Please welcome fellow author and all around great guy Graeme Ing! He’s going to share with us his inspiration for his novel “Oceans of Dust”! Take it away Graeme!
Every writer has been asked, “What inspired you to write your book?” When Lisa graciously allowed me to answer this on her blog, I realized that this is the first time I have ever written it down. I can boil it down to three sources: Harpers, the British Royal Navy, and a school project. Confused? Please bear with me and I’ll explain:
As a child, I grew up with Anne McCaffrey’s superb Dragonriders of Pern books. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read them now, making it a welcome habit of re-reading the entire series every couple of years. Naturally, I wanted to be the proud, heroic rider of a Bronze dragon, but (and call me a sissy if you like), the character that I empathized with most was a little girl named Menolly. She was the star of the Harper Hall of Pern trilogy, and went on to appear in later books too. When you’re a kid, I think you gravitate to the loner, awkward character that makes good in the end. I did anyway. From that moment on, I wanted to write stories where the downtrodden kid comes of age and saves the day, and I hope that I have with my heroine, Lissa.
Fascinated by strong female characters, I started to write female protagonists, though it wasn’t until later in life that I felt I had learned enough about the thoroughly confusing opposite sex to pull it off, and make my characters believable. Another great inspiration for me was Elizabeth Moon’s sci-fi series about Kylara Vatta.
My father served in the British Royal Navy, and my childhood was full of exciting visits to ships, old and modern. I fell in love with the romantic ideal of seeing the world from the deck of a ship, and made an early decision to mirror my father’s career. The most inspirational vessel that I ever explored was the famous HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. I never did serve in the Navy, but plenty of ideas formed for novels capturing the danger and tyranny of life aboard such a ship.
This proved more difficult than I thought, when I came to write Ocean of Dust. My original intent was for the entire book to take place aboard ship, but I finally bowed to the pressure of needing fresh locations, and included many scenes on land. In the end, I think it provided a welcome balance. Even so, one of my favorite scenes is where Lissa and others are cast adrift in a tiny skiff in the huge expanse of the ocean.
One of my many hobbies is Astronomy, and my favorite class at school was science. In my early teens, we were each tasked with writing a science report about anything we liked. I was hot on the Apollo space program at the time, so I chose to study and write about the surface of the moon. Fascinated by those iconic photographs of footprints in the lunar soil, I waxed lyrical about “regolith” (it’s official name), and what would have happened if it had been deep enough to swallow the Lunar Landers. I’m sure they had thought of that!
A couple of years later, I read Arthur Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust, about a lunar tourist vehicle that gets trapped under dozens of feet of lunar soil. The thought of an ocean made of dust instead of water haunted me for so many years that not only did I yearn to write a novel about it, but it became my title.
These three core ideas merged and grew in my mind over a couple of decades, accreting other ideas that I had for characters, scenes, creatures and eventually an entire fantasy world. One day I wove a mystery through it all and suddenly felt compelled to tell the story as my debut novel. It took me five years to write, and another year chasing agents, and now I intend to self-publish it in September. It just goes to show that a story can develop from a series of supposedly unrelated incidents. Inspiration is a marvelous thing.
Thanks so much for stopping by today Graeme and sharing your inspiration with us. If you want to follow Graeme you can find him at http://www.graemeing.com/ And be on the look out for his book! Based on his inspiration I’m sure it’s a doozy!