UK author Hywela Lyn joins us today in our continuing series on where authors get their ideas. Hywela is an animal loving virtual star traveler who loves crafting romantic tales of science fiction and fantasy set on far away planets and imaginary worlds. Learn more about Hywela and her books at her website.
Where Do Authors Get Their Ideas?
Ideas of course, are all around us. Anything can spark the idea for a story, an overheard conversation, a news item or magazine article to name a few. For me though, it’s nearly always the characters who come to me first and live in my mind for some time while I get to know them. Then follows the setting. Once that is in place, my imagination usually goes into overdrive as I find ways to keep my hero and heroine apart, put obstacles in their way, and in general make life as difficult as I can for them, until at last I reward them with their H.E.A. (happily-ever-after)
I used to live on top of a high Welsh hill overlooking the sea and mountains. The view I had from my home was the sea to the west, and to the north, a mountain range with several ranges of mountains beyond. Welsh mountains are wild and rugged, and I just love the way they constantly change according to the time of day and the season.
One winter’s evening I looked out over the mountains at sunset and watched the mist rolling in, tinged with pink by the setting sun. As I watched, I realised it wasn’t mist swirling across from the mountains but snow, and I started to play the game of ‘what if?’ What if there was a distant planet, which had occasional falls of pink snow? What if most of that planet was so cold and inhospitable that only the most temperate parts could be colonised? What if the first colonists were from Earth and decided to renounce technology in favour of a simpler life? How would the scattered settlements communicate with each other?
The cold and misty conditions on my imaginary planet reminded me of the mythical Niflheim of Scandinavian legend. So that’s what the settlers from Earth called their new Earth colony. Those with hitherto suppressed psychic abilities developed telepathy as a means of communication across vast distances. They named the areas of the planet they were able to chart after places and characters in Norse legends, even naming some of their children after mythical Norse heroes. This tradition was continued by their descendants. As the decades passed, they developed their paranormal abilities even further, to include telekinesis and levitation, and telepathy became their normal means of communication.
At the time I was writing my first novel, Starquest, which was to become the Destiny Trilogy, three complete novels connected by the starship Destiny. Two of the crew members of the ship were telepaths, but that was all I knew about them. Now I realised my snowy planet could be their home world, proving a rationale for their telepathic abilities.
The planet that started out as a couple of lines about my telepathic crew members went on to become an important background in several chapters in Starquest, as more characters from the icy planet materialised in my mind, I even drew a map, which was very helpful in keeping track of my characters and their journey. By the time Starquest was sold, I had already started on Children Of The Mist, which is set almost entirely on the planet Niflheim and features many of the characters from the first book. There were a few mysteries surrounding the planet in Starquest, which were hinted at.
In the second book, the history of Niflheim, before its colonisation – loosely based on a hypothesis in a scientific paper I read – is revealed to the main characters. I have to admit the planet’s origin came as a surprise to me, even as I wrote it. That’s one of the many things I love about being a writer. One’s characters and the worlds they inhabit, can constantly spring surprises, just when you thought you knew exactly where they was going, and a vague idea can develop and spark a whole novel or even a series.
Children of the Mist
The Destiny Trilogy, Book 2
Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own.
Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late?
Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?