Welcome to the first of a 30-day introspection period I’m writing (as an experiment) to mark the release of The Elements on 15.01.2017.
Every two or three days or so, I’ll add a few words to explain why I wrote the project, my motivations and what it is all about… in not too many words. I’m usually quite a private person, but since this project has taken so much time and effort to get here, I decided it’s time to open the doors a little on why I dedicated myself to it in the first place. … and why it took ten years in the making.
Part 1: Sources of Inspiration
The Elements wasn’t ever a conscious act of ‘now I want to write this project’ or ‘now I want to be an author’. It was more a gradual process of wanting to write the sort of book I hadn’t read and wanted to read but couldn’t get. I’ve always had an active imagination and being a creative professional, have always sought new avenues to let that creativity out.
Part of being creative was the intense interest I had for big concept books. I’ve always been inspired to write them. I began the road to writing kind of without every making the decision to do so, all the way back in 1998 when I wanted to invent a world of fantasy more like our own than anything we know from the genre. That will become a seperate project called Voyagers and Kings. I’ll start writing next year…
I gave up on the project because it was too big. I spent five years developing the universe and history but never seemed to commit pen to paper and get any story written. That project has since grown into a new project I’ll look at after I’ve got The Elements launched and sailing…
So to the literary world of activating the imagination: Whether the books that interested me was fantasy such as Lord Of The Rings and historical such as Shogun (James Clavel) and epic in the telling of places and people as we know from James A. Michener (Centennial, The Source, Chesapeake and many more). It was the idea of a central enigmatic mystery that needed solving I loved most of all, as we know from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (not my favourite author by any stretch of the imagination, but I love the Da Vinci concept.)
I was also driven by the ‘deep dilemma’ of wanting to uncover truth, often faced by people driven to explore what is going on – as we know recently from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy: A journalist follows a story, brought in to clear up a mystery about crime and prejudice we know from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the rest. One thing leads to another, the stakes increase and on we go…
So I wanted to write something that touched on all these aspects – at once. Leads that enter unknown territory not really knowing the implications of what they are getting involved in, settings that were enigmatic, a mystery that above all else – touched us in a way we know from for example, the ending of 2001 A Space Odyssey, endings that really made us think:
Who are we?
What are we about?
What is important in life?
and even, what is life all about?
How could all of this be brought into a world like our own?
And how could that world portray all the complexity of power games, exploitation and not least, deception in the interest of the greed for knowledge and even power?