Writing "Beyond Lyra" I'm letting myself go crazy (again) with the weird random dreamscapes that don't make any sense. But I'm definitely taking it to the next level. So good luck categorizing this book once I'm done with it!
Anyway, that being said, the Cycles depicted in "Under Zenith" came from a lot of different places. A lot of them were from dreams I'd had and thought "One day I'll find a book to put those in" and then decided I'd just write a book crazy enough to incorporate them all. Others were inspired by video games, family trips, or movies.
First off, let's not forget Hayden and Isla, who were most definitely inspired by me watching too much "Nashville" and "Once Upon a Time".
And now on to the Tasks.
Task One: Agility
This one was pretty simple. It was inspired by the very short time I lived in Greenville, North Carolina and fell in love with the landscape there. The whole place is just green. Green everywhere! It's gorgeous! So how could I not use it as a Cycle?
Task Two: Motor Skills
I can admit, this one came from my love of video games. There's this zone in World of Warcraft that I've always been absolutely in love with! It's called Nagrand. The entire zone is on the ground and seems basic enough, but if you take a flying mount (yep, I'm going full-blown nerd right now) up above the zone, there are these amazing floating islands. They don't serve much of a purpose and for the most part I don't think you really find quests up there, but they add so much to the zone. And being so in love with those random floating islands, I just had to put something similar in a book.
Task Three: Reasoning Under Pressure
This one came about because of The Husband, actually. His family is very proud of their Dutch heritage and they've got more tulips and wooden shoes than you can count. It's fantastic! So I wanted to pull some of that Dutch heritage into my book and I thought, "Tulip Field! Of course!". Plus it didn't hurt that I thought it would be fun to have something awful happen in such a serene place. Sorry again about that, Hayden!
Task Four: Ingenuity
A big part of the reason I wrote this book, was because I'd just watched the movie "Sucker Punch" and loved how Zack Snyder basically said "Genres don't exist" and put whatever the heck he wanted into that movie. He was just like "How about a couple of dragons here, and some robots over there, and a touch of zombie soldiers right here." I saw that and was so blown away by the blend of genres that I had to try it out. Plus I couldn't get over how amazing it would be to write a book without worrying about it fitting into the confines of a certain category. I just wanted to write. And I wanted to write whatever crazy thing came to mind. And it was a blast. That's why the weird junkyard scene came to life. Because it was a random thought I had. So there you go. Plus there was this place in WoW (again with the nerdiness) that had these huge monster things with saws for hands and they were terrifying. So I thought, "Sure. Why not?"
(I'm so sorry I can't remember where I found this photo! If you know, send me the link so I can give credit!)
Task Five: Strategy
This task is one that came from a photo/ a deep desire to visit the Rainbow Pools in Yellowstone. Side note: I actually did end up going to Yellowstone but we never got to see the Rainbow Pools. Sad day. Although I did find out they were located in HAYDEN VALLEY! Right? What kind of coincidence is that? It was meant to be. But anyway, I'd seen a lot of pictures of the Rainbow Pools and had always wanted to go. So I took those pictures in my head and put them into a book. One day I'll see the Rainbow Pools. Although I'm guessing I won't get any special abilities from touching them.
(Photo credit to... someone. I'm awful at remembering things.)
Task Six: Memory
This one actually came about because of a nightmare I'd had one night. That whole scene at the end that involved water... and tight spaces? Yeah. That was all my twisted subconscious. I wont' say anything else, in case some of you haven't read the book yet. But this whole task came from my weird dreams. The only picture I had that resembled the task itself is actually a fountain. But we'll go ahead and pretend it's a life-sized maze.
So there you have it. "Under Zenith" is just a huge mish-mash of weird random things I've observed. And "Beyond Lyra" gets one step crazier :) I can't wait for you guys to read it! It's getting weirder and weirder as I write it.
Until Next Time,