Rerun Monday: The Chicken or the Egg: Story or Setting?

The question of why Stolen Songbird takes place in a cave is probably best answered by my explanation of what inspired me to write the novel. Like so many authors before me (sparkly vampires!), and so many who will come after, the idea for my story came to me in a dream. “What a cliche!” you say, but it’s the honest truth. I had a dream about a beautiful city that had been buried, but not entirely destroyed, by rock. Even now, all these years later, I can still close my eyes and remember walking through collapsed corridors, with only the faintest bits of light coming through to illuminate fabulous paintings, sculptures, and fountains. In my dream, the only way to reach this city was by swimming under water, which might jog the memory of those of you who have already read Stolen Songbird.

My vision of this place stuck in my head for days afterward, and I began to daydream a story to fit the place. I thought about how a city could be buried, I thought about what sort of magic would keep it from being destroyed completely, and I thought about why a race of people would choose to stay in such a place. They, in my mind, would only stay if they had no choice, and that was how the curse was born. I then thought about what would happen to a people who are not naturally denizens of the dark if they were isolated from the world and kept from the sun. How would they change? What would they be like? How would they become little more than a myth to most of the outside world, and what would that myth be? And most importantly: what would these creatures want more than anything else? The answer to that is obvious – to be free. And that was how the plot for my buried city was born.

There is, of course, a world outside of Trollus. You see a bit of it with Cécile, and there are certainly references to it throughout Stolen Songbird. A few readers have asked me why I provided so little information about the outside world. I have many, many reasons for that, but I’ll share the important ones. The first reason is that I thought limiting the information about the outside would compound the sense that Trollus is quite isolated, almost an entirely different world. The second was that it would raise a lot of questions with readers – questions that I’ve every intention of answering in the subsequent two books. Hopefully reading Stolen Songbird will leave readers hungering to find out more about the world I’ve created for Cécile and Tristan.

 

*Rerun Monday’s are when I post guest posts that I wrote for bloggers during Stolen Songbird’s launch