Nobility Was Inspired By Shrek

Nobility was inspired by Shrek, one of my favorite movies to listen to while I write. I really liked the idea of a princess locked away in a tower, being rescued by a knight in shining armor… and neither of them actually fitting the stereotype they’re playing. In Nobility, Danna is a princess locked away in a tower, but she wasn’t cursed. Actually, she ASKED her fairy godmother to put her there to escape an arranged marriage. Nobelle is a thief with her face plastered on wanted posters all over the kingdom. Her only chance to escape the noose is to rescue and marry the princess, even though she doesn’t want to rescue the princess and the princess doesn’t want to be rescued.

Fun fact? This story was originally published as a m/m romance several years ago, before I revamped it to be f/f. I personally prefer this version myself, but maybe one day I’ll release them both together and let readers decide.

Kris Allen Inspired the Maze Scene in Words of Divinity

Okay, this one takes a little bit of backstory, since the song doesn’t necessarily tie into the scene itself. I LOVE Kris Allen’s music, and back in the day, I thought I was going to become a music video director. (A bit of a difference from where I am now, huh?) I wrote dozens of music video treatments and they’re all locked away in the vault somewhere (aka, a forgotten folder on my laptop). For Kris Allen’s song “Before We Come Undone,” I envisioned a maze scene very similar to the maze scene in Words of Divinity: two characters making their way through a maze while two people outside the maze are playing a maze board game that magically relates directly to what’s happening to our characters inside.

Enemies to Lovers

In Words of Divinity, after a failed attempt at a romantic fling, Liam and Daniel spend the next three years at each other’s’ throats. They’re far from kind to each other and barely civil. Because of this, their romance takes a long time to develop. Before it can, they have to move past the years of insults between them, which is no simple task. In fact, it takes a fair amount of the book for them to stop insulting each other whenever they feel snubbed. Still, I feel that their relationship develops very naturally as they overcome their petty grievances – something that isn’t always common in a romance, where people become lovers overnight.

Words of Divinity – The Soundtrack

I listened to Nickel Creek’s self-titled album fairly exclusively while I was writing Words of Divinity (both the original write, and the updates for the second edition), to the point where it has become the book’s unofficial soundtrack for me. It’s not that the lyrics for the songs themselves represent my story (example: “The Lighthouse’s Tale,” a beautiful heartbreaking song that has nothing to do with my book, but I love it just the same), but the style of music really inspires me. “Reasons Why” is the unofficial theme song of my book – again, not completely because of the lyrics themselves but that the idea of people having their own reasons why they’ve done what they’ve done is a recurring theme in Words of Divinity. Listen to the album today!

The Biblical Apocalypse

Watch As My World Ends takes place in a community living after the Biblical Apocalypse, and is (of course) full of Biblical references. I always found The Book of Revelation to be fascinating, so I thoroughly enjoyed researching this story. Something I was particularly interested to find was how detailed the timeline is of this prophesied event. One could almost create a calendar of the signs that string through the seven years of the apocalypse. For something that hasn’t happened yet, there is certainly plenty of prophecy revealing what will happen to those who don’t find faith. The story of God’s angels, however, is less clear. There are mentions throughout the Bible of the angels and that they are soldiers and messengers of God, but there is little known about what they are like, what their “lives” are like, or what their purpose will be after the Second Coming. This led me to my decision to make my heroes angels, instead of humans. It added an extra sense of urgency and unknown to the story, as the fate of humanity has already been laid out for us but the fate of the angels is shrouded in mystery. Interested? 

The Wolf and the Moon: Gladiators

Let’s talk gladiators. Whether in stories, movies, or TV specials, gladiators have always appealed to our primal side. The fight for life or death, the pursuit of honor and glory, the can’t-look-away violence. These traits have always excited an audience, which is what made them so popular to begin with. The lifestyle of the gladiator strikes a chord with our primal nature, with our desire to kill or be killed, the fight never-flight instinct, the distant memory of the caveman swinging his club in victory. Is it logical? Hardly. Watching people kill each other shouldn’t be entertaining, and yet if you ask the people lining up to watch NASCAR races, they’re not there to watch the cars drive in circles. It’s the thrill of danger, the risk of life, that makes these sports exhilarating – for both the spectator and the participant. The characters in The Wolf and the Moon aren’t historical gladiators, but they are inspired by them and have many similarities. All the same excitement is there: the life or death battles, the cheering crowds, the kill or be killed attitude. Plus, the characters are fighting for love. It doesn’t get much more primal than that. 

The Wolf and the Moon: 10 Years Apart

In The Wolf and the Moon, Dag and Myka are reunited after spending 10 years apart. Dag believed Myka to be dead, and trudged on with his life – what was left of it. Myka knew he could never see Dag again and dedicated himself to the care of his family. When the two are reunited, they are completely different people that the ones they fell in love with so many years before. It’s a strange thing to think about. Many couples, after years together, comment that they feel that they’ve grown apart, but these couples were still together every day and could see the changes taking place. They can look back on their years and identify these points. For Dag and Myka, they lived completely separate lives as if the other didn’t exist – until they were thrown back together. They can’t pick up where they left off, even though they try, because they are no longer the same people. Can the love they felt for each other last through the years and transform into a love for the people they have become?

The Wolf and the Moon: Your Debt Dies With You

In The Wolf and the Moon, a recurring theme is debt. Myka’s father died young and left him to care for his mother and sister – and his father’s mountain of debt. In order to pay these fines, Myka becomes an arena warrior. The master of the house agrees to pay off Myka’s debt in exchange for Myka’s services; once the house recoups this money from Myka’s fights, he is free to go – if Myka lives long enough to see that day come. Dag is not from the city but from an outlying tribe. He tells Myka that in the tribal lands, when a person dies, their debt dies with them. Myka finds this incredibly appealing, to find a world where debt wouldn’t loom over the heads of his descendants for generations to come, if Myka himself is unable to pay back his father’s debts and the medical bills he has incurred caring for his mother and sister.

I’ve worked in the health insurance industry for six years, and this idea of debts dying with a person was appealing to me as well. I’ve handled calls before from surviving spouses where their partner has recently died and they are receiving the medical bills from his hospital stay. Some people assume that these bills just disappear when a person dies – but that isn’t the case. Hospitals and doctors still expect to be paid for their services, even if the patient doesn’t live long enough to pay them. The same is true of credit card debt and loans. People imagine being left with an inheritance when their loved ones pass, but instead might be left with a staggering pile of bills.

See if Myka is ever able to escape this cycle of debt, violence, and heartbreak in The Wolf and the Moon.