Writing Weun Academy is so much fun! Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about Rhysus and the original crew from the original D’mok Revival books. There’s certainly a LOT of story to tell there. But it’s refreshing to break into such new territory with a very different crew, just in the same literary universe.
Events from my life have always found their way into the core themes and threads of the D’mok literary universe. That tradition is alive and well with my latest work.
I’ve found my own experiences as a freshman at Carroll College influenced Eisah’s experience at Weun Academy. I remember a distinct awkwardness when I first arrived on campus. I didn’t know people, or my way around. I recall just trying to figure things out and make sure I was as ready as I could for classes. I also remember the first few people I met, and how our common struggle bonded us together. I’ve translated this into Eisah’s first few days.
In addition, my son’s experience of starting at a new elementary school in third grade (all students transfer into this school as new students at grade 3) has inspired some of the initial emersion events for Eisah as he arrives at Weun Academy. I won’t give too many specifics as I don’t want to ruin specifically what happens.
To my great amusement, I’ve found the amusing and delightful banter of my coworkers has inspiring some of the dynamics between Eisah’s new friends. I believe writing in my coworkers near sibling rivalry-like interactions made my Weun Academy characters more entertaining, likeable, and more relatable.
During a recent family vacation to New York city, a walk through Central Park inspired a new area at Weun Academy. This new location provides students a place of recreation, relaxation, and practicing their abilities.
During the same trip, a visit to the Statue of Liberty left me in awe. I’d never seen it with my own eyes. While it wasn’t as tall as the Empire State building (as illusioned by pictures and portrayals of the status in various media outlets), she is stunning! She is such an icon for our country, and the symbol of life, liberty, and justice for all. It made me proud to be a United States Citizen. She also reminded me of something else–Siegie from my books.
In D’mok Revival: New Eden (book #4, which most of you have not been able to read yet–sorry), Weun Academy is created. It mentions a great monument of a ring sliced through by a large green shard of crystal positioned at the grand entrance of the campus. When Rhysus and the others first saw it, they were moved because of their personal connection to what it represented. After seeing the Statue of Liberty, I am going to GO BACK AND CHANGE BOOK 4 (it’s not published yet, I can do this). Rather than a symbol, it’s going to become a statue of Segie Weun herself, holding up a radiant crystal. Much like the Statue of Liberty, people of the D’mok literary universe will have a visceral reaction to her statue. People will remember what she stood for, what she wanted for the universe, and the long term impact of her actions. I want it to inspire the students (and the readers).
Also, one of the more frightening things in my work travels has also inspired me. I learned on a recent job trip that the Canadian government in Quebec raided our branch. It wasn’t from financial fraud or other questionable business practices. Instead, there’s a French Culture enforcement group that came in. They took down English signs and demanded they be remade in French. In addition, any French branding had to be displayed first (in a primary display location) and be TWICE the size of any English branding words on printed materials. They checked installed software on people’s laptops and demanded they have only French versions installed. They reviewed correspondence sent do customers and imposed fines for anything not sent out with French first (and then English optionally included). This group has the right to impose fines. On one of the customer projects, they could receive fines of up to 25,000 Canadian EVERY 2 HOURS per month, indefinitely with a limit of 875,000 Canadian per month. Oh, and if you immigrate into Quebec, you allegedly (I have not gone back to verify this) have no other option than to learn French and send your children to a FRENCH-based school. Only if you were a native are you given the choice between the two languages. How crazy is all that? Yes, in 2016, in Quebec CANADA, this happens. Why is this happening? Because the government there believes French culture is dying in Quebec. Their solution, pound it down everyone’s throat to make it survive. This will not work long term. This isn’t how human beings work. Like dripping water, we find a way to go and do as we please. This may slow the breakdown of French only culture, but it will not stop it. This is GREAT inspiration for later books where “thing begin to change” in the D’mok Universe under D’abar… That’s all I’ll say for now. But, no need to create something insidious. I’ll use this contemporary model.
Anyway, the examples above show how life can inspire small nuance, or large sweeping dynamics in my stories. I don’t want to give away too much at this point so I’ll hold back on the rest.