A conversation with
Dylan Casa del Lobos
Howdy, my name is Dylan Casa del Lobos. I am the author of Fifty Thousand Years
Hi Dylan, welcome to Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots! Your book Fifty Thousand Years sounds amazing. What was the inspiration behind your book?
My first book, Fifty Thousand Years, was a project I considered during my days as an undergraduate, studying archaeology. I was intrigued by the assumption that only men created the tools of civilization, hunted for food, and solved every problem. Women were automatically assigned the roles of motherhood and perpetual cook. This didn’t sit well with me and contributed to the list of problems I found with the traditional study of archaeology, including a disconnect with basic survival and hunting skills in the mountains of the North.
Do you know, I have never even thought about that. Surely women would have known survival skills as well? I mean, why wouldn't they?!
Did you face many challenges while writing your book?
The challenges were to create a realistic look at life and the world, during many different eras and localities; since the story follows a genetic line of women from fifty thousand years ago to the present. The material is available, and the recent archaeological discoveries are fascinating. Although it was necessary to decide whose historical information was more credible, in order to portray the story as accurately and realistically as possible. There are many differing opinions in academia.
That is quite an epic endeavour. How did you even begin with regards to your research of the Ice Age?
I am from Northern Canada. During my youth, I worked as a professional hunter, trapper, ranch hand, and logger. Winter means working in forty below and colder. Sometimes, there are no warm places to rest and drink coffee. The short days of winter meant working all day in the cold, and sometimes sleeping in the cold. This outdoor lifestyle in the extreme cold has given me a greater appreciation of our ancestors’ survival skills during the Ice Ages and of how little mistakes can be fatal. My time as a hunting guide made me realize how difficult hunting the Mammoth, Cave Bear, and Cave Lions was with primitive weapons. I must add, I found the naïve assumptions about primitive hunting techniques, espoused by professors who had never stared into the eye of an enraged Grizzly, to be humorous and entertaining. I acquired a basic understanding of genetics and was complimented by a retired Stanford microbiologist for making the study of mitochondria DNA interesting and within the comprehension of the average reader. She told me, she didn’t believe it was possible. I consider that to be a great compliment. When I wrote of horse cultures and horses, the story went much faster. The story includes the 780-year Muslim occupation of Spain, the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Texas, and details the Oregon Trail during the mid-19th Century. I’ve started and trained oxen to work with the yoke, so this was easier for me to create the aspects of realism.
|These are Brown Swiss yearlings and this is their first few minutes under the yoke.|
They are contemplating mischief and mayhem.
I cannot imagine working in those sort of temperatures, let alone sleeping in them! But it obviously gave you a real insight to the tough conditions that your characters would have encounter.
What are you currently working on?
My present novel begins during the time of the earliest Eurasian horsemen, who became the mounted Scythian warriors, the Huns, and the Mongols. The story follows a genetic line of men and women, (The Hun women were warriors and rode beside the men) and describes their lives and horsemanship as they begin to question warfare and life itself. The story parallels the life of one of their modern relatives, a Marine who copes with the horrors of war and the adjustment to civilian life (I was a Marine during Vietnam). Besides the common DNA, a more natural and gentler horsemanship binds these men and the horses provide many of the answers to life’s mysteries and help these warriors cope, not only with training horses, but family members, strangers, and enemies as well. The ending has a few surprises as a modern day woman begins to unravel the code of her DNA.
That sounds amazing! Thank you so much for coming onto the blog and answering my questions. It has been a pleasure.
Fifty Thousand Years
Fifty thousand years ago, much of the earth’s water was locked in ice sheets a mile high. The ice covered most of Europe, Asia, and North America. The oceans were 140 meters shallower and the rest of the world was in a 90% drought situation for tens of thousands of years.
Although, there was a unique biome for 300 kilometers south of the ice. Called the Mammoth Biome, this unique area was a savanna, with rainfall and runoff in the summer months. The runoff carved the river beds for the great rivers of Europe, Asia, and North America. The precipitation and runoff provided feed for a multitude of animals and our ancestors. Stretching from Spain to Siberia, across the Bering Strait on a landmass that was exposed by the shallow water of the Pacific, the Mammoth Biome continued across Alaska and into the Yukon. This is why we find the fossil remains of mammoths and many other Ice Age animals in the Yukon and Alaska. This landmass called Beringia was the main thoroughfare for early man to migrate into the New World.
The hunting and foraging for plant food was good, but danger lurked in the form of Cave Lions, Cave Bears, hyenas, and other humans. Only the strongest and most resourceful people could survive the full force of nature and living next to ice sheets that were thousands of miles long.
There are epic stories of survival and of solving solutions to serious problems of starvation and war, but Fifty Thousand Years is different, because women are participating and sometimes leading the various tribes.
Eventually, the weather changes and civilizations improve the quality of life, but the world is still a dangerous place, and families still need creative thinkers as well as bold leaders.
Dylan Casa del Lobos
Dylan Casa del Lobos is a horse dentist. He lives in Southern California and has an international practice. Dylan works without sedation and takes pride in being able to handle and work with thousands of horses, every year, without restraint or help. He has been a professional horseman for over 50 years and plans to continue working, until they give him his last biscuit. An outdoorsman, Dylan enjoys packing with horses in the mountains of British Columbia.