Posted in Planning, Steampunk, World Building, Writing

Libraries are Legendary

*Warning: this post contains spoilers of my book The Ancient Wish If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

Did you know that the first library was founded in 7th century BC and belonged to the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal? It’s located in Iraq and is said to contain some 30,000 tablets, most of which are archival documents, and the like, but there are a few works of literature including a 4000 year old text called Epic of Gilgamesh.

Neo-Assyrian clay tablet. Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet 11: Story of the Flood. Known as the “Flood Tablet”

Most people will have set foot in some form of library, be it the one attached to your school, or the public one you claimed you were visiting to ‘study’. Nowadays all it takes is to type whatever you’re curious about into your phone, and voila! There’s your answer…or at least the answer according to the gospel of the internet.

When it came to designing the world of Abnyr where people didn’t have mobile phones to just Google what they needed, what better opportunity than to create a library of my own!

How might a fantasy library look?

I created Bibliothecary – the lection, or library of Poel Ohneon – so Max, Peng and Hazel would have a way of learning more about the legend of Ondraj. Since the story itself had been consigned to mythical status, it made sense that there should be a place where all the books and scrolls about said legend would be available for study.

I called it Bibliothecary, because I wanted to combine the latin for book – I remember all too well having to include a bibliography at the back of my school assignments – and an apothecary – a cabinet full of tiny drawers that contain all manner of wonders and treasures. Just like a book!

One of the images that inspired Bibliothecary

I particularly focussed on the children’s area, and this came from memories of my own experiences in the local libraries when I lived in the ACT, Australia. One thing that stood out for me was the smell. It seems to exude knowledge, adventure and the means of escaping whatever else might be happening outside.

The children’s section usually housed books for ages from toddlers to teens. I vaguely remember a pile of cushions (perhaps not anymore with society’s need for sterility), or comfy seats to sit back and indulge in another world or adventure.

That’s what I wanted to emulate with Bibliothecary’s children’s are on the belvedere level being rows of shorter stacks of shelves, and plenty of space to relax with a book.

Sadly, I don’t get to visit my local library as often as I’d like, but on the odd occasion when I do, I find it a place of absolute pleasure.

Do you frequent the library often? Let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Method of Planning, Planning, Steampunk, World Building, Writing

Why is Steampunk so Awesome?

I have always been fascinated with the concept of steampunk. Aside from the environmental concerns that I won’t be going into (because in spite of the idea that to use machines that require steam you usually have to burn coal, steampunk is just an idea, and not an actual practice), I very much like to think about modern day items that could be powered by steam. There’s also the amazing look of dials, pistons and lots of copper pipe, and another big part of the allure is the Victorian era style that goes along with it.

What is it about steampunk that I find so appealing? Sure, there’s the aesthetics as I’ve previously mentioned, but steampunk is also a cross genre concept with it’s feet firmly planted in both the fantasy and scifi. It comfortably sides with fantasy where it feels a natural extension to the magic and make believe of another world, like a steam powered saddle for horse (think rockets, guns, the ability to make tea on the go, that kind of thing), a dragon or the unfathomable enormity of whatever creature you think requires this tech. On the side of scifi, it enhances the classic Victorian era of horse and cart, with mechanical creatures transporting their riders, or giving users access to the internet via a steam powered laptop.

Steampunk laptop. Cumbersome, but how cool!

Though I couldn’t say what first attracted me to steampunk, I know it’s been a fairly recent addition to my interests. I have always admired Victorian era fashion, and when steampunk elements are added it creates an even more stunning ensemble.

I was running errands at my local shopping centre which has a lovely little jewellery shop called Raymond’s Jewellers when I found this gorgeous piece and couldn’t resist. It was created by Veronese Design and reminded me so much of Peng’s gun as I’d described it in The Ancient Wish, I just had to have it.

Peng’s Gun

When I first began planning The Direbright Series I wanted to create a world that used steampunk as its technology, but wasn’t necessarily a story about steampunk. You’ll be excited to learn I am diligently working on book two: The Cursed Gift.

I don’t tend to work on my novels chronologically (I’ll let you know my style of writing in another blog entry), however I have completed the first few chapters which will help shape the plot for scenes I’ve already written as ideas and the direction I wanted before I started with Chapter One.

What do you think about steampunk? Let me know in the comments below: