order to ensure the greatest consistency and provide believeable lifelong character arcs.
Scott now lives in Toronto, Ontario with his partner. He has been writing professionally for over thirty years, has made paintings, songs, films and videos, maintained the film review site Cinema de Merde for several years, and created the LGBTQ oral history series Queer Profiles.