If you read my newsletters...
... then you've probably read about my inspiration for Temerin society. In short, it comes from my fascination with Irish history.
My ancestors lived in a kind of democracy which was based on voting for leaders from the grass roots. This wasn't unique to Ireland, there were Germanic and Scandinavian systems that were very similar and much of what they did was based on the old 'mot' system of voting. All levels of representation were voted on in ancient Ireland, from Fine (extended family) representatives, to the Ard Ri (high king) of Ireland.
Our system was grown from the roots up, rather than power handed down, which to me is a much more sensible and equitable way to do it.
From the moment I came up with the race, I knew I wanted the Temerin to have a similar system. I even included Gahdi Inria, which in Ireland would have been Brehon . The Brehon laws were poems which took the Brehon years to memorise and learn how to apply the laws inherent withing. Think of each law as being a guide and some of them setting precedent in some ancient time.
These people came from Brehon families and they had no more affiliation to their leaders then any other Irish person and no leaders could judge or dispense the laws in their place. They weren't perfect, but they were fair and just like the Temerin, Fines, as in the extended family group, were responsible for members of their family. Breaking the law meant losing cattle and land to the wronged family, so breaking the law didn't just hurt the law breaker, it hurt the whole family. This meant Fines policed themselves to protect the family.
I love the history of my people and I'm very proud to be Irish.
There were a few locations in The Officer's Mess, and we're going go through a couple of them now. One ambush site and one of the planets where the Temerin held their Temits.
When I think about a location I like to google concept art*. There are incredible artists out there who create beautiful work which is so inspiring. When I decided to create the first ambush site in The Officer's Mess, I was inspired by this image. Black holes are such an incredible force of destruction and it's hard not to be fascinated with them.
I liked this idea of the Temerin using a site like this to trap their prey. To make them think they were weak, injured, limping and then it turns out, they're the predator.
It's terrifying to think there's a force so great, it can tear apart planets without effort. A mindless hungry beast.
In their ambush site, there are two ships which, between them, they can create a pulse of energy to drain the energy of a ship.
This was the inspiration for those ships, however it wasn't the form I used, rather the vibe.
When I search for concept art, I look for vibes. I have an idea what a place in my worlds feels like and look for a picture that fills that vibe, or sometimes, resets or even exceeds that vibe. The feel of the ambush site is messy, confusing, desperate. I feel like all three of these pictures captures that vibe and helped me get into the mind set to write the scene.
For Crassis, the planet the Temerin visited for their first temit in the book, I went to https://colorpalettes.net/ and searched for a palette in blue. When I saw this, I loved it on sight.
I wanted Crassis to be almost monochrome during the day so that the luminescent colours of the forest had more of an effect during the night. I love this palette, love this planet and love the color palettes website. It's the source of so much inspiration for me, including for Daris's ship in The Thief's Dark. The colour palette for that was neon and I loved it so much. It suited Daris, an alien that comes from dark purple and blue forests and it just felt right that he decorated his ship so that it almost looked like a mix between his people's home forests, and a night club.
I love the idea that the water, the sand and the sky were almost the same colour so that the eyes is pulled constantly to the horizon, making it all seem endless.
In the end, I went for a red and pink sky. I wanted the contrast to make the beach and water stand out and I wanted Danielle's first time on a planet to be special; for the planet to be special so she had that memory to carry with her for the rest of her life.
So much about her life has sucked, this had to be special and even though it doesn't appear in the book, that became Danielle's favourite colour.
This picture was another reason why I changed the colour of the sky to pinky red. At night I wanted a purple sky full of stars which a dark blue sky wouldn't have provided. Stars played such an important part of Danielle's mental escape from all of the things she'd been through. I wanted her first time, with her three guys, to be under a beautiful sky. With such a sky and a forest that's bioluminescent, and three wonderful males who loved her, it made a truly beautiful experience for Danielle.
These weren't the only pictures that inspired Crassis, but they informed the planet more than any others. I loved visiting this place while I was writing it, in my head of course I did not take this picture. I loved that Danielle's first experience of the Temerin people as a whole, who were everything she needed exactly when she needed them, was in such a perfect location.
Just before I finish, something that didn't come up in the book and I really wish I'd written it down. When the Temerin had that first race, running through the forest, not a lot of them took it seriously. Some of them stopped to talk and casually checked the surrounding area in case the list of plants jumped out at them. Others wondered into the brush to make love and more still tripped, wrestled and generally messed around for fun and general chaos, leaving those who needed to participate, participate.
I love the Temerin!
* All images remain the property of their respective owners, used for inspiration only, no copyright infringement intended. If any of these images belong to you and you want it removed, please contact me.