A Peek Inside My Creative Process
(For the Cambion Journals)
In the run-up to the Cambion Journals – Rage of Augustus release, I thought I’d share a bit about the creative process behind this story's development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character, because as you’ll see, he’s still rather new.
Back in 2011, I was asked to submit a pitch regarding any ideas I had for a future project.
At the time, I halfway through the first Guardian trilogy. But you know what it’s like when you’re writing. Good ideas or concepts are like a bus. You wait for ages for one to turn up, then three come rolling in at once. That was the case here. I was up to my neck in theme and plot, and I kept getting great ideas about other stories and future projects.
I don’t know about you, but I get my ideas from all sorts of places. I’ve come up with concepts from sources as diverse as real life experience, from flicking TV channels, and from dreams.
The Cambion Journals developed after a particularly vivid dream...as follows.
During the previous week, I’d been babysitting for friends and ended up watching the various cartoons and fun films kiddies like to watch, over and over again. A few in particular obviously stuck in my mind. Beauty and the Beast, and Star Wars – Return of the Sith. I say that, because I had several dreams in the week that followed.
Now, I dream a lot. What’s a bit weird about me is that I remember my experiences, and, often become aware of the fact I’m dreaming before I wake up. Many times, I have the same scenario repeat itself, and that’s when it becomes fun, because I can take control.
In these particular dreams, I played the role of a nasty piece of work. A real bad guy. The dream would always start in an old mansion where people were trapped. They were being threatened by something that defied explanation. Panic ensued, and, as everyone tried to escape, they were being cut down by something that would attack from the shadows.
Somehow, I always began the experience by watching the scene from somewhere up on the ceiling among the chandeliers. I’d feel both enraged and aroused by the scene below me, as it made my senses sing with invigorating power. Nevertheless, I felt it important to stop the carnage. So, I’d simply drop sixty or seventy feet to the floor.
However, as people realized I was there, they’d scream in terror. Their terror fed me, and I had to really struggle not to attack them myself. I’d turn and catch my image in a mirror. Surprised, I’d realize I had a demonic caste to my image, and that others like me were responsible for the ensuing mayhem. My dream would puzzle me. So why do I feel so enraged?
I’d turn again, and always find an ethereal woman walking toward me through the chaos. Displaying no fear, she’d walk right up to me, lovingly touch my cheek, and whisper, “Protect them.”
You know the way it is in dreams. Somehow, you recognize total strangers. In this scenario, I just knew the woman was my long dead mother. She’d died hundreds of years ago, and had absolute confidence that I would do the right thing.
So I would. Using all the supernatural powers at my disposal, I’d rip the demons to shreds, feed on their terror and free the hostages from certain death. The trouble was, everyone was still terrified of me, and would fall over themselves in their haste to get away.
Often, a woman would fall trying to escape. It was always the same woman. I’d help her to her feet, and just stand there staring at her. She was beautiful. I wanted to be with her. I wanted her to know me, see me as a real person and realize she had nothing to fear. But I could feel the hunger rising inside of me because of her panic. In the end, I’d always have to back away and run deep into the bowels of mansion for fear of harming her.
And THAT was how I came up with the basis of Augustus Thorne’s character.
He’s a bad guy. But a bad guy with a heart. So I built on that...
His mother was attacked by an Incubus, and Augustus is the result. As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – he has all their supernatural abilities and longevity, but he hates them. Why? His human mother didn’t abandon him as a child – as usually happens – and her input during his early years helped him develop a conscience and a strong sense of justice. He saw the way his existence ruined her life, and he resolved never to wreak such suffering on others.
That’s harder than you can imagine. Because along with his unnatural good looks and attributes, he has also inherited a curse. The hunger! He must feed from humans or die. It is a process that prevents him from being the one thing he craves. Normal.
Because of his curse, he can never fall in love. Never settle down. Never have a family of his own to love and cherish. And he hates Demondim for that, because his mother helps him realize how precious such things are, and how a person’s life is empty without them.
Seeing how his mother’s life was destroyed, he vows to hunt down and exterminate the one being responsible for her suffering. His own father – Fanon. It is a quest that takes Augustus down through the centuries and around the world, for his father is ancient and cunning...and very powerful.
In the process, Augustus develops the skills necessary to ravage his kind, for Cambions are stronger and more aggressive, possessing abilities Augustus has not yet fully come to realize. And as the net closes on his father, Augustus becomes aware of as yet, hidden prophecies that may have a bearing on his future, and the future of humankind.
How does his journey turn out?
Does he get to wreak his revenge?
Because next week, I’ll discus a number of unusual methods I adopted to tell his story. One, I hope you’ll find, will make you feel as if you’re there with him.
Until then :)