After five years of working on and off on this trilogy, I've found a lot of inspiration along the way. Here are some of the things that get my creative juices flowing.
If not for this CD, this trilogy would not have been dreamed up or written. Four years have gone by, but I stand firm when I say that this is my favorite CD and my favorite band. The musicality and creative genius is mind-blowing. I will admit that I wasn't used to music with screamed vocals when I first picked up this album, but I'm very glad that I gave it a chance. It's filled with hauntingly beautiful tracks with quite the story to tell, dark as it may be.
This is my second favorite CD from A7X, and it's where the names of my three books come from. Those tracks have shaped the books (i.e. Darkness Surrounding's central motif is that times are changing and corruption/despair are spreading), and for a publisher to change my titles would be heartbreaking.
Another CD that made a big impact on my trilogy was Epica by Kamelot. The theme of damnation and the character of Helena are derived from this album. In fact, it was this cover that drove me to use wings in my novels. Although my characters can no longer use them to fly (I felt that it would be too cliche and would distract from larger points I'd like to make), the wings are here to stay. Click here to listen to the song that started it all.
You can check out all of the other tracks that have inspired me over on my Playlist page.
I could go on and on about books, but I'll focus only on the ones that influenced The Atavists Trilogy. Without further ado...
This series made me cry several times, which means that it had a very true, relatable, and genuine pain to it. After reading these books, I aspire to make my own characters just and loveable yet conflicted as Catherine and Chris were. The tale packs a lot of punch and is not for the faint of heart, and a fair warning -- you will come to uttery despise the man named John Amos. The fact that I remember that name so mnay years after reading the book means that the horror really stuck with me, so I'd like to emphasize that younger kids and easily upset readers should hold off on the Dollenganger Series.
And now, something light-hearted and amusing! The funny thing is that my characters of Benny and Todd are largely based on the guinea pig duo of Enrico and Caruso, who serve as comedic relief to Freddy (who takes himself much too seriously). The cover is deceptive - readers of all ages will love this quirky book.
This book stuck with me because it was so heartfelt and sweet. I think that the interaction between Zanni and DeathX (and some of DeathX's personality) may have been influenced by Annabelle and Owen. Sarah Dessen is master at creating complex characters with a story and an interesting problem to solve. I really recommend that YA readers check this one out - it'll blow your mind. Love it.
Rest assured that I do not take inspiration from a plate of food. This Orange Chicken from Panda Express, however, is the fuel for my writing sprints. I occasionally indulge on a large nine dollar entree of it (which serves 3-4 people, yikes!) and chow down while writing. There's something about the tangy flavor that screams "go, go, go!"
I've received a few complaints from my readers that having Zanni use strawberry shampoo is too "Twilight." I know that the fact the sentence was written before I knew what Twilight was is irrelevant, but what does matter is that this particular shampoo is the smell of The Atavists's world. Seriously, take a whiff of it when you're in Walmart. When I lather this into my own hair, it's like an alien beam picked me up and dunked me into Zanni's life. In other words, the strawberry shampoo is here to stay.
Because of my trilogy, I've gained a strange fascination with angel figurines. While I do not own this one (I wish I did!), I do have another figurine similar to the one described in Chapter One: Tension.