One of the most-often-questions asked a writer is “what’s your inspiration behind the book”? Most of the time we give a blank look. “Uh. I looked in the fridge. Put in a little bit of this. Little of that. Some leftovers here. And look! An omelette-book!”
At least. That’s how I feel :)
But When Planets Fall is one of the few projects I can actually trace an “origin” story to. I thought it’d be fun to share it. So let’s strap in our time machine and take an adventure back to Abby’s high school years.
Going into my freshmen year of high school, I attended summer camp at Hume Lake, a Christian camp in California near my home. There were water blobs, competition, one-piece bathing suits, and, oh yes, boys. The theme of this camp was Abby’s-not-in-junior-high anymore. Kidding (sort of).
Xenoviv. That was the theme. A mashup of Greek and Hebrew words to create the idea that this world is not our home.
The camp directors, besides being super-hot according to teen me, created a mini movie series about characters in an alien land, space suits, the works. I loved it. And not just ‘cause of the thick facial hair onscreen. That idea of Xenoviv stuck with me.
Fast forward seven years.
I was searching for a topic for my 2-page short story assignment for one of my writing classes. I came across the word Xenoviv scrawled in the margins of my ratty Bible. I actually read the passage that whole camp theme was based on (and day dreamed about that camp director . . . )—Israelites who were stuck in Egypt for so long they had begun to think this was where they truly belonged. Then the parallel of Christians believing this life is just a phase for them—this world is not their true home.
Bam. Short story idea born. Breaker, in his earliest form, emerged. I wrote about a guy who discovered a starship in a land that wasn’t his. Revised it and wrote from Chief Malvyn’s point of view. Turned it in.
To a not very good grade. Ugh.
But at the end, my prof wrote—“I think this could be a bigger story. Stay with it.”
To my surprise, I did.
After I wrote 12 is Beauty, my YA sci-fi that got shelved, I kept coming back to that Xenoviv idea. The idea of being a stranger in a foreign land. It rotated around and around until the bigger idea for When Planets Fall formed. I’ll probably post the short story someday, in all its horrible glory, ‘cause you can see where the bigger plot threads came from.
Thank you hot Christian camp directors and thank you Prof M for that short story assignment because you guys gave me the idea for my debut novel.