I feel a little bit like a parent, patiently explaining about storks and cabbage leaves. Those who don’t live with random characters throwing cocktail parties in their heads often seem baffled by the story twists and turns writers constantly pull out of their proverbial hats.
But to tell you the truth, I’m fascinated by the process of other authors too! So, when I ran across Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, I asked the author (Selah J Tay-Song) where she came up with her unusual magic system and underground setting. Here’s what she told me:
“The idea for the heat magic versus cold magic came out of a dream I had, where an ice fairy was being smothered to death by the heat of a fire demon. (I was probably just sweating under the blankets or something!) I became fascinated with the idea of a society of people who used cold for magic, pitted against a kingdom of fire magicians. I think it was also that dream where the idea that heat would make the Icers ill originated. Likewise, extreme cold makes the fire magicians or “Flames” ill.
“Even though I write fantasy, I have a background in science, so when I was figuring out the details of the magic system, I thought in terms of science. I imagined the magic, T’Jas, as having to do with energy and matter, or the manipulation of matter by rapid changes in energy. I try to use this principle to make the use of magic in the book somewhat consistent; however, (I think) this is never specifically mentioned in the book. I try to keep the mechanism of magic a bit mysterious. Because magic should be mysterious. That’s part of what separates it from science!
“I took the name for magic in my series, “T’Jas” from the East Indian word “tejas,” which appears in spiritual texts in reference to “brilliant energy.” It is also referred to as light or fire energy.
“So, in a way, I drew both from science and from dream and myth to build my magic system. Of course, some elements were also ‘reverse engineered’ when I needed something to happen in the plot, and had to figure out a way for it to be possible through magic. But the beauty of the system based on energy in matter is that in effect, magic can do anything, because if you can manipulate energy and matter supernaturally, you can do anything. The greatest limitation for the characters becomes their own knowledge.”
Thanks for the insight, Selah! I have to admit that a lot of my own ideas originate in dreams. 😉
If you’re interested in getting your hands on this book, you can pick it up for just .99 cents at Amazon from now until March 31st!
(Just a quick caution for sensitive readers: the author reports that things get a bit steamy further into the series, but this first book is pretty clean.)