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FIVE ON FRIDAY with Stephen Dafoe

Our guest this week Stephen Dafoe, is the author of numerous books on the history and lore of the Knights Templar. His most recent book is Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of The Knights Templar. He is also, like yours truly, a comic book fan and has written a fabulous comic called Outremer, which tells the story of the founding of the Templars.

Visit Stephen’s fabulous website, which is ground zero for all things Templar.

When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer/illustrator?

I have always had an interest in writing and when I was in high school I had hoped to either pursue a career in marketing or journalism. Of course it wasn’t until later in life that I could actually afford to work for the paltry wages community journalists get paid. But at that point I wasn’t doing it for the money.

What book or writer/artist do you feel influenced you the most?

There really isn’t a single writer that has had the greatest influence on my writing. I think any good writing; any writing that causes me to stop and say, “Man that is well written” has an influence on me, if even for a brief time. That being said, I am probably most impressed with the work of Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. Although I do not write fiction, let alone science fiction, Sawyer’s ability to prevent me from putting his book down is something I am inspired to strive towards with my own work.

What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?

Within my own field of work, I‘d have to recommend Michael Spradlin’s first book in The Youngest Templar series. I say that because after a long line of crappy post-Da Vinci Code Templar fiction, Mike’s book is something fresh and a throw back to the kind of book I enjoyed as a boy. As far as non-fiction, I really enjoyed Gordon Napier’s Knights Templar A-Z, an encyclopedia like offering on all things Templar. Beyond that, I really enjoyed Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics, Gladwell’s Outliers and Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur.

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers (or illustrators), what would it be?

Read and write every chance you get. It really is as simple as that.

Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?

The next book that is due out is Morgan: The Scandal That Shook Freemasonry, published by cornerstone Book Publishers in the US. In 1826 in upstate New York a man by the name of William Morgan entered into a partnership to publish an expose on the ritual of Freemasonry. On September 11 of that year he was abducted by Masons and never seen or heard from again. There have been many books written on this subject, but they have all taken a pro- or anti-Masonic stance. This one is different in that I am tracing the chain of events through court transcripts, affidavits, personal journals and letters, as well as the numerous books written over the years. It wasn’t until I began writing the book that I truly began to believe the old saying that “truth is stranger than fiction.”

What makes this book different for me is that I’m writing a large part of it in a narrative nonfiction style. That is something I’m enjoying more than I thought I would.

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