They say write what you know. I mean, I use whatever experience I have to write about being in a spaceship, but I’ll admit – it’s a bit tricky. There’s a joke about how a serial killer’s search history and a writer’s search history is actually the same thing. They’re not wrong. With the wealth of the knowledge that we can find on the interwebs, if we don’t know – we can research it.
However, there are times that you really do need to immerse yourself in the outside world. You have to write from your experiences and sometimes that means going out and experiencing it for yourself. It’s one of the coolest things about my travels over the years, there so many beautiful places around me with so much history that I can use that as a springboard for new ideas and settings.
Today, I am going to tell you ideas and places that have inspired my upcoming space opera, The God Queen.
1. Ballarat, California, USA
Ok, folks – I am going to honest about this one…..I’ve never been to Ballarat except through Google maps. Hey! Don’t judge! E. L. James wrote the entire 50 Shades of Gray trilogy without ever having set foot in Seattle (she’s from the UK, by the way). But I did want to touch on the fact that this place does exist and it’s actually pretty cool! I was looking for a town near the edge of Death Valley. My story begins there and when I came across Ballarat and discovered it’s history and that fact that it is now a literal ghost town! I knew I had to use this place as Rei’s home town! Of course, I had to build an entire town out of these five buildings – since it’s set in a future where Ballarat is no longer a ghost town. So it has been a little bit of both real and from my own head.
2. Escalante, Utah, USA
Godamnit, you got me again! I needed a beautiful, desert-like place to serve as a holy city for my Volocio (the gods in my world). While it’s romantic to think of the Sahara (or Tunisia if you’re a Star Wars fan) – I wanted it to be in the good ol’ US of A. Just sayin’. In an earlier version, I had Rei and Arram travel to Escalante, but that was cut due to the fact that it did nothing for my story. But Escalante will make an appearance later…
3. Neuschwanstein, Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany
Now we are getting somewhere! I have been to King Ludwig II’s fairy tale castle about 4 or 5 times and I still love going there! Around Chapter Five, Rei dreams of being on a balcony in a castle cradled into the side of a mountain (I was actually on a bridge in the mountains when I took this photo). The castle will make other appearances in the series so I needed to make sure I had something concrete in mind for consistency. You can’t forget something like a castle whose theme revolves around Wagner’s The Swan Knight. I took my pug, Abner, there years ago, if you want to read about his adventures, check out Abner is not Impressed with Disney Castles.
4. Lindau, Bavaria, Germany
I loved going this visit the old town. It sits on a tiny peninsula in Lake Constance. It’s connection to the mainland is a bridge on one side, and train tracks on another. While my story is set in the very very far future (as well as other planets). I had them use the idea of “old cities” as a tourist trap on some planets. The idea was to recreate this medieval feel on other planets since not everyone could (or would want to) travel to Earth to see the real thing. It allowed me to do something different than just another generic futuristic city – although those also exist. In case you’re wondering – the town of Yticol is based off of Lindau. The lighthouse and lion also make an appearance in The God Queen – see if you can find it!
5. Hohentwiel, Singen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
This is my favorite castle ruins. I have hiked this fortress countless times since it was only 30 minutes from where I used to live on Lake Constance. Sadly, it is now two hours away so I can’t do any more spontaneous hikes – but I still have enough photos to help jog my memory! My characters mention a huge battle that took place over a decade before the beginning of The God Queen on Kepler IV – the fortress of Riodan being the setting of this battle. I based the ruins of this fortress off of Hohentwiel, which was never conquered in its 1200-year-old history. If you want to read more about it, you should check out my post Abner and the Volcano.
6. Brisas del Titicaca, Lima, Peru/Moulin Rouge, Paris, France
Before the climatic final battle, my characters go to a dance hall whose decorations were more reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge (which I visited with my mom in 2005). But the actual show is more like Brisas del Titicaca. The show consists of two or three acts/dances with a song pause in the middle where the guests could actually get onto the dance floor and dance. There is also food and drinks served before hand and you best believe that the show lasts several hours. The next time we go back to Peru, I want to take my husband to see this show. It’s a beautiful way to showcase all the traditional dances of Peru (ok, that’s a lie – there’s no way you can see all the dances because the show would never end. They actually have to change the show every few months). But it’s a beautiful introduction to the culture and it always ends the same way….
7. Sailor Moon
If you recall from an earlier post – I started writing a version of The God Queen when I was in my early teens (about thirteen to be exact). My greatest loves at the time were Star Wars and Sailor Moon. Well…Sailor Jupiter to be more specific. The god queen in my novel is not only the queen of the gods but also the goddess of lightning. Bad. Ass. People have asked me if I based the god queen on myself. Not really. The character closest to my personality is Bronx 100%….all his sass….it’s mine. I didn’t mean for that to happen, but he and I would have been besties, just sayin. The god queen was based on Sailor Jupiter, hands down!
8. Earth Analog
Some of my betas had wondered where I’d gotten the names for my planets. I had actually made up a ton of names before, but when I decided that Earth had to be in the mix, I needed to change my tactic. I decided I should also look to my favorite science for further inspiration. What I found will surprise you. There is a group of planets that may have the similar environmental conditions as Earth – thus possibly be habitable. Unfortunately, I had to change the name of some of the planets since Wolf 1067c didn’t fly well on paper. I got a lot of shit about the name not being grammatically correct but THAT’S THE NAME OF THE FUCKING PLANET. *sigh* This led me to believe that there will be plenty of other readers who might start foaming at the mouth rather than taking a few minutes to do some research – so for their sake, I simplified the numbers. Gliese 667c instead became simply Gliese VI.
I have a post planned where I actually tell you the names of the planets, their original name, and which political party they vote for (Federation or Dominion) – so you’ll have to wait and see on the details.
9. Dead Like Me/Pushing Daisies
Last, but not least, Reapers. There are reapers in my book….well…..one at the moment…..and so much Bronx’s powers and overall body language came from the works of Bryan Fuller. More specifically, Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me. If you haven’t seen either show. I highly HIGHLY recommend you do.
Anyway, there’s more where that came from, but I thought I would give you guys a little sneak peak into this crazy brain of mine!
What places or things have inspired you in your writing? Comment Below!
Are you interested in more? Check out more behind-the-scene goodies that will be introduced in the weeks leading up to The God Queen‘s release…
Check out the first four chapters
If you are already set in buying The God Queen go ahead and preorder
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