It was a lot of fun to plan the overall story arch, from the innocent beginnings with a random tryst to something so much darker and more mysterious.
A lot of the inspiration came from Lovecraft’s Old Gods mythos, obviously, and I’ve come to really enjoy this brand of scifi-horror-fantasy. It takes the most interesting aspects of the three and blends it together into something eerie and a little uncomfortable.
Though really, I think developing the characters was my favourite part. In sticking with the Lovecraftian mythos, we did up character sheets from Call of C’thulhu, modified for the post apocalypse. Scavenging parts, repairs, cooking, they all played an intricate role in this world so we made them the focus.
Tia is the main female character, and she’s one of my favourite characters out of any of our books. She’s calm and matronly, compassionate and warm, and I think she really has a great influence on the gruff Leon. Even though they’ve been on again/off again for a while, through the course of When Dreamers Wake you can really see the change in him as he becomes more passionate about his cause.
It just so happens that his cause is building a harem back at his home base.
Luckily, Tia is a free-love sort of woman and even though her heart belongs to Leon, she knows that the world is harsh. Uncertain and unfair.
It isn’t wise for anyone to rely solely on one other person, because that security can be too easily wrenched away. Instead, she lives in a commune of other survivors, and they form a close knit community of people who genuinely care about one another.
To me, it’s a bit of an inspiration. Of how people, when robbed of everything they have, can still love one another. They can still support one another, through all of the horrific things they have to deal with on a daily basis.
Tia is willing to give up everything – including her own happiness – just to help the people around her leave whole, complete lives, and I think that’s really admirable. Building this harsh world, it’s so easy to make it glum and desolate and desperate, but we were able to focus on the positives that blossom out of it.
That’s why, even though I think it focuses a lot on male fantasies, that there’s a nice blending of the masculine and feminine in the story. There’s a tenderness, a warmth that the story contains that I think everyone will find really rewarding.