Thursday, May 22, 2008

Epoch - The Concept

One of the most common questions authors get asked is, where do you get your ideas? Sometimes that question is a little more specific, such as where did I get the idea for a particular book. I tell people who ask me that my ideas come from all over, plucked from the world around me and the events happening in it. When a few of those ideas come together, I have the concept for a novel.

The ideas for Epoch came from many places, and didn't solidify into a concept until sometime in early 2005. I'd just finished the sequel to Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters, and I wanted to write a stand-alone book before moving on to Soul Hunters 3. In the summer of 2004 came across a book that predicted a comet would destroy the world in 2003, and that gave me a good laugh. It got me thinking of the apocalypse, however, and it reminded me of something else I'd read while visiting my sister in Vancouver.

You see? Ideas from all over.

Anyway, my sister's roommate had a very funny computer game, and the instruction manual for it was just as entertaining. Mixed in with the details of how to play the game were random jokes, and one of those jokes came in the troubleshooting section. There were some serious troubleshooting questions about what to do if the game doesn't load and things of that nature, and then there was one like this:

What if your computer is covered with insects?

The answer stated that the insects indicated the end of one age and the beginning of another, like the Age of Aquarius or something. I very clearly remember the next line: "There is nothing you can do. Our epoch has come to an end."

When I read about the comet impact that didn't happen, my mind immediately pulled up that line, "our epoch has come to an end." What if, I thought, the dominant species of Earth has only a limited time on the planet - an epoch? What if human beings are just the latest in a long line of dominant species? What if creatures of myth and fantasy - elves, pixies, trolls - were actually creatures from history whose epoch had come and gone? And what if humanity's time is almost up?

All that came together in my mind, and I knew I had a book. What was more, I couldn't wait to start writing it.

That's how Epoch was born.

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