And out of the depths of despair came my latest novel, The Brede Chronicles. I’d spent nearly a year depressed and disinterested, unable to write one creative word, convinced I’d never produce another novel and if I did probably no one would care. But I do have a strange little habit—you could call it compulsion—and that is to scour the Internet and find interesting photos and pictures that for some reason speak to me. It can be aliens, alpha males, or avatars but if they evoke something in me, I collect them.
I especially collect photos, pictures, and articles on ancient history particularly Egypt. I’ve been in love with the ancient Egyptian world since my mother bought me the World Book Encyclopedia set for my eighth birthday and I read each one including the reference books (LOL!). One of the most impressive bits of information I came across was the process of “mummification” done by the Egyptians. I’ll spare you the details but I never stopped obsessing about that ancient culture and people and their magnificent civilization.
Just in case you’re wondering what the heck this has to do with a science fiction novel, hang in there please. It has a lot to do with it—a lot. I pulled up every image of Egypt I could find or already had and indulged in their eye candy for months, not really sure what to do with them if anything. An automated writing prompt started me thinking about mixing cultures and timelines, and since I am primarily a science fiction author that kicked off the creative process that had been in neutral gear for at least six months. I don’t know whether it was sheer relief at having those artistic juices flowing again or just the idea of an interesting setting/story/characterization, but I was grateful and decided to focus on the story that would eventually become The Brede Chronicles. I had to think hard about it. What exactly did I want to do with the new story? After the dark, intense Isadora DayStar, I wanted something a bit more upbeat, a bit easier on the emotions. So I thought.
What would happen if the entire Earth’s economy and ecology took a nosedive 100 years from now? Who would save us? Aliens? What if they were a positive for humanity rather than the negative almost always depicted, at least economically? What would the revamped Earth and its residents be like in the next 100 years? What would be kept culturally and what would be tossed out? What has humanity kept over the millennia? Specifically, what has Egypt kept over the millennia? I pulled up those photos, dug up information, and shifted my creativity into overdrive.
First, as with humanity from even before Egyptian beginnings, was livestock. The earliest peoples shepherded livestock and along the life-giving Nile River they harvested their food from its blessed annual flooding. Eventually they taught themselves crafts and trading. As of 2014, the souks (trading bazaars) namely the Khan Al Khalili, the biggest and most well known in Cairo, still do thriving tourist business just as they did thousands of years ago. That trading and marketplace sold and still sells live animals, chickens, goats, sheep, and plain and fine cloth and rugs. That stayed.
I needed characters and Alekzander Brede was the first of all. I started with his name. Brede. It just sounded good. For me, names have to have a ring to them, a cadence. They have to be recognizable without being too simple. Now for a first name: I started in the A’s and came across Alexander. Alexander Brede. Yup, it had that ring. But it was too simple, too common for an ice-cold alpha male alien/human. Hmm. I looked at the different spellings and saw Alekzander. That was it. It looked harder, tougher, more edgy with the 'k' and 'z' in it. Only later would I go back and find that the definition of the name Brede meant ice! Perfect!
Now I needed a heroine. I didn’t want some beautiful female with long tresses and hypnotic eyes. No, this character was different. She was a scamp in love…with Alekzander Brede. She was a street orphan, a terrible hustler who thought herself particularly gifted in the art of theft and scamming but wasn’t. Her name? Again I went to the names and got to E. Elektra, she told me. Elektra what? I asked. Elektra Tate. That did it. She was different from the rest of the humans of New Cairo, Egypt. She had pale blonde hair and blue eyes. And an uneven grin that irritated Alekzander Brede to no end. Oh yeah, these two were a pair alright.
Now, just in case you think this is all a bit too pedantic, this is how I got this book done and sold to a publisher. This book was a sort of salvation for me and my writing. I became obsessed with it, as I said. It rescued me from the depths of despair and saved me by setting me in the world of the past, only future.
I loved this book. I loved the characters and even when others didn’t I still believed in it. And I still do.
If you’ve learned anything from this long lecture-like exposition, it’s this: believe in your story. Believe in it! And someone somewhere—the right someone—will believe in it too.
Guest Blogger Bio
After an extended detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to fiction author. Among her experience are journalism, radio air talent and the music industry. She lives in Southern California. Her work includes Future Imperfect Trilogy (Crucifying Angel, Miraculous Deception, Final Deceit) through Desert Breeze Publishing, Inamorata Crossing/Borealis 1: A Space Opera through Desert Breeze Publishing, Isadora DayStar (self-published), The Button Hollow Chronicles: The Leaf Peeper Murders through Mainly Murder Press, as well as some free stories for your reading pleasure on ReadWave.com & Wattpad.com.